Alias (ABC, 2001-2006)
I’ve never really been a big fan of flashy big-budget American prime-time drama series, but in the early-2000s one that caught my eye along with Dark Angel was Alias because it had an unusual idea. Alias starred Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow who travelled the world working as a double-agent whilst trying to make sure that people didn’t realise what she was up to. Especially in the earlier series Sydney was given different looks to help her achieve her ambitious missions.
There were also many other characters in Alias including her boss Sloane and computer expert Marshall who provided Sydney with technology to help her out. As the episodes passed the situation became ever more complex, and Sydney’s family became entangled in all of this too, including her father, and in later episodes her long-lost mother and sister also became involved. On most occasions though Sydney works alongside Vaughn and they go on to develop a friendship, and they eventually marry.
Guest stars who appeared in Alias included Quentin Tarantino and Ricky Gervais when his career was beginning to take off stateside. Former Home and Away actress Melissa George also played a main character in the third series and it made me realise how many actors who had appeared in Australian soaps have gone on to have success in America, with Isla Fisher and Jesse Spencer being among others who have found success, which I find curious as barely any former British soap actors have done well in America by comparison.
One thing that really made an impact with me about Alias were the final episodes of the series that were very tense and usually ended on a remarkable cliffhanger. I remember the conclusion of the first series which made me really eager to find out what happened next and waiting for the second series was a tense long wait. The third series finale was also really good where there was total chaos and everything seemed to be blown up for no particular reason, and the cliffhanger of the fourth series really shocked me and took me by surprise in a way that very few other programmes have.
Although it ran for five series in America, Alias was never a really big success in this country, partly because it wasn’t usually scheduled in prime-time. The early series were shown on Saturday afternoons on Channel 4, and the third series was shown on Five in a post-midnight slot, and I’m not even sure on what channel the final two series were shown, if at all.
Alias was created by JJ Abrams who in more recent years has gone on to be a successful film director, and he also created a few other TV series that left viewers with more questions than answers about what was happening including Lost and, er… Felicity. As well as all 105 episodes being released on DVD, there was also a computer game of Alias released (I have the PlayStation 2 version), and there was a short-lived magazine too. It’s remarkable to think that Alias ended over a decade ago now, but it’s still a great show and it’s been pleasing to see that Jennifer Garner has continued to have a successful career as an actress in films.