The Complete First Season
Release Date: September 2, 2003
Ten-second Rundown: College student Sydney Bristow has a dangerous
secret: she's a double-agent for the CIA and the rogue spy
ring working against them. Or maybe it's vice versa.
by crew and cast on various episodes
of Season Two
of Video Game
promos for Season One episodes
features including a link to scripts
Specs: Widescreen anamorphic, English Dolby Surround
wake of the end of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, there's
a void to be filled by a good action show with a strong female
center. Is Alias that show? Checking out the new DVD
release of the first season makes a fairly good case for it.
the get-go, this brainchild of J. J. Abrams lays out all the
elements that make viewers come back week after week. The
pilot alone sets the tone. Grad student Sydney Bristow (Jennifer
Garner) seems to have it all: looks, brains, and a fiancé
who will do anything for her. But Sydney is a mystery wrapped
in an enigma.
image is actually of her head being forced into cold water
as part of an interrogation by Chinese nationals. However,
Abrams' pacing allows us to almost forget that as we get wrapped
up in the careful laying out of Sydney's college life.
start to unravel. Calling her father (Victor Garber) distant
is an understatement. Her job at an international finance
company turns out to be a front for her work as a spy. And
letting her fiancé know who she works for means that the "company"
has to execute him.
a dark and convoluted world that Alias lays out, made
more so by the revelation that Sydney doesn't work for who
she thinks she does, and will spend the rest of the series
trying to rectify that. (Sure, more revelations have occurred
in Season Two - but I can only go by this set.)
the series plays like soap opera - Abrams had created Felicity
previously - but it makes up for that by providing plenty
of action. (A facet that apparently annoys Garber, a point
revealed in the commentary).
The action is a cut above what you might expect from weekly
television, with quite a few high-octane sequences. In a behind-the-scenes
documentary, it turns out that the stunt coordinators end
up affecting story, as they're eager to prove what they can
do. Rather than the tail wagging the dog, however, the reversal
tends to work, a credit to a good writing team.
also got a good cast. If Garner doesn't quite do it for you
(a matter of taste), look to the supporting cast. Broadway
vet Garber is suitably tortured in his role as one of the
worst fathers in history. Moreover, I'm extremely grateful
to see the excellent Carl Lumbly (voice of J'onn J'onnz on
Justice League) in a role that doesn't require his
a few short months, Buena Vista will release the second season
on DVD, in time for Christmas. The only problem is that with
a show this convoluted, it's hard to want to jump aboard the
third season actually starting this fall. Here's hoping that
you die-hard fans can keep it alive long enough for the rest
of us to catch up.
out from Buena Vista today: Kim Possible: The Secret Files,
culled from the Disney Channel/ABC Saturday morning series
about a teen-age secret agent. It's an occasionally clever
series, vaulted into uniqueness by giving Kim a pet naked
mole rat. That alone makes it worth a look.