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After much prodding by cj2017, I started watching Alias this weekend. It's so awesome. How did I miss out on this show when it originally aired? Oh yeah... 9/11. We watched nothing but news for like two months after 9/11 and mostly news for several months after that. Regular TV just felt weird so we only tuned in to a few returning favorites that season.

Marathoning rules though, so I'm not exactly sad I missed out on weekly viewings back then. This show would've driven me nuts with the nonstop cliffhangers! In three days' time, the man and I have watched 21 episodes. Aside from a couple of really dull eps kicking off the last act, it's been a rockin' good time. Sydney Bristow definitely gets a slot on my awesome TV chicks list, along side Olivia Dunham, Aeryn Sun, Veronica Mars, and Sarah Walker. What's this? No Sarah Connor on the list?! No, she's on THE SARAH FUCKING CONNOR list (and she's the only one on it).

If you've never seen Alias, take cj2017's advice like I did and watch it.

In case you're curious, the Alias eps I hated were 1x17-19. Those were the FBI Q&A and that two-parter with long-lost boyfriend/agent. Bleh. I guess the Q&A episode was to help viewers catch up and/or help new viewers join in. It wasn't so bad for that, but since the tiny bit it moved the story forward felt very tacked on it still gets a LAME! vote. The next two with the so-obviously-a-bad-guy boyfriend were dull and stupid and annoying. I think the only purpose of that story was to give Sydney another reason cry (as if she needs to cry more).

Speaking of emo, I'm amused that every scene at Sydney's apartment has some sappy chick music. Sarah McLachlan, Enya, Natalie Merchant, Kate Bush... It's like Lilith Fair in there! Even more amusing was a scene at Will's apartment with... sappy guy music playing! Despite my emo smirks, I do love the use of music in this show. The club beats of the mission sequences really keep the pace up.

I'm starting to wonder if Sydney will ever pull off a mission without being found out by the bad guys. I'm wondering if she'll ever think to pack a gun (Kicking is cool and all, but pack some heat, woman!). I'm also wondering how many times Slone can be suspicious of her (and her father) and still trust them (or sort of trust them). And I'm wondering if everyone but Slone will eventually know the truth about Sydney and Jack.

I wasn't surprised to find out her mother is still alive (or that she was a KGB agent). And I suspect we'll find out at some point that Slone is actually Sydney's father. I haven't done any reading about the show because I don't want to be spoiled, so don't tell me if I'm right or wrong on that. I like the twists and turns the story takes even when I see them coming. There are plenty I haven't seen coming, though, and that's what makes it such a fun show. That and the roundhouse kicks. And the wigs.

So, all these wigs... was that JJ Abrams way of getting back at viewers about the Felicity hair thing?



Comments

( 24 comments — Add a comment )
intrepid01
Aug. 3rd, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
The first season was the best with season 2 coming in second, the rest was hit and miss but still good times.

I want to add to your awesome TV chicks list, Nikita from La Femme Nikita, which was pretty much Alias before Alias.
As an Aussie, I have to say Aussie chicks kick ass, there's three on your list and if you like my contribution, that makes four! :)
roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
I finished season 2 of Alias tonight (and watched the first ep of s3) and I liked s1 a lot more than s2. Season 1 was all cool and stylish and I loved Sydney and Dixon out on missions in disguise and lots of fights. Season 2 largely dropped all that in favor of blander delta force style raids. The story was still interesting enough, though, so it hasn't lost me yet.

I never watched the La Femme Nikita series. I see there's going to be a new one this fall, though. I may give it a try.
the_narration
Aug. 8th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)
I see there's going to be a new [Nikita series] this fall, though.
Wait, what? *wikis* Holy crap, it's true.

Having enjoyed both the original French film Nikita and the TV series version La Femme Nikita (although they're very different) back in the day, I'm totally going to have to check this out when it airs.
intrepid01
Aug. 8th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
The TV series followed the Bridget Fonda film 'Point of No Return,' or as it was called here, 'The Assassin,' which was based loosely on the awesome French film if you didn't already know.

I heard about the remake awhile back, mixed feelings, I really like the Peta Wilson version so I think it might be too soon, but, who knows, it might be good, we'll see.
the_narration
Aug. 9th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've seen "Point of No Return" before, but I'm pretty sure that the TV show drew more from the original "Nikita" than from the remake. Character names, atmosphere, etc. (And there were a lot of elements to the series that were entirely original, naturally.)

