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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Alias is an action-packed spy show from J.J. Abrams that features a significant amount of violence, including a few graphic shooting deaths and frequent fights. Characters are constantly deceiving one another, which can make it hard to tell for sure who the "good guys" and "bad guys" are. The main character, Sydney Bristow, is a double agent, but her motives are well-meant, and she's a strong, independent role model. The show has a complex mythology that can make casual viewing a challenge, but for teens and adults who embrace it, this is a very entertaining, exciting series.
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What's the story?
ALIAS follows the adventures of Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), a double agent working for the CIA. Her life is a series of double-crosses and revelations and is constantly being reshuffled and remade as is necessitated by the identity shifting required by her profession. Everyone in Sydney's life seems to be part of the world of international intrigue -- her father, Jack (Victor Garber), is a fellow double agent, and her CIA handler, Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan), becomes a close friend (and maybe more...). There are occasional forays into the fantastic -- some shady, evil organizations take their cues from a 500-year-old prophecy, for example. Meanwhile, things like brainwashing and hallucinogens sometimes prevent Sydney from being sure of anything, yet she carries on, foiling plots and trying to maintain some semblance of a life.
Is it any good?
This series expertly draws out mysteries over the course of each season, and for this reason, it might be tough for new viewers to understand the intricate plot if they come in late. But there's also pleasure in each individual episode, especially for those keen on the tone, style, and intensity of creator J.J. Abrams' other smash hit series, Lost.
Though the series lost a bit of momentum as it headed toward its conclusion, Alias is still a uniquely well-written, well-acted action drama with more psychological depth than nearly every other show on television.
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