Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Free-for-All: Alias

I watched the pilot episode of the CW's Nikita last night and I have to say I wasn't really blown away. I feel like the casting people really missed the mark with both Maggie Q and Shane West. I just don't find Maggie Q convincing as a physical threat for any of the guys she fights. She's just too much of a twig for me to believe there's any power behind her kicks.

Now Jennifer Garner in Alias - THERE was a woman I believed could kick-ass. Nikita isn't fit to hold Sydney Bristow's bikini. (Standard issue undercover garb, you understand.)

So today's Friday Free-for-All is a tribute to Jennifer Garner and Alias. First up is one of the best fight scenes she show offered. It's from the second season finale, where Sydney realizes that her roommate has been replaced by an enemy spy.

And since I'm feeling generous, here's the opening to season two's "Phase One." This was the episode that aired right after the Super Bowl that year, so you can forgive the producers for trying to give the largely male audience a little incentive to stick around.


  1. That season two finale had one of the best cliffhangers I can remember in a while in network television. Garner and Alias usually did a good job with the fight scenes. Excellent choice.

    Also love that line in the second clip. "What was wrong with the black one?"

  2. I discovered Alias about a year ago and FLEW through every season. You really believed Jennifer Garner could do it all. I have the same issue with Covert Affairs. Piper Perabo is just TOO girl next door to be believable as a superspy.

    Also, Alias had a kick ass pilot. What's better, being sent out in the field unknowingly to capture your exboyfriend... or becoming a double agent to take down one of the biggest terrorist networks because they murdered your fiance.

  3. I also had the benefit of watching Alias after the series aired. Took me a bit while balancing other shows, but it's always nice to fly through a series and not wait.

    I can't be the only one that thinks of the Alias Finale when I read the synopsis behind JJ's Undercovers, right?

  4. Yesterday I also watched Nikita, and I tweeted about how similar it is to Alias, but Alias is much better. Are you going to continue watching the show next week? I hope they ease up on the exposition soon.

  5. Amy - I haven't seen Covert Affairs, but yeah, I have a hard time buying her as a superspy. I thought Rachel Nichols did a good job as a spy-in-training in the last season of Alias, but too few of the other "ass-kicking-chicks" really sell the role.

    Carlos - I'd bet that being able to watch everything in one shot did wonders for the quality of seasons three and four. Season three especially suffered from the syndrome of "one new episide, two weeks off. Two new episodes, four weeks off."

    And you know what? I don't get what was wrong with the black one either :)

    Blitzen - I don't think I'm going to watch Nikita next week. I've already got enough trash TV on my plate and I don't see myself going out of the way to watch this. I thought Lyndsy Fonseca was the best thing about the pilot and clearly had the more interesting character. Xander Berkley and Melinda Clarke weren't bad either, but they were stuck with roles they could play in their sleep by now.

  6. Yeah, maggie Q is too small to realistically be a threat against anyone except anyone in her same weight/size class.

    That's the problem I had with "Dark Angel." I just had an impossible time coming to grips that a 4 foot 10 inch woman could be able to do anything dangerous.

  7. How about Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker on "Chuck"? I think she and Sydney Bristow would be pretty evenly matched.

  8. I just watched the Nikita premiere this afternoon and I've watched 3 seasons of Alias. While I definitely agree they missed the mark - big time - with Shane West, I was very surprised with Maggie Q. And I believe her more than Jennifer Garner.

    Maggie Q is very, very, thin. When I saw the posters I thought it was an awful casting choice. But in her fight scenes, I believe her because she looks like she's got grit to her when she fights. It's looser, somehow, than when Garner had fight scenes. Also, I can believe she's a spy with a rough past, somehow she has a maturity and age on her face which I was very surprised with - again, based on the posters, I had not expected that at all.

    Garner... I never understood why in the commentaries for the episodes everyone was always kissing her ass, talking about how great she was. Her combat seemed, very often, too rehearsed (and her accents and foreign languages were pretty bad), and while her body is more hearty than Maggie Qs, I don't think she had as good control of it.

    But oh my god, the Nikita premiere was 90% exposition. It was killing me.

  9. @Bitter: After watching the entire series, I went back and looked up the scheduling of the episodes (because I heard it bounced around a lot) and, wow, I probably would have given up on it.

    I watched straight through because I could, but the quality of the series never quite matched the effectiveness of the first two seasons. I could see myself walking away.

  10. Carlos - I agree 100%. I lost interest after the first two seasons and stopped watching into the third one, *and* I was watching them on dvd.

    I know people get all hot and bothered over J.J. Abrams, but I've found that happens with all his shows. The first couple seasons start out strongish or okay, then it rapidly deteriorates.

  11. Sydney Bristow is a young, athletic, college graduate who was recruited her freshman year as a secret agent for SD-6, a top-secret branch of the CIA. After a few years -- after Sydney confides her lifestyle to her boyfriend, the evil head of SD-6 -- Arvin Sloan, has him killed. Sydney learns that SD-6 is part of a rogue international agency called the Alliance of 12, out to rule the world. She becomes a double agent, working with the real CIA to bring down SD-6 with the assistance of her handler, Michael Vaughn, and her estranged father Jack Bristow -- also a double agent. Along the way, Sydney fights various rival agents, rival terrorist groups, and traitors all the while keeping her cloak-and-dagger lifestyle a secret from her friends....