From what I read on Wikipedia, it sounds like the new series is going to largely follow in the footsteps of the old, but with some changes regarding how things turned out (i.e. certain characters not being dead and/or in charge of Section).

I enjoyed LFN quite a bit. Given that was ten years or more ago, I wonder if I'd still feel the same way when I watch it again. (And I'm gonna have to watch it again before this new series airs, to refresh my memory.) Still, I was surprised as all hell to see that somebody was making a new one after all these years. I definitely plan to give the new series a fair chance.
trystanknight
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
Sydney's brilliant, some of the characters are brilliant, especially Jack.

Just be warned, after season 2 it became apparent the writers literally had no idea what they were doing. I still like the show, but it definitely started having flaws after season 2 and many people did not like the ending. I just want you prepared that the first 21 eps are the best 21 eps.
roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
I'd heard from everyone before I even started watching the series that only the first 2 seasons were really god and after that it starts going downhill to the point that seasons 4 and 5 aren't really even worth watching. I figure I'll just keep going until it bores me or gets to stupid.

Season 1 was truly awesome even compared to season 2. I've just hit season 3 now, and I have a feeling it's going to start getting really ludicrous (the s3 opener already had me questioning obvious logic flaws in the writing). I'm intrigued by Sydney's 2-year absence, though, so the show hasn't lost me yet.
trystanknight
Aug. 8th, 2010 08:12 am (UTC)
Nice icon BTW...

I kinda liked the S3 opener. Please do keep us apprised of what you think as you go on...
phantomwriter05
Aug. 3rd, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah ...

I use to watch love Alias, but I haven't seen it in awhile.

Irena's Fuckery and Vaughan's Badassness makes up for the fact that the bristow family are some of the worst spies ever!

LOL!

Seasons two and four the best.
roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC)
I've really not been a fan of Vaughn since he became more of an operative. I liked him early on when he was just Sydney's handler and not actually out in the field with her all the time. I figure somewhere along the line network suits decided the show would be better if Vaughn should be out in the field more than Dixon. But I loved the Sydney-Dixon team!

I just entered s3 with Dixon running things and Vaughn's not even CIA anymore. I'm not sure how I liked that yet. Sydney being rogue was kind of fun, but that lasted all of many 20 minutes :P
cj2017
Aug. 4th, 2010 08:11 am (UTC)
Woot for the Alias love and we owe it all to how utterly shite Covert Affairs is (sorry Piper, I did try but life really is too short.) I'd forgotten about the weekly cliff-hangers till I started my own little rewatch. That format kind of dies after S1, I guess it was just too much to try and sustain that kind of pacing.

No Sarah Connor on the list?! No, she's on THE SARAH FUCKING CONNOR list (and she's the only one on it).

LOL. I concur. Syd is awesome and she can run in heels and rock a wig, but Sarah Connor is Sarah Connor and there's nothing Syd can do to live up to that. (plus, Sarah also rocked a wig, once...)

They did a few "please catch up on our show" episodes, the S2 opener is similar and there's one in the third where a character basically sits Syd down and tells her the STORY SO FAR. The show did pretty well in the ratings (it must've cos it ran for 5 years) but I guess they were always on the look out for new viewers and the regular ones who were paying attention always paid the price for that.

The Emo music stands out a mile on a rewatch, but I did kinda like the fact that Syd was playing a triple role; the "normal" girlie girl working at the bank, the SD-6 agent and the double agent and the way Garner was able to switch between the three so effortlessly was pretty amazing. Plus, I love Sarah McLachlan. Sue me ;-)

I'm wondering if she'll ever think to pack a gun (Kicking is cool and all, but pack some heat, woman!).

I remember the TWOP recapper making some awesomely sarky comment - when Syd finally does get to shooting people dead - that she was relieved we were past the stage when the bad guys accidentally fell onto Syd's bullets. I guess the PTB were terrified of her appearing unsympathetic and therefore decided that she couldn't shoot anyone EVER, until the later seasons when they quite plainly didn't give a shit.

The casting of Syd's mum is just beyond awesome, and she's brilliant in combo with Victor Garber (Spy-Daddy rules!) Sark is also a fabulous addition (Vaughn begins to seem very vanilla in comparison) and made up for the bleh that was Will (hated him in S1.)

