Alias Season 1

I'm a huge fan of the 24 series, but for both 24 and Alias I had the same problem - there's no way I could schedule my life around weekly episodes. So I deliberately abstained from watching the series while it was on, and then got the DVD set out afterwards. Not only does this make it easier to watch them properly, but it also means you can have marathon watching episodes. Instead of wasting time with commercials and waiting a week, you can zip through a whole batch of them at once.

I love female lead characters, I love James Bond style action and I love quick-paced, intelligent plot. Alias provides a lot of that. I also love medieval / renaissance style mystery tie-ins and that of course is in here as well. Sydney is a college student and in short order both she and her father are double agents. They really work for the CIA, but they're infiltrating the evil SD-6. Sydney's fiance is slain because of her indiscretion. She has a romance building with her CIA handler. Who can she trust? Who's on her side?

I also love the way they make it "appear" to be all over the world. I wish of course that they had a budget to actually go places - I would much rather see a scene in Honk Kong vs what LA thinks Hong Kong looks like. They can only do what they can do, of course. I like how she dresses up and down, blue hair and red hair, showing that all sorts of shapes and styles can look nice.

So, on to the issues. First, I'll comment that they aren't huge issues. I avidly watched the whole series through and enjoyed it. Still, there were definitely issues that were jarring during the process.

First, I realize Sydney is supposed to be a "young adult" and even though she's a genius mentally, the isn't fully emotionally mature. Still, some of the things she does for plot related reasons are completely inane. She's a trained spy but she *conveniently* forgets protocol and rationale when the plot needs it to happen. She's an incredibly skilled fighter who can shoot, kick box, kung fu and pick up any random weapon with incredible skill - but when the plot requires it, a cheezy security guard can take her out. Surely the plot could have a *reasonable* reason for these things to happen.

I really enjoyed Sydney's African-American best friend and the ups and downs that go through that storyline. On the other hand, Sydney's male reporter friend drove me insane a lot of the time. I realize reporters need to be investigative. They need to be diligent and dogged. This guy's rapid-fire method of harassing people wouldn't have gotten him many stories! That being said, I do think he changed a lot, for the better, as the series progressed.

Something that really struck me as odd is that Sydney often goes into missions for SD-6 - with SD-6 monitoring her every move - but she's actively, VERBALLY talking via a hidden mike to her CIA contact the entire time. Even if the signal was scrambled, SD-6 would detect it. But they wouldn't have to! All the SD-6 watchers would take one look at her face and know exactly what she was saying, just by reading her lips.

I don't want to give away the storyline, of course. It's a soap opera of twists and turns, of characters disappearing and reappearing. It's a great watch-through and great to keep to replay and watch the subtle movements and clues. There are a ton of non-verbal signals being given here that you only pick up on the second or third watching.

I do want to warn on the DVD that there is a super-cool commentary with the entire cast of the final episode - and it is really funny - but it gives a TON of spoilers!! Surely the actors could have done their commentary without mentioning things from season 2 or 3. If you are watching this for the first time, I really recommend NOT watching that commentary and waiting until you're done with season 3 to go back and watch it. Otherwise some things will be ruined for you.

Well recommended.

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