From The National Post-Alias is mentioned near the end of the article There's a weird subplot to Alias, but we can't figure it out till next season. By Scott Feschuk ~ National Post It's season finale season on television. Angel (ChumTV) wrapped last night (in most Canadian TV markets anyway; it airs tonight on the WB) with a terrific episode: funny, touching and -- ye gods! -- was that a happy ending, too? Well, happyish anyway, which by Angel standards is the equivalent of the cast hopping about merrily and lip-synching the words to Build Me Up Buttercup. I'm not precisely sure when it happened, but at some point during the last two seasons Angel became a consistently more amusing and compelling assemblage of dry wit and epic malfeasance than its TV parent, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (UPN/ChumTV). I would still sooner French kiss Bea Arthur than miss an episode of Buffy, but even the most ardent votaries of creator Joss Whedon's authorial acumen and creative ingenuity must at some point have thought to themselves: "Oh, look. Buffy is walking sullenly down the street. Again." Whedon vowed that Buffy's farewell, five-episode arc would be a grand, spectacular and pants-wettingly awesome narrative, but so far it's mostly been a glum experiment in televised depression. Buffy is depressed. Dawn is depressed. Xander is depressed that everyone's depressed. And I'm depressed, though maybe that's just because on last night's episode poor Giles was given fewer lines of dialogue than a demonic minion who has no tongue. Step away from the surly emoticons: I'm not slagging the slayer. I know that the prospect of facing the biggest of big bads does not inherently lend itself to hair-braiding pyjama parties with the giggly potentials. But it seems in an attempt to go more epic! more apocalyptic! more snapped necks! that Whedon and his writing staff have largely abandoned the sly charm and offhanded wit that have always been as important to the show as battles and baddies. A television series this good can leave happy or it can leave sad. But it shouldn't leave with a pout. Angel shouldn't leave, period. But it still might. People who know such things suggest that the series is a 50-50 proposition for renewal. It's an expensive show to produce, what with all the visual effects and fight scenes and ironic detachment, and the cold numeric truth is that the series has had a good week when it attracts one-fifth the audience of CSI or Everybody Loves Raymond. Of course, if CBS were to cancel Raymond, it would probably receive a few hundred phone calls and a couple of angry letters, both of them from Ray Romano. If WB cancels Angel, the Internet will be ground zero to the single greatest deployment of profanity since Richard Pryor stubbed his toe on the rec room couch in 1975. The great thing about the 21st-century surfeit of television channels is that a real network with real money can spend it on a niche series about a vampire with a soul. The downside is that the five million people who love the series about a vampire with a soul, who adore it, who view it each week with a passion matched only by the gaze that J.Lo has contractually obliged Ben Affleck to affix her with each morning, come away thinking that everyone else in North America is a complete and utter moron for not watching it. I sometimes wonder: How is it that not everyone watches Angel? It's hilarious. It's heart-breaking. It's got smart, attractive women with appealing backsides. If only it featured a talking car, it might just be the greatest show in the history of television. Speaking of appealing backsides, Alias (ABC/CTV) this week concluded its season with a bang -- several bangs, actually, each generated by me slamming my head against the coffee table in frustration. I don't ask for wholesale plausibility in my network spy dramas. But it would be nice if, just once, Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) and her corps of sexy CIA agents were confronted with a crisis that was not resolved by an assault squad being assembled, briefed, deployed and ordered into action in less time than it takes to grill a flank steak. I'm kidding. I love Alias. In fact, I love Alias almost as much as I hate it, a relationship that suggests the appeal of Alias is that the appeal of Alias is so difficult to figure out. The show somehow manages to give its characters emotional heft and narrative credibility despite the program's frequent forays into camp. (Invariably, any decoding of a secret file will ultimately result in Sydney urgently declaring, "We're going to Sweden!" -- at which point it will become evident that the success of her mission depends on her ability to locate and don a skimpy outfit, usually crafted from leather or, more often, small bits of string.) As for the bad guys, well ... If Alias were a town, the sign on the outskirts would read: Welcome to Alias -- Home of the Incompetent, Easily Subdued Henchman! There's a weird mystical subplot going on in Alias, and I would be delighted to explain it to you, but unfortunately the first episode of the show's third season is scheduled to air in just five months, so we haven't nearly the time. Suffice it to say that the show's creator, J.J. Abrams, is far more generous with the question marks than he is with the revelations, and more fond of hackneyed spy banter ("Oh, we'll meet again, Jack! I can assure you of that!") than outfitting his leading lady in a pair of sensible trousers. Which is why I hate the show. And why I love it. The final minutes of Sunday's finale provided sufficient fodder for an infinite number of monkeys to type in an infinite number of Internet chat rooms without finding an answer, or for that matter a user whose claims of being an attractive, blond, 17-year-old girl prove accurate. Does Sydney really have no memory of the past two years? Is her boyfriend really married to another woman? What's with the scar on her belly? And more important yet, how is she going to get to Sweden?