I really, really have to find that fan-vid Cat showed me once which was basically a massive compilation of Syd running in wigs. It was beyond fabulous!
cj2017
Aug. 4th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
Found that vid!

http://charmax.livejournal.com/53509.html

As Cat so succinctly said on a quick rewatch "you can always trust the lesbians to get the point; running! in wigs!" ;-)


roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC)
That video totally rocked. Thanks for the link :)
roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 07:21 am (UTC)
You were so right about Alias being the antidote to Covert Affairs. Covert Affairs isn't great by any means, but it's summer fare and it's fine for that.... well, it was fine for that until I started watching Alias. Now I'm not sure I can go back to Covert Affairs. It'll feel so lame in comparison.


Syd is awesome and she can run in heels and rock a wig, but Sarah Connor is Sarah Connor and there's nothing Syd can do to live up to that. (plus, Sarah also rocked a wig, once...)

Are you still suggesting that's a wig on Sarah in your icon? You're crazy. It's totally not.


I guess the PTB were terrified of her appearing unsympathetic and therefore decided that she couldn't shoot anyone EVER, until the later seasons when they quite plainly didn't give a shit.

It wasn't even later seasons. They went from her barely touching a gun in season 1 to blowing people away nonstop early in season 2. That wasn't quite what I was looking for when I said she should pack a gun! It went from one extreme to the other instead of finding a logical balance.

Season 2 in generall lacked much of the appeal of the first season. There was too much of military style raids and fewer cool missions. Too much Vaughn (bleh) and not enough Dixon. And the take down of SD6 was kind of anticlimactic. I got the feeling someone in a suit decided the show needed a new direction. The whole feel of the show changed. But the Sydney's mom was indeed awesome and I hope there's more of her beyond season 2 (I just started s3). I assume there's more Sark to come because if s2 was it for him, I wasn't much impressed by him. At least Sydney is still awesome and so is her dad.

So... Irina got defibbed to disable a tracking device planted in her! LOL. I guess it wasn't such an original idea in To the Lighthouse ;) And you know how you know when you've seen TSCC 8000 times? When you continuously spot every minor actor from it in other shows. In Alias, I've seen Enrique, Dana, the kid who told Cameron she still looked good after two slices of pizza and the thug in S&D who found the hard drive under John's mattress :P
cj2017
Aug. 8th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
Now I'm not sure I can go back to Covert Affairs. It'll feel so lame in comparison.

LOL. Oops. Sorry Piper! It just all seemed so flat when compared to Alias - the dialogue was naff, the plotting was crap and *whisper it* I didn't much like Piper in the lead role. I guess once you've seen Alias do the spy game so well and have so much damn fun with it, it kinda ruins you for anything else. And even when Alias went kinda crap, there were still moments when it was was a lot of fun.

Are you still suggesting that's a wig on Sarah in your icon? You're crazy. It's totally not.

WIG! Dude, let me have my fun. Please! It's been a really long weekend (and not in a good way) ;-)

It wasn't even later seasons. They went from her barely touching a gun in season 1 to blowing people away nonstop early in season 2.

To be honest, I couldn't remember when the gun-play came in in force, I just vaguely recalled the TWOP comment being about a later episode. I guess they didn't make a big thing about Syd's first kill then? Because I can't remember an issue being made of it... But then again, I can't remember thinking "oh stop killing people Syd, it's naughty!" so I suppose I just didn't mind that she suddenly signed up to mass murder!

The whole feel of the show changed.

Oh I would think there was definitely network meddling. The whole double agent thing had a reasonably short shelf-life. The concept of her working against SD-6 and not being found out and having to counter every mission just became too difficult to sustain without it becoming silly (yes, silly even for this show). And it's hard to empathise with characters when they're constantly having the wool pulled over their eyes (i.e Dixon and Marshall.) Phase One (an ep I really did love) reset the show but there are a good few reset buttons being hit before it finally limps to a conclusion. After S2, the show changed its image/central premise as often as it changed its opening titles (i.e. pretty much once per season.)

I will admit, I don't remember the defib and Irina at all! But then, I only vaguely remember what I had for my lunch... I guess the TSCC gals and guys were fans! I'm terrible for spotting guest actors, only problem is, I spot them but am then terrible at linking them to where I know them from. Having no memory is very frustrating!
bobmacpharson
Aug. 5th, 2010 03:51 am (UTC)
Sarah Walker makes the list? Dunno, I guess, but she is so obviously written by and for men, only really getting to act badass if she can be objectified while doing so, that I just can't take her seriously. (We're talking about Chuck, right?)

I like me some Chuck, but strong female role models it has not. (Well, the sister actually kinda counts, but not in a way I'd describe as badass).
the_narration
Aug. 5th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sadly, I would have to agree. Chuck is fun, but feminist? Not so much.

