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Monday, August 02, 2004

Monday Is Alias Praise Day

Regular readers know that Monday is typically the day when I sing the praises of super-slick spy thriller Alias. They may have noticed that I was silent on this topic last Monday. This was because - gasp - I didn't watch an episode last weekend due to the new computer purchase. This weekend, however, I did. Yet I'm not going to sing its praises this week either.

Not because I no longer believe it is great. No, no, no - I still love it.

The reason I'm not going to talk about Alias is because I'm going to talk about Felicity instead.

For those of you who don't know, Felicity was the show Alias creator JJ Abrams created before he gave the world Sydney Bristow, Jack Bristow and Arvin Sloane.

Felicity has long been a source of curiousity for me. It was one of the first reasons I wanted ITV2. They bought it up and showed it long before I got digital. When I eventually did enter the multi-channel world, ITV2 decided to schedule reruns of the show at bizarre times - including in the middle of the night - and so I was limited to enjoyment of the show when I was suffering from insomnia.

Since then, of course, I have become hooked on Alias, and therefore convinced that JJ Abrams is a genius. It was therefore with significant cheer that I stumbled across an episode of Felicity on Saturday.

And I was impressed. It's about a college student. Setting anything at university is always a good start - university is an interesting time in anyone's life - and, just as with Alias, drama and humour intertwine.

What was interesting about the show is that, in some ways, it's very much like Alias. Central character young and female. Issues with her parents. Best male friend who's nuts about - and perfect for - her, yet she doesn't date him.

But even though the central relationships might have been the same, the show very much stands by itself. It doesn't feel like the testing ground for future Alias storylines, an early experiment. It feels like a proper show in and of itself, and that seems to be me to be a big triumph. So many writers seem to use early attempts as a testing ground. They have a big show, and you go back and look at their earlier stuff and realise it was all preparation, with the best lines and characters carried over, and the stuff that didn't work dropped - Aaron Sorkin, you shameless recycler, I'm thinking of you.

But Abrams doesn't seem to do that. Two shows - similar, yet different. It's impressive. And it means that, as with Alias, I think I'll be buying Felicity on DVD and marvelling at the skill of the man - and the cast and crew that help him to take these ideas from paper to screen.

Oh, and Jack Bristow still rules (I couldn't end an Alias post without making that clear).


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