This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Review: Alias Season 5 So Far

(above: the new look of Alias. Vaughn who?)

Reaction to the news of popular Michael Vaughn's (real name: Jean Brooyo or somesuch. I wasn't paying real close attention) death on Alias was violent and preemptive. Not surprisingly, Ben Affleck caught most of the heat originally as speculation arose that Mr. Affleck just couldn't handle having his girlfriend's ex (Mikey Vartan, the guy who plays Michael Vaughn) on the show anymore. Mind you, this was before the death actually happened. When insane internet Alias fans fears were realized and Vaughn was gunned down in absurd (and really, non-heroic) fashion by a two-bit bad guy we'd only just met, their rage could be felt all the way to the island of Lost, that other show by the creator of Alias.

You see, ever since Lost premiered last year it's been pretty evident that Mr. J.J. Abrams, the aforementioned creator, was using all his good ideas on the new show and leaving Alias in the hands of a bunch of people who were not up to the challenge of keeping the action moving forward (favorite internet-coined term for them: trained monkeys). It's not entirely their fault, however -- Alias is the type of show that needs constant attention and nurturing, otherwise it falls into either tedium (Syd breaks into such-and-such to get the Rambaldi thing again -- Yawn) or insanity (Zombies? Green goo? Lauren's evil mom?). Most of season 4 (and season 3 for that matter) was tedious, with bits of insanity thrown in just to highlight the fact that they'd actually run out of ideas. In fact, perhaps the best idea of the past two years (aside from the Syd waking up with 2 years gone from her life at the beginning of season 3 -- that was awesome) was presented in the final 30 seconds of season 4 -- Vaughn, one of the original main spy characters on the show (along with Sloane, Jack, Marshall, Dixon, and Syd -- notice they're all still on the show) told Syd that he wasn't really Michael Vaughn, and then their car gets sideswiped and the season ends. Now that's what I call driving the action forward.

It did seem a bit arbitrary and old, but it at least generated some interest. Alias fans, no matter how they felt about the probable death of Vaughn and the giant shadow of the Affleck baby in Jennifer Garner's stomach, tuned in to see what would happen -- what the trained monkeys had cooked up. The monkeys then used the season premiere seemingly just to write Vaughn off the show. His double identity was explained (and not very well), new (lame) enemies were introduced, and he was gunned down like a common criminal. At the funeral, there was no crying. There was only sad looks, knowing glances, and an overriding sense that Vaughn was not really dead because this is Alias and not even 500-year old inventors are dead. So I'm positive that Vaughn is truly alive. Of course, if he never shows up again, the Vaughn death and burial scene will be forever taken by the fans of Alias as JJ Abrams giving them the finger for whining about it before it even happened. I sincerely hope that's not the case.

Having said all that, I must say that I'm kind of enjoying season 5. Yes, they're totally just recycling old plots*. And yes, Jen Garner as pregnant Sydney seems both ridiculous and disinterested. And yes, both the new girls on the show are much better-looking than her. And yes, Bathaltazzar Getty is a useless tool. But somehow it's entertaining me. I liked that foreign girl whose hair changes colors all the time, and I like the "guy in the box" plot, which should be advanced next week. I like the new blonde girl, especially when she's wearing those glasses or is trapped in the trunk of a car. The trained monkeys may be out of new plot ideas, but they know how to write hot girls into appealing situations. Network TV is so absurdly ratings-driven.

When it's all said and done, I want to watch next week because I want to see what happens. And isn't that what Alias is all about?

Part of me hopes they tell JJ Abrams that the show is going to be cancelled at the end of his year so he can blow his Rambaldi wad, dig up dead characters, and give Zombie Nadia, Vampiric Vaughn, and Salacious Sark the send-offs they deserve. Alias needs to end big and end soon, before the small amount of momentum they're getting from the "guy in the box" is gone, and the show not so much ends as dissolves into nothing but Ben Affleck's kid's grinning evil face.

*Let's see: Vaughn being dead/not dead happened to a bunch of people, most notably Syd's mom in season 4; Sloane just turned evil to save his "daughter," much like he did for his wife in seasons 1 and 2; The "evil organization that claims to be a black-ops unit of the CIA" trick was tried again, this time on another good unsuspecting girl (now, if said girl turns out to be evil and hooks up with Sark, she'll be Lauren from Season 3); Syd's fiance' is killed, she wants revenge; and too many other things to mention.


  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    I agree Mike. I hope they either end it soon and with a bang, or they actually start putting some time into it. The thing that really gets me is that JJ is "neglecting" Alias to work on Lost. I love Lost (and I don't know how much you've watched or liked that show), but it sucks this year. I think it has become boring, and nothing really makes me want to keep watching. Now I realize that a show can't always be awesome, but it really has just been lacking this season. And it really gets me that Alias is now lacking too because of Lost. Personally I'd like to see Alias get more attention because I'm pretty done with Lost right now.

    Oh, I don't know if you heard or not, but Michael Vartan did sign a contract to appear in a couple of episodes and was filming last week. I don't think he's dead either, but I have a feeling he may just be appearing in flashbacks at this point. I've heard that he's supposed to do another episode or two towards the end, and if he's alive I bet we'll find out then.

  • At 1:55 AM, Blogger Jennifer Aguiar said…

    Sydney Bristow is a young, athletic, college graduate who was recruited her freshman year as a secret agent for SD-6, a top-secret branch of the CIA. After a few years -- after Sydney confides her lifestyle to her boyfriend, the evil head of SD-6 -- Arvin Sloan, has him killed. Sydney learns that SD-6 is part of a rogue international agency called the Alliance of 12, out to rule the world. She becomes a double agent, working with the real CIA to bring down SD-6 with the assistance of her handler, Michael Vaughn, and her estranged father Jack Bristow -- also a double agent. Along the way, Sydney fights various rival agents, rival terrorist groups, and traitors all the while keeping her cloak-and-dagger lifestyle a secret from her friends....


Post a Comment

<< Home