Alias is a show that has garnered much critical praise, especially for lead actress Jennifer Garner (Emmy nominations) and the show's creator J.J. Abrams, but that has not translated into great ratings. Probably because of that, Abrams tries to reinvent the show almost every season, which tends to make it confusing for veterans and new-comers alike. The fourth season is definitely trying a little of everything and as a result it is all over the place. Stylistically it is most like the first season, with one glaring difference. Abrams should learn to just leave well enough alone and let his audience adapt to his style. The show is intelligently written, well acted and has slick production values. Alias has also managed to attract high-profile guests to the show such as, Lena Olin, Quentin Tarantino, and David Cronenberg. This season is no different with high profile actors such as, Joel Grey, Sonia Braga, Angela Bassett, and Isabella Rosselini making guest appearances.
During the fourth season, Sydney joins a off the books CIA agency called APO – Authorized Personnel Only, which is headed by her former nemesis Arvin Sloane. Her previous co-workers Dixon, Vaughn, Weiss, Marshall, half-sister Nadia, and her father Jack are all members of this unit. Sloane is supposed to have been rehabilitated, but Sydney still does not fully trust him. Sydney and Vaughn are struggling to put back together their romantic relationship after the death of his double agent wife. There is some tension between the two in the beginning. Vaughn is then distracted by the news that his father might still be alive. He ventures out on his own to find out the truth. Sydney, who believes that her father killed her mother, now finds out that Irina had a contract out on Sydney's life and her father killed her to save Sydney. Nadia, who knows none of this, vows to find out who killed her mother, Irina. The agents fight against undercover terrorist groups from Germany, Damascus, and Russia amongst others in season four and they always seem to come out on top. Old enemies such as Sark and Anna Espinosa reappear to provide challenges for APO. The legendary Rambaldi device reappears in a big way during the fourth season and severely tests Sloane's rehabilitated ways. Sydney and Nadia are wary because Rambaldi had predicted that the two sisters would be involved in a fight to the death. Things begin to happen and the agents begin to wonder if Sloane is trying to reform The Alliance. Sydney even begins to suspect her own father, Jack. Jack finds out that he has a deadly disease and only has a short while to live. Sloane's obsession with Rambaldi forces him over to the other side. In the last episode, there is a car crash where two agents' lives are in danger.
Many of the 22 episodes during the fourth season stand very well on their own, but once put together they become a little messy. There are some leaps of logic we, the viewer, are asked to make. Alias is good in that it does have a little bit of everything. If it is romance you are looking for there is that and if it is action you crave then Alias can also provide you with plenty of butt kicking. It is one of the few CIA based television series that appeals to both men and women. Like the X-Files, Alias relies on the charisma of its cast and their ever changing relationships more than on its believability. It is the type of series that once you watch one episode you will be hooked and want to know how Abrams goes about solving all the mysteries he lays before the viewer.
-Trailers for Scrubs: Season Two, The Golden Girls: The Complete Third Season, Lost, Lost: Season Two, Alias: Season 3, The Chronicles of Narnia, and TV on DVD
-A chat with Jennifer Garner
-Meet Mia: Syd's little sister
-Anatomy of a scene: 1) The train fight
2) The chopper escape
-Guest stars of season 4
-Agent Weiss' spy cam