Shaken and Spied- The televisions series Alias.
Shaken and Spied
Exotic lands, disguises and secrecy distinguish the intriguing world of espionage. The knowledge of spies is a mystery to many, leaving us lusting for answers from Hollywood, who in return capitalize on satisfying our need for these “hidden truths.” The realm of intelligence outlets was, however, “shaken but not stirred” when J.J. Abrams created the television series, Alias. In a gutsy but not surprising move for the twentieth century, this young producer satisfied the feminist movement by creating a strong, independent female spy and main character, Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner). With a modern sophisticated plot, this action-packed television show parallels classic James Bond films, while strumming the cords of restricted romance movies and simple-humor comedies. These elements, undoubtedly, make Alias one of the best forms of entertainment.
The show, which is often praised for its complexity, revolves around the character Sydney Bristow, a college student recruited to work for SD-6. Naive to the truth, Sydney assumes she is working for a branch of the CIA. The bitter reality is revealed to her, however, after the death of her fiancé, Danny. It is then that her estranged father exposes that SD-6 is part of the Alliance, a black-market organization that specializes in selling weapons, secrets and drugs. This deception, leads her to contact the real CIA where she and her father operate as double agents. Their mission is to take down SD-6, which they accomplished on January 26, 2003. Once the SD-6 operation was destroyed, they have now focused their efforts to finding Arvin Sloane, the SD-6 operator who is trying to fulfill his own deadly prophecy.
Action is a key ingredient to conjuring up an element of suspense for any quality show. One is drawn to the edge of his seat to witness good ultimately conquer evil. This form of adrenaline produces an excitement that cannot be aroused with basic dialog.
When one is asked to name an action film, it is no surprise when the character James Bond is mentioned. These movies set the standard for the way action films and television series are created. One of the first and most entertaining of the Bond movies was From Russia With Love. Unlike most of its predecessors, this Bond contained a well-written plot, realistic villains, and an attractive Sean Connery leading the reigns. In the first scene of film, the audience witnesses a Russian agent compromise James Bond with a lengthy and horrific strangulation. The adrenaline once experienced turns to shock, after the audience believes the main character is killed within three minutes of the opening credits. Yet, it is soon revealed, with much relief, that another agent was donning a Bond mask. James Berardinelli, a film reviewer, comments that the most memorable scenes in this movie involve action. Suspense is earned with the “inventively choreographed fight sequence with Bond and Grant going at it in the confined space of two train compartments. Shortly after that, there's a death-defying chase between Bond and a helicopter.” It is the encounter and conflict that overwhelm an audience, contributing to scene effectiveness. Action is priceless and imperative when trying to create an exciting and thrilling form of entertainment.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Comparative to the inventive nature of Bond, Alias combines the elements of combat to further engross its audience. When Sydney Bristow punches, kicks and jumps her way out of a situation, one is left feeling excitement. The build up to a fight is the most crucial element J.J. Abrams uses to captivate the viewer. This was exhibited in the episode airing after the Super bowl, which was hailed by, USA Today television critic, Robert Bianco as fabulous, full of “action, suspense and a last-minute twist.” The episode entitled “Phase One,” opens with Sydney Bristow stranded on a plane undercover as a prostitute. The audience is captivated by Garners sex appeal, as she seductively slinks her way towards her target wearing red and black lingerie. She soon pounces on the aroused Russian, strangling him until he cooperates. Before knocking him out, she gets the information and moves to leave, only to find two guards waiting for her. In a predicament, she karate kicks one of her assailants, shoots out a window and flies through the hole she created, by the loss of cabin pressure, in the airplane. Whether Syd is scaling walls, free falling seventy feet or parachuting out of an airplane, this type of “insanity” makes the show more entertaining with each episode.
A quality film or television show combines both action and romance. Romance is critical when creating equilibrium for the viewer, by establishing a balance of emotions. By having passionate characters, the audience can view them as relatable individuals. We can justify and even support the characters savage behavior because the romantic aspect of the show, too, has captivated us.
Baz Luhrmann’s film, Moulin Rouge, understood the importance of romance. The storyline revolves around a restricted relationship between the Courtesan Satine and Christian, a writer. The heart of this story is love; these two characters conduct their forbidden affair despite the consequences. Christian’s strong feelings for Satine are witnessed in his jealousy when she is forced to sleep with the Duke. His torment, disgust and trust in their love is refreshing, and passionate. He mentions to her, “Come what may, I will love you till my dying day.” With lines like these it is hard for the audience not to fall for their love. Despite being restricted, these two act upon their feelings, developing devotion that will stand the test of time.