Ever since Chuck got downloadable kung fu, Sarah has been damsel-in-distressing a lot so he can rescue her. And even before that, she was getting relegated to the Designated Girl Fight a lot. Her feelings seem to change as the plot requires, her priorities are largely defined by the men in her life, and she gets shoved into some really sexually exploitative outfits on a regular basis.

I wish I could like Sarah more, because she does have some badass moments here and there and she's clearly supposed to be thought of as badass, but the writing needs to improve before that can happen.
roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC)
If Chuck wasn't still on, Sarah Walker wouldn't make the list; she's not a lasting awesome TV chick. But you guys are way too hard on her! It's a fun current show and I love to watch her kick some ass even if they often stick her in exploitative outfits. If that were to eliminate a character from the list, Sydney wouldn't be on there either.
the_narration
Aug. 9th, 2010 10:03 am (UTC)
I do confess, my standards for action heroines are unusually high. Too many years of seeing endless parades of Faux Action Girls--who'd be purported to be badass but then not be able to actually deliver results when the chips were down--has made me hyper-sensitive to any sort of apparent marginalization of a female character.

(That said, a lot of this is coming from Season 3, where Sarah seemed to be increasingly in peril so Chuck could flash on fighting skills to save her. Sure, she got that one five-on-one fight that time that was awesome, but it seemed to be the exception to the trend.)

I enjoy Chuck, and I'll be sticking around for Season 4, but it's not going to wind up being a show that I still love and rewatch five or ten years down the line. And even right now, while I have some affection for Sarah, I don't think a list of my favorite badass TV chicks would include her. (For the record: Aeryn Sun, Sarah Connor, Kira Nerys, Kirka & Mireille, the Major, Balsa, Toph & Katara.)
trystanknight
Aug. 8th, 2010 08:41 am (UTC)
Now THIS is an interesting thread too... feminism in action shows, esp nerdy ones...

First off, I'm going to say that Chuck is indeed pretty hard on female archetypes, especially this last season with Kristen Kreuk, who in my mind was written so wrongly into a plot that NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED ANYWAY, that I almost stopped watching the show entirely the day she left. I'm a HUGE nutty fan of Kristen going way back tho, so I'm biased.

But in retrospect, all the women in Chuck are written as emotionally needy as they need to be to get the plot to work. Elly especially, but Sarah, upon rewatching of the series on BluRay is MASSIVELY inconsistent and just performs based on what the plot calls for, and that's the only part of the show I hate. I would prefer stronger, more consistent women in that show.

On the flipside, though, I have to disagree with the butt kicking comments, As Roxy points out, she kicks a whole lot of booty in that show. Plus I agree that MOST action heroines are placed in exploitative outfits... The classic that comes to mind is Serene from Underworld.(The movie Directors commentary track features Director Len Wiseman, his now-wife Kate Beckinsale, and the werewolf guy I always forget, talking about Serene in the trailer. the oft-used shot of her from behind entering the Ballroom on a low angle with her butt in PVC pants, Len apparently looked at Kate on those dailies and said, "Sorry hunny, that's going in the trailer." When werewolf guy asks on the commentary, "Why's that bad, that's a great steadycam sweep shot?" Len goes l, "Yeah, but if she'd been wearing a coat there, that wouldn't have been in the trailer." I guess she didn't mind tho since she married him...)

Anyway my point is, all women I've spoken to feel differently on the concept of empowerment, objectification, and modern action heroes. Some Actresses like Garner feel very empowered wearing sexy clothes and then kicking butt with them, while others like Scarlett Johansson, who kind of objected to her unitard in Iron Man 2 feel its stupid.

I think women can wear anything in an action movie or show that covers them up in a civilized manner, and still command respect, assuming the character had any respect to begin with. But others might not see it that way. Certainly Sarah has been rockin' some lingerie last year, but I doubt that most of her viewers lost respect for her char or actress because of it.

Not to say a girl has to get dolled up to kick ass, Sarah Connor certainly never went out of her way to get SupaSexy (well anymore than Lena already looks daily!!), but I think too often people get bent out of shape about outfits when they're not actually exploitative and are meant to just be fun.

I've rambled too long about this. Interesting topic tho.
roxybisquaint
Sep. 9th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
^ Wow, I totally missed this great comment. I know it's like a month after the fact, but I'mma gonna reply anyway.

