Alias TV Poster Image




Smart action drama with a strong female lead.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:September 30, 2001
Cast:Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber
Networks:ABC, Syndicated
Character strengths:Courage
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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What parents and kids say

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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 ocasional D*** or A**. Sexwise in some episodes sydneny goes to strip clubs... NOthing revealing though.The characters use drugs to knock out their enemys.
Parent Written byPetalknits August 29, 2013

Love with caution

I loved Alias! It was very interesting; not too violent, but the seasons progressed, it began to get more and more violent, and include more sensuality. By the time season 5 was finished, we witnessed lots of bloody throat-slashing, fingers cut off, torture, and more. Sensuality was somewhat limited, though there were scenes of seduction (in lingerie) and one night stands (showing couples in bed together). As for role models, we did have a strong female character, but many of the other characters were very iffy....parents you weren't sure could be trusted; family friends who turn out to simply love power (at any cost), more than their loved ones......Also, the lines between revenge and justice were a bit blurred, too... Of course, the idea was to keep you guessing, and this show certainly did that....however, by the end, I was confident that every single person that died would come back to life. It became so very like a soap opera, instead of a spy drama! Also, by the last 2 seasons, even though I loved the series, some of the things they came up with were kind of hard to swallow. Giant big balls, causing people to become zombies? Sure! People becoming genetically altered to look completely like someone else, all in a matter of hours? Totally doable! And on and on. The first 3 seasons were certainly better, but I had to watch to the end, to see the conclusion, and have some of those little mysteries solved. Not 100% sure that they all were, but for the most part.... Overall, I really enjoyed the brain workout, the excitement and adored some of the characters. They really helped sell it for me. Marshall was too much fun! Super brilliant computer guy can do anything, but has so many awkward moments, due to no social skills....Don't know how the other actors could keep a straight face, when he began rambling. I loved Sydney, who is a great combo of girl-next-door and spy chick. Sydney's dad...well....sometimes a guy will do ANYTHING to protect his kid. And he's a spy....what's a little murder, here and there?
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byBobbielane April 9, 2008