Alias also entertains the idea of a restricted love relationship. Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn, her CIA handler, have experienced sexual tension from the beginning of their partnership. His love and adoration for her is equivalent to that of Christian’s for Satine. Syd and Michael toy with the idea of dating but decide to “play it safe,” by not acting upon their passions, since it is prohibited for a CIA handler to become involved with his asset. Despite this detail, the two continue to flirt as Michael tells Syd, “It would be nice to be in public with you—to actually look at you. Grab a pizza or go to a hockey game—I wasn’t clear that I would really like that.” This romance is a nice diversion from violent action. Since her life is so depressing as she battles darkness, it is sweet to see Sydney finding salvation and comfort in Michael. It is this tenderness that makes the audience root for a kiss every time she saves his life. The sexual tension ended in the season two with the take down of SD-6. In the middle of its rubble, the two had their first kiss. It was symbolic that they came together in the place that kept them apart. Currently, their relationship is solid and revitalizing to see for their fans.
Comedy is the glue present in both action and romantic situations. It is an additive, an interjection of a jubilee or sarcasm. It is intended to make the audience laugh, chuckle, or to distract from the tension found in an action sequence or love scene.
The television show NYPD Blue, uses comedy as an escape from the harshness of death. Based in New York, the detectives at the fifteenth precinct, witness crimes that are tragic and shocking. To relieve the audience from the drama, sarcastic humor is often found when the detectives interrogate suspects. Andy Sipowicz, is one character that calls a spade a spade. He tells one suspect, “you got a lot of morons in your family? 'Cause that could be genetic.” Another amusing episode involved a man named Ted, whose boss set him up to use stolen credit cards from a dead man. Instead of being collared for the murder, Ted agrees to catch his boss confessing by wearing a wire taped to his crotch. As Ted complains about his discomfort, Andy comments, “the alternative location is up your ass.” Needless to say, Ted stops complaining from that point on. The lines, alone, may not be that humorous, yet the timing is perfectly executed to where the audience can laugh as escape from the show’s graphic nature.
Alias entertains the same idea of diversion with comedy. Marshall, the SD-6 gadget guy, is an intelligent, fidgety, nervous and amusing character. While Marshall’s antics are not strong slapstick his one-liners and corny jokes, are enough to lighten the usual dark dramatic scenes. For example, he explains how to use a camera disguised in a functioning lip-gloss container by giving a long drawn out explanation. He states, “Let's say you're at the beach and your lips are feeling a little -- 'My lips are chapped!'-- or you're possibly on a date, it's the end of the night and some smooching. You want your lips to be supple. Pistachio. That's my favorite flavor." It’s his anxious, boyish antics that make him funny. Even Sydney, during “Phase One,” threw out a one-liner as she posed as a prostitute. As she strangles the Russian for information, she comments about the lingerie “What was wrong with the black one?” Alias, like many other dramas, capitalizes by using spouts of comedy to lighten the intense atmosphere of the show.
Alias is a breathtaking spectacle for one’s senses and emotions. Thriving on action and adventure, the show balances itself by intertwining both romance and comedy. Each episode becomes more thrilling than the next as Sydney sports new disguises and moves. In the end, the audience hopes to follow in her footsteps and one day be recruited to kick some butt, as she does competently each week.
Alias. Dir. J.J. Abrams. Perf. Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber, ect.
American Broadcasting Company. KTRK, Houston. 30 September 2001-03.
Berardinelli, James. “Review of From Russia With Love.” Top All Time 100. 1996. 28
April 2003. < http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie007935
Bianco, Robert. “Super ‘Alias’ will Bowl you Over.” USA Today. 24 January 2003. 28
April 2003. < http://alias-media.com/modules.php?name=News&file
From Russia With Love. Dir. Terence Young. United Artists. 1963.
Moulin Rouge. Dir. Baz Luhrmann. Twentieth Century Fox. 2001.
NYPD Blue. American Broadcasting Company. KTRK, Houston. 21 September 1993-03.
“Phase One.” Alias. American Broadcasting Company. KTRK, Houston. 26 January
You completely understand and make the best of the prescribed criteria/match structure in this paper. This evaluation is, like all of your efforts, excellent.
The real was or the realms were.
Sorry to nit-pick, but James Bond is not really the title of any film.