Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alias Talk

Marian and I are in the fortunate phase of life when our evenings are more or less free and we don't really have any interest in going anywhere. After thirty years of the salt mines by day and little league, ballet, school meetings, etc., by night -- we're tired -- and we have found, the television.

For whatever reason we prefer television series' to movies and have worked our way through every British BBC show, many American shows, and even some live-while-we-are-watching shows.

Lately, upon recommendation from my son, we have been watching the Alias series.

We're hooked.

If you haven't seen it, think 24 in a Lost plot. And a beautiful, female lead character instead of Jack Bauer. Jennifer Garner, Sydney, is good-looking and one tough motha.  Garner somehow pulls off the part as tough and vulnerable. Feminine -- but deadly if you're on the wrong side. It works for me because I can't handle the attractive, tough female who is not, well, feminine. She's both. I'm sounding like Oprah, sorry.

What Alias has that 24 doesn't have is a lasting romance that is a thread throughout the series, at least through year three. It's believable, and more or less wholesome. The one problem I had with Jack's girlfriends is that I knew that they would all end up dead because Jack was the "man of sorrows." And that they were always well endowed but kind of androgynous, too. I never really liked them. But with Garner -- you can't not like her.

She is the reluctant heroine who has found her home in the kindness of her father and her apparently loving but twisted mother -- and Vaughn, her once boyfriend, who at this point is married to Lauren, the wicked witch of the West. It's complex but satisfying.

As a whole, the acting is great. The strategy room scenes are a little stiff and over-orchestrated as they set the plot for that episode, but the comic figure of Mitchell, (think James Bond's "Q") is perfect.

Sloane is a tragic-hero of the modern sort, driven by love for his daughter, by fate via the Rombaldi prophecy, and by his own weakness for the "end-game." The Rombaldi thread gives Alias the Lost-like quality and keeps the viewer wanting the next episode.

It's a good show. Quentin Tarantino makes a couple cameos. He's great. Alias keeps the suspense up but backs off enough to give the viewer a break. For us it's got the right blend. The only part we do not like are the torture scenes, mild by today's standards, but more pain-infliction than we care to watch.

We're just starting year four, so no hints about the end, please.


Michael Bourgon said...

Hate to be a putz, but I'll give you a suggestion: stop watching now. It's been awesome, it's been epic, and you want more. Leave at that point. Pine for it.

I had something similar happen with Heroes - I watched all of season 1, loved it, but couldn't get to season 2 for a year - and people (MANY people) told me I had the best of it - "Save The Cheerleader, Save The World". Anything after that fell short by comparison. It's like when we all pined for more Star Wars movies - and then, alas, we got them.

So: consider it awesome, wish they'd had more seasons than 4, but leave wanting more. I'd suggest Being Human, Jeckyll, The Last Enemy, Sherlock, and the first several seasons of Spooks. There's dozens more (trust me, I could go on about British and Aussie and Canadian TV, plus some old US gems), but that should cover you for a while.

Francis Shivone said...

Thanks Michael. Loved the comment and putz away, no problem.

I wish I could follow your advice but alas, Jennifer and crew are sirens that I can not resist.

If I live to regret this decision, and I do not doubt that I will, I will let you know.

Thanks, and thanks for the other suggestions.

John said...

My wife, aka TV Queen, was an Alias fan. But she watches Big Brother, too.

Sunni R. said...

I LUH-VED Alias so so much. It's probably #3 after Friday Night Lights and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for me. All the crazy twisty relationships and family drama, not to mention awesome spy stuff, Russian stuff, and female bad"ace" ness- so great.

Francis Shivone said...

Sunni -- it looks to me that J Garner is doing all those punches and kicks and not a double. Pretty impressive. But I really enjoy her beating up the bad guys.