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TV review by
Elliot Panek, Common Sense Media
Alias TV Poster Image
Smart action drama with a strong female lead.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 13 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Amid frequent deception, double-crosses, and other forms of manipulation, the show has strong themes about the importance of family, friends, and love. That said, it's often difficult to tell who the true "good" and "bad" guys are, and in many instances, violence is the only method used for dealing with conflicts.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sydney is a strong, independent, resourceful heroine. She's a double agent, but her motives are worthwhile, and she demonstrates courage. She often resorts to violence to solve problems, but just as often she's forced into that situation by rival agents. She cares very much for her friends and family and will do anything to keep them safe. That said, the bad guys are sometimes glamorized, and even some of the "good" guys can be very ruthless.


Frequent onscreen graphic shooting, punching, kicking, and more.


When Sydney goes undercover, she often wears revealing outfits.


Words include "bitch" and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters use sometimes use alcohol and "knock out" drugs to catch villains.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPetalknits August 29, 2013

Love with caution

I loved Alias! It was very interesting; not too violent, but exciting....However....as the seasons progressed, it began to get more and more violent, and includ... Continue reading
Adult Written byBobbielane April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Alias is a great show!

Well the violince is often and sometimes brutal but it is not like R movies... Sometimes sydney uses "makeup?" to cover her wounds. Launguage is an oc... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 2, 2013


What parents need to know Parents need to know that this action-packed spy show from J.J. Abrams features a significant amount of violence, including a few gra... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Alias. How is violence in shows like this one different than violence in more realistic shows like CSI? Does it have less of an impact here?

  • When it comes to how much is too much violence, where would you draw the line?

  • How do the characters in Alias demonstrate courage? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Character Strengths

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