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Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Beginner's Guide To Alias

Let me make something very clear at the outset: Alias is a show which can be more confusing than the re-election of Dubya. So there's a good chance that this little guide will make things worse rather than better, but what the heck - it's a reason to talk about Alias! I can't pass that chance up!

(Sundried, when you get to the end of this, and are still confused, check out the mighty Television Without Pity which will probably do a far better job of explaining the show than I could ever do).

Season One
- Meet Sydney Bristow. Grad student, spy, and implausibly good at running very fast while wearing high heels and skimpy outfits.
- Sydney may seem just like any other student, but she has an extra-curricular activity which is gonna look a bit better on a CV than "Drama Club". Sydney's... a spy.
- Syd's spy duties involve work at SD-6, which is headed up by Arvin Sloane.
- SD-6 is a covert branch of the CIA. At least that's what Sydney and her colleagues think. Reality: it's an evil organisation, and Sloane is a evil (if somewhat charming) bastard.
- Arvin doesn't have a great deal of respect for human life: he has Syd's fiance killed after she tells loverboy that she works for the CIA.
- After discovering the truth about SD-6, Syd decides to work as a double agent. Loyal to the CIA, but working within SD-6 to bring it down.
- Her handler at the CIA is one Michael Vaughn, who is just as implausibly attractive as Syd. Much unresolved sexual tension ensues. Until they pretty much resolve it by jumping into bed together.
- Syd's only ally within SD-6 is her father, Jack Bristow, who is also a double agent loyal to the CIA. He also rules. Seriously.
- Jack has been somewhat of a distant father to Syd but, whaddaya know, bringing down an international terrorist organisation brings 'em closer together. He finds it difficult to show, but we all know he loves his little girl.
- Other characters in Season One include hollier-than-thou Marcus Dixon, Syd's partner in SD-6; techno geek and comic relief Marshall; and Syd's chums Will and Francie.
- There's a whole lot of stuff in Season One about this dude called Rambaldi. It's confusing. My advice? Don't think about it too much.

Season 2
- If you can get through Season 1 without hurling the remote control at the TV and yelling "huh", then you're home and dry for Season 2. Stuff becomes much easier, and you'll find yourself much more willing to say "yeah, I just don't get that" about sub plots including the reappearance of Sark, the death of Sloane's wife, and yet more about Rambaldi.
- Main theme for Season 2: The Spy Family (TM - Television Without Pity).
- Sydney always thought her Mom was dead. But no. She's been very much alive. She's also a spy. Except, unlike Saintly Sydney, she's been knowingly working for a whole load of baddies including... the KGB.
- Spy Mommy (TM - Television Without Pity) turns herself into the CIA and apparently wants to help them in their work. But can the bitch be trusted? That is the question.
- Spy Daddy (TM - Television Without Pity) has just a few issues with Spy Mommy. Turns out she married him as part of a KGB project to get information from the CIA. He was just a tad heartbroken when he found that out. She called herself Laura Bristow. The KGB called her Irina Derevko.
- It's clear that there is still a spark or twelve between Spy Mommy and Spy Daddy. Much unresolved sexual tension ensues. Until they sort of resolve it by jumping into bed together. Only that turns out to be a ploy by Spy Daddy to place a tracking device on Spy Mommy (don't even ask).
- For a while it seems that Sydney is building a little family life for herself, and of course she always has buddies Will and Francie.
- Except things start to go a little weird with Syd's beloved buddies. For a start, they start dating. Which is weird, because there's never been any sexual tension between them at all. Resolved or otherwise.
- Oh, and then Francie is cloned, killed and replaced with Evil Cloned Francie (yeah, really, really, don't ask).
- After a bloody great fight between Syd and Evil Francie, we flick to Syd, asleep, in the middle of a Hong Kong street. Here's the weird thing: it's two years later, and she has no memory of what has happened.

And that is where, for the moment, my guide ends. Cos I haven't watched all of Season 3 yet.

So, as I hope I've demonstrated, Alias is just that old chesnut of a girl is spy, dad is spy, Mom is evil spy, there's some crazy dead prophet guy and some people may or may not be clones. Simple, huh?


  • At 3:27 PM, Blogger Sundried said…

    Wow, I'm so touched - and I've finally got a Blogger log-in so I can thank you for the update. Still don't understand Alias, though. Nup, no chance. So do all the people who work at UB40 or whatever think they're the good guys? Have they not noticed that they appear to be helping villains? Or is this some deep comment on the nature of the "intelligence" community?

    I think I'll stick to CSI (original only, of course)...

  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger McReadie said…

    Well, I was very touched both to discover you were reading, and to see that you'd left a comment :)

    Ha ha - it did take me a very, very long time to begin to understand Alias, and I must confess that my technique involved ignoring large chunks of the story.

    Yes, you're quite right, all those who work at UB40 (or, indeed, WD40, or SD-6) think they are the good guys. With the exception, that is, of Sloane who knows he's an evil son of a bitch, and my darling Jack Bristow, who knows it's all evil, but who is doing double agent duty. As his lovely daughter Syd does once she realises the truth.

    As to why no one notices - hmmmm... yes... er... very good point. I can only suggest that it is because Sloane is so devious, and does make it look like a covert branch of the CIA.

    (Fear not, though, if you ever make it to Season 2, SD-6 gets brought down, so you really don't have to worry about it any more).

    Ah, I cannot criticise the decision to stick with the original CSI. Who could begrudge anyone The Gris?

    Thanks again for reading and posting, Sundried :)


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