Sydney Bristow is back!

The usual cast of lovable and detestable characters aid and abet her, as she takes on a variety of cunning disguises in order to infiltrate the exotic locales where bad guys lurk.

Copy picture

Agent Bristow Jr (Jennifer Garner) is joined by her deceitful dad, lovable friends Marshall, the Tech head, and Eric, the overweight CIA guy, love interest Vaughn, sexy half sister Nadia, dependable Dixon and the loathsome Sloane.

Once again, Syd is part of a clandestine organisation, in order to operate outside the law and remove threats to world peace. The usual twisted plots, hyper-powered fight scenes and lies are to be found here. And that is no bad thing.

The main strengths of Alias have always been the feeling of never knowing who, or what, to trust. It is a story that entangles the audience and characters in a complex web of deceit, betrayal and counter betrayal, while having enough sense not to have all the characters lying and cheating and being despicable. It is easy to identify with Syd's feelings of being trapped in a nightmare.

The action sequences are superb. However, this reviewer is tired of seeing exactly the same formula in every scene - Syd kicks the bad guy around a bit, bad guy gets upper hand, Jack Bristow/Vaughn/someone else whacks the bad guy from behind, thus saving our heroine before anything permanent occurs to ruin her day. This becomes seriously repetitive and destroys dramatic cohesion and semblance of originality.

The other thing that bothered me was that Sydney's world has apparently shrunk - none of her friends, or other people in her life, are NOT spies. In earlier seasons, part of the dramatic tension came from the juggling act between lying to her non-spy friends to protect them, lying to Sloane to get her revenge and the lies everyone was telling her in order to protect her from the Terrible Truth.

It was marvellous to see the world of Sydney becoming devoured by this deceit, now her reporter friend is gone, her room mate is gone and she exists separated from normal people. This has no doubt been done for sound narrative reasons, but I rather miss this aspect of the story.

Most of the episodes are well written and the acting is as strong as ever. This is a must buy for fans, who I guess are the principal audience - the back-story is too complex to allow a new viewer in easily, although it might have made a welcome feature. The Story So Far documentary would have reminded long-time fans and helped ease new ones into the plot, without having to rely on three episodes of exposition.

Reviewed on: 05 Dec 2005
Share this with others on...
Alias: Season 4 packshot
The continuing story of the beautiful spy and her lovable, detestable, sexy and deceitful friends.
Amazon link

Director: J J Abrams, Daniel Attias, Jeffrey Bell, Maryann Brandon, Jennifer Garner, Marita Grabiak, Kevin Hooks, Ken Olin, Fred Toye, Lawrence Trilling, Brad Turner, Greg Yaitanes, Craig Zisk

Writer: J J Abrams, Jeff Melvoin, Jesse Alexander, Jeffrey Bell, Drew Goddard, Jeff Pinkner, Monica Breen, Alison Schapker, Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, Breen Frazier, J R Orci, Like McMullen, Steven Kane

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan, Mia Maestro, Victor Garber, Carl Lumbly, Kevin Weisman, Greg Grunberg, David Anders

Year: 2004

Runtime: 968 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database: