Issue 35

Azhria Lilu

Nov 18, 2002
Derbyshire, UK
The Alias Newsletter

The weekly Alias newsletter of –

Issue 35

Monday, January 13, 2003

In this issue:
1. Next Episode: Phase One
2. Latest Episode: The Getaway (quotes, summary, and more)
3. Article of the Week
4. Browse more news
5. Quote of the Week
6. Feature of the Week: 2002 in review, 2003 Preview
7. Affiliates
8. Final Thoughts

1. Next Episode: Phase One

Next week is a repeat of Cipher. The week after that is the super bowl,
and directly after that “Phase One” will air. Originally, it was thought
that an episode called “Double Agent” was going to be the episode to air
after the super bowl, but it was later learned that it was actually
going to air a week after it, as the actual super bowl episode was
surrounded in a lot of secrecy.

Phase One is supposed to be one of the best episodes ever, written by JJ
Abrams (the creator of Alias), just for the after-the-super bowl spot
(which should draw in millions more viewers).

If you are interested in spoilers, feel free to browse the
Spoiler Forum at

9. Latest Episode: The Getaway

Summary (from


“If the alliance thinks you’ve betrayed them, they’ll kill you. That
concerns me.” - Sydney

“Actually, Mr. Sloane, I realized your not wearing the tie I gave you.”
(Sloane stares)

MICHAEL: Your life is already complicated Sydney. Forgive me for trying
to make it easier.
SYDNEY: I don’t need you for that

“Stay safe Jack. Good luck.” – Sloane

"Okay, let's be honest, there's really nothing worse that being
kidnapped. Actually third grade kinda sucked too.......there was this
thing with my lunch money..." - Marshall

“Hey? Three months in the hospital and I get a ‘Hey’?” – Weiss

“Man I like this tie” – Marshall, after just accidentally cutting it

“Listen, do you want to go to dinner” - Michael

“Two things. First, I don’t think it’s that big of a risk and two I’m
hungry. Aren’t you hungry?” – Michael

“Sydney Bristow just left the airport with a man, not Dixon” – man

“I’d be rude to overlook such a generous offer without proper
considerations.” – Michael

SYDNEY: We win
MICHAEL: At the airport you took both of them…
SYDNEY: Always be prepared

“We did it… we’re free” - Sloane

Artist: No Doubt
Song: "Hella Good"
Label: Interscope Records

Artist: Beck
Song: "Guess I'm Doing Fine"
Label: Geffen Records

Artist: Charles-Francois Gounod
Song: "Salut Demeure"
Label: N/A


NI[C]E (Nice is in France, but this wasn’t mentioned)

In a Dixon quote, something like “I’ve already made 47 heroes…”

Ring that cuts through almost anything (including Marshall’s tie)

3. Article of the Week

This week starts a new feature: Article of the week. Each week, I’ll try
and select one article that is very important, very good, or just very
interesting. This week’s article is about ABC, the super bowl, and
promoting Alias.


NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Terrorists, torturers and a troubled family
background aren't enough to stop super spy Sydney Bristow. Her greatest
escapade is about to take place right after this year's Super Bowl.

Whether she succeeds or fails in her mission that night is less
important than how many people watch her do so - and decide to watch

Agent Bristow is the lead character on "Alias," an adventure drama
airing on Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS) turnaround-mode ABC network, and her
ultimate victory or demise hinges on executives at the Alphabet Network
transforming the show from a cult fave to a massive hit.

Putting "Alias" on after the Super Bowl - perhaps the best-watched TV
event of the year and often a temporary rating booster - is part of a
"big push" to ensure the program becomes "a big, long-running hit
drama," says Steve Sohmer, the network's executive vice-president of

Will "Alias" thrive or die? Ultimately, says Tim Spengler, an executive
vice president and director of national broadcast at Interpubic Group of
Cos.' (IPG) Initiative Media, "the unwashed masses across the whole
country will decide."

Gripping Episode

Meanwhile, viewers can expect to be dazzled as "Alias" vies for their
attention. The episode airing after the big football game "starts with a
spectacular opening," says J.J. Abrams, the program's creator and
executive producer, and ends with "the single most shocking thing you'll
see on TV this year."

Already, however, ABC has expressed concern over the drama's
sophomore-year performance. "As well as the show does for us, it should
be doing better, given the quality," said Lloyd Braun, chairman of ABC's
entertainment group, during a conference call after the November sweeps.
"If anything, we've got to make the show more receptive to non-viewers."

"Alias" stars Jennifer Garner as a twentysomething CIA operative who
realizes she knows less and less about her family, friends and enemies
the more and more she deals with them. Like the title, nothing on the
program is what it seems. Bristow works for the CIA but spends her days
spying on a rogue operation known as SD-6, which bills itself as a CIA
offshoot in order to play on its employees' patriotic leanings. By many
accounts, "Alias' is everything ABC needs - a clever fusion of
espionage, family drama, gadgets, disguises, exotic travel, humor, a
breakout starlet and spiraling subplots that keep loyal fans coming back
week after week.

The last element may give ABC pause. Like "24," an action series that
takes place in real time on News Corp.'s (NWS) rival Fox, "Alias" can be
tough to follow if a viewer skips an episode or two. "It's not a show
you can watch passively or you can watch hit-or-miss," says Jack Sander,
executive vice president of media operations for Belo Corp. (BLC), which
owns four ABC affiliates. "You almost have to stay with it all the time.
You couldn't have said that about 'ER' five years ago or so."

Of course, complex storytelling isn't the only challenge. On TV, Sunday
nights have become as competitive as Thursday nights. For most of this
season, "Alias" has had to contend not only with "The Sopranos" on AOL
Time Warner Inc.'s (AOL) HBO, but also "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" on
General Electric Co.'s (GE) NBC and teen favorite "Angel" on WB, owned
by AOL and Tribune Co. (TRB).

"With 'The Sopranos' out of the mix, and 'Angel' moved to Wednesday, I
think ABC will have a better chance of seeing what 'Alias' can do," says
Pattie Glod, vice president of marketing and media for Limited Brands
Inc. (LTD), which advertises for Victoria's Secret during "Alias."

The network may need to know soon, suggests Kathryn Thomas, an associate
director at Publicis Groupe SA's (PUB) Starcom Entertainment. Simply
put, "Alias" isn't cheap, she says, costing between $1.5 million and
$1.7 million an episode, according to one estimate. Because it is
produced by Disney's Touchstone Television, ABC and Disney likely bear
full financial responsibility.

Show-Biz Economics

"It's an expensive show to produce. Jennifer Garner has been made a star
because of this, and will only get more expensive," says Thomas. "If
they can't find a viable financial model this season," she adds, "Alias"
could very well "go away."

ABC disputes that notion. "The shows that are really expensive are shows
that have gone through one cycle, and then have a chance to renegotiate
their whole talent structure," says ABC's Sohmer. "I don't know whether
it's expensive or not, but it's not expensive compared to 'The West
Wing' and some of those others."

Nevertheless, ABC might want to look into ways to make "Alias" pay off a
little faster, suggests Thomas. A DVD of the first season could give the
show a promotional boost - and a financial one. And repurposing "Alias"
on cable's ABC Family channel may not be the best use of the program,
she says; at times, "Alias" can be sexy and violent.

For his part, Abrams is aware of some of the challenges. "There is some
truth to the confusion factor, but I love the show so much that the last
thing I would do is dumb it down," he says. "There is a difference
between dumbing it down and eliminating unnecessary confusion." Viewers
can expect subtle shifts in the storytelling, he says, that bring Sydney
and her CIA handler, Vaughn, together romantically. What's more, the
show will demonstrate more clearly who Sydney's enemies are, never an
easy task.

"Ultimately, the show is a mystery, and that's kind of the fun of it,"
says Abrams, "but in a mystery, if you don't know who you are, it goes
from being a mystery to being a mess. That, to me, is something we're
going to be able to deal with."

Expect lots of "Alias" promotion over the next few months, says Sohmer,
on ABC as well as in print and on radio. Promotions for the show focus
on "the foreground adventure, the caper," he says. "The adventure of the
week is a real potboiler, with a beginning, middle and an end." Ongoing
subplots take a back seat. After the Super Bowl, ABC hopes to attract
new viewers, and then keep them. "You can look for us to be hammering
away," he says, through February and March.

Meanwhile, ABC might enjoy an added boost when the 20th Century Fox
super-hero movie "Daredevil" comes out on Feb. 14 - "Alias" star Garner
has a featured role as the knife-throwing assassin Elektra. "Getting her
out on the talk-show circuit, getting her into promotional places could
help a lot," says Belo's Sander. If so, then "Alias" may well be armed
for its most harrowing assignment - staying on the air.


4. Browse more news

The article of the week is interesting, but there is more going on each
week in the world of Alias than that. That is why I invite you to browse
the News Archive, which includes many articles, not just
“articles of the week”. Browse it here:

Find all of the latest news, polls, and more:

5. Quote of the Week

“We did it… we’re free” – Sloane to his wife Emily [2.12, The Getaway]

6. Feature of the Week: 2002 in Review, 2003 Preview

Also new this week is “Feature of the Week”, where we will feature one
unique thing each week (that I have the time to do so).

This week is a double dose of features. These were featured on while I was gone (luckily, I am no longer the only one who

The first is a look back at the 5 top Alias-related moments of 2002:

5. Alias's Season One finale
-- After rumors that the season finale would be two hours, Almost Thirty
Years turned out to be a one hour episode. But fans were still not
disappointed. In this episode, Will is captured by Sark from a CIA
safehouse. He is brought to Taipei, where Suit and Glasses makes a
classic return, torturing Will through his teeth. Sloane kills his wife,
Emily, contingent to becoming a full-pledged Alliance member. Dixon
suspects Sydney of being a traitor of the United States after he catches
her gaining unauthorized access into an SD-6 vault. In Taipei, Jack
meets with Sark to exchange the Rambaldi artifact for Will. Sydney
breaks into one of Khasinau's labs where she has to destroy a Rambaldi
device. She plants a bomb and the explosion causes a flood. Sydney and
Vaughn try to escape it. Only Sydney makes it out, while Vaughn gets
trapped. A guard then captures Sydney. She wakes up, handcuffed to a
chair, and meets Khasinau. She also finds out that he is not The Man.
The Man's shadow is seen, heading closer to the room.

"I've waited almost thirty years for this."


4. Alias's Season Two Premiere
-- After four months of waiting, the last episode's cliffhanger was
finally continued, only to leave more cliffhangers and mysteries. In The
Enemy Walks In, Lena Olin was cast into the show with a recurring role,
playing Irina Derevko, Sydney's mom, who was once believed to be dead.
Irina added a whole new storyline to Alias, giving it the family drama
that was more hidden in the first season. Also in this episode, Will
finds out the truth about Sydney and is injected with heroin as a cover
story for the article he wrote about SD-6, pretending he was high the
whole time. Sloane believes that Emily's ghost is haunting him. And
Irina Derevko turns herself into the CIA.

3. Alias is nominated twice for the 2002 Golden Globes
-- Best Series, Drama
--Best Actress, Drama Series - Jennifer Garner
In a year where fresh stars were big winners at the Golden Globes, the
best actress category was no different. Jennifer seemed as stunned as
some of the critics saying, "I know I was good in 'Dude, Where's My
Car?,' but seriously!"
Jennifer Garner took home Best Actress, Drama Series
Jennifer Garner was again nominated for Best Actress, Drama Series, for
the 2003 Golden Globes

2. Alias Gets The Post-Superbowl Spot
-- The post-Superbowl spot is a highly coveted spot for TV Networks. It
has been the launching pad to several shows. Alias has gotten that spot
after the Superbowl on January 26, 2003. This episode, title Double
Agent, was written by J.J. Abrams, the show's creator. As an ABC source
put it, he wrote a "kick-ass episode" specifically for this spot.

1. Alias is nominated for eleven Emmys.
-- Outstanding Art Direction For A Single Camera Series
-- Outstanding Casting for A Drama Series
-- Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series
-- Outstanding Costumes For A Series
-- Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Series
-- Outstanding Hairstyling For A Series
-- Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic)
-- Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
-- Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
-- Outstanding Stunt Coordination
-- Out standing Writing For A Drama Series
Alias won 'Outstanding Art Direction For A Single Camera Series' and
'Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series'

The second (and final) is the top 5 things to look forward to in 2003:

5. Daredevil - Jennifer Garner (Sydney Bristow) co-stars in this movie
based on the comic book series. It opens Valentines day, and looks like
it will be a great movie.

4. The post-superbowl episode and the new fans because of it - ABC has
announced it will air Alias directly after this years super bowl, which
it will also air. This will mean millions more people will watch it, and
that means more fans. In addition, JJ Abrams (the creator of Alias)
wrote this episode to be one of the best this year. We can't wait.

3. Alias on DVD - according to reports, Season 1 will come out around
the time (probably just before) Season 3 begins. We can't wait for all
of the episodes in good quality, and all of the extra features that
should be included.

2. The Season 2 Finale - The season 2 finale was just great and JJ will
probably throw us even more cliffhangers this year. This may make for a
long summer, but it also makes great entertainment.

And the thing we look forward to the most in 2003:
1. Season 3 Premiere - that is, if there is one. The starts of Season 2
and Season 1 were great, so we assume this one will be too. It also
means an entire new Alias season.

Darn it, the thing