Alias: Season 4

Virginia Heffernan is apparently not Jennifer Garner’s biggest fan:

Photo: Jennifer Garner of Alias Jennifer Garner as a secret agent in the shadowy world of What you think of “Alias” depends a lot on what you think of Jennifer Garner. If the actress’s great beauty suggests to you infinite variety, then the show’s claim to profundity, which it makes with ponderous attention to Ms. Garner’s face, will ring true. But if Ms. Garner’s winning modes – smiling and dimply, or precociously solemn, jaw set like an Eagle Scout – seem merely like two tricks she’s being forced to repeat in place of acting, then the series is a bore.

In the second view, “Alias,” whose fourth season has its two-hour premiere on ABC tonight, is nothing more than a pretentious comic strip: static, allegorical, a pleasure only to addicts, but also headache-inducingly difficult to criticize in these times when American comics have become, through male nostalgia and the canonization of the graphic novel, sacrosanct.

Let’s be honest. Many of us don’t like comic books and have feigned interest in their jumpy bif-bam fighting scenes and the way they redeem loser guys, only to impress and minister to those loser guys. And now we can admit that while the redemption dynamic – little X-Men boys finding in their eccentricity and loneliness a superpower – is touching, there’s nothing duller than listening to someone explain, in all seriousness, the Syndicate and the Shadow Force and the Hard Drive and the Plutonium Lance. And the characters: lame. One is good and the other is evil, and then one is evil pretending to be good, and then one is good pretending to be evil.

I watched a few episodes of Alias in its first season and thought it was a pretty good show, but not enough so as to commit to watching it every week, as is required of serial programming. Of course, I like comic books, too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jen says:

    I personally am a huge fan of alias. And Jennifer Garners portrail (cnt spell) of Sydney I think i brilliant. WHen she cries i want to cry and i never cry. Alias is a well thought out programme that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Keep up the good work guys

  2. Petra says:

    i think alias is an amazing show..theres nothing else like it on television. im addicted to it and so are all my friends..we simply can’t get enough. so virginia while u may not like it…there are millions of people who love it. its well thought out, and suspensful..exactly wut an action show should be.

  3. Luckieduckie says:

    I have been addicted to alias since it started and I think it is the best show I have ever seen. I love all of the charectors and I hope it keeps going season after season!!

  4. ann says:

    I think Alias is one of the best shows on television. The plot is so intriguing, and its fun to watch because you never know what’s going to happen. That’s why people who watch it are hooked. The writers and directors have done such an amazing job on it… and Vaughn is totally hot!!!