For me, I just judge the character. If the clothing feels in-character, then I'm fine with it. Sydney Bristow, for example, wore plenty of slinky, revealing outfits, but it never felt exploitative. It fit the missions. She worked it when it helped get the job done. The fact that just as often wore military uniforms on raids demonstrated that point even further. She was doing a job. And in her off-hours she wore basic stuff that any woman might wear.

Sarah Walker's clothing is more about appearance than necessity, but I'm still not bothered by it because of the POV. Chuck is the protagonist and I feel like we're meant to see Sarah how he sees Sarah. O.M.G. Breathtaking. Hot. Sexy. Cute. And yet, she'll kick your ass. The relationship has evolved over time, but that was the character set-up and I'm just used to it.

Now if Sarah Connor were to suddenly start dressing like Sarah Walker, I'd have a big problem. It simply wouldn't fit the character and would therefore scream exploitation. Sure, she can dress up a bit and put on some extra lipstick to take on an undercover persona, but she's a much more utilitarian character.

I agree that people sometimes get unnecessarily bent out of shape about it. We don't need to be so uptight about this stuff all the time. it is okay to have fun and it is okay to make characters look sexy. Unless we start seeing an obvious trend in female characters dressing exploitatively regardless of character, then I don't see any problem.
trystanknight
Sep. 9th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Rock on, thanks for the reply! I agree 100% with what you've said.
the_narration
Aug. 5th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Alias, huh? That brings back memories. I watched it for... four seasons? Three? I can't remember exactly. It was pretty entertaining for the most part, but it wore out a bit with time, and due to J.J. Abrams' usual inability to plan ahead the plot got more and more absurd.

This show would've driven me nuts with the nonstop cliffhangers!
Oh, yeah... back when they ended every episode on a cliffhanger. And then the plot of the previous episode that cliffhanger'd would be resolved about ten minutes in and they'd kick off a new plot that would end in a cliffhanger. It was less like a serialized plot than like a bunch of standalone plots that were ten minutes out of synch with the episodes. But damn if those cliffhangers didn't keep us coming back!

I'm wondering if she'll ever think to pack a gun (Kicking is cool and all, but pack some heat, woman!).
Even back then, I remember it being weird how she would never use a gun, except for tranquilizer darts. I guess they didn't want their heroine to kill anyone, but a spy kind of needs to be ready to.

I'm starting to wonder if Sydney will ever pull off a mission without being found out by the bad guys.
Seriously. Yeah, it was before Burn Notice showed us that a spy who manages to pull off their deception can be just as entertaining as one whose cover is blown and has to fight their way out, but still....
roxybisquaint
Aug. 8th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC)
due to J.J. Abrams' usual inability to plan ahead the plot got more and more absurd.

Yeah, that already seems to be happening at the start of season 3. Hmm. what do we do now? Um, I don't know. How about a mysterious two-year absence of Sydney and then we can figure it out as we g by throwing in sketchy flashbacks bits as we think of them.


It was less like a serialized plot than like a bunch of standalone plots that were ten minutes out of synch with the episodes.

That's exactly what it was! I loved the format, but it seriously would've driven me mad on a weekly basis. When you can go straight into the next episode, the format was really fun. I was sad when it started changing in season 2.


I remember it being weird how she would never use a gun, except for tranquilizer darts. I guess they didn't want their heroine to kill anyone, but a spy kind of needs to be ready to.

It was weird, especially when she'd get in a jam and be losing a fight and Dixon or Vaughn would have to come charging in with a gun to save her. Uh, how about packing one yourself Syd? But then once Sydney did start blasting away all the time as s2 progressed, it wasn't as fun.


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Roxy Bisquaint

Roxy Bisquaint...

Is self-indulgent. Over thinks everything. Tweets too much. Looks really good in these jeans. Wants to eat butterscotch. Makes herself laugh. Obsesses about aging. Does some crunches. Lives with two ghosts. Procrastinates daily. Measures once, cuts twice. Hates Foo Fighters. Drinks lots of coffee (keep it coming). Puts spiders outside. Brings balance to the force. Draws a perfect curve. Enjoys dark chocolate. Bangs on the drums. Always gets in the slow line. Orders from a menu. Hopes to be reincarnated. Speaks fluent Sarah Connor. Cooks tasty crack theory. Loves a good storm. Dances like a dork. Picks some locks. Tips well. Refuses to share the popcorn. Dreams about the future. Ignores the clock. Sings off key. Has a superpower. Shoots the paper bad guys. Needs some eyeliner. Goes to bed at dawn. Can't resist good smut. Quotes movie lines. Eats whipped yogurt. Lets the story tell itself. Maintains a rich fantasy life. Knows all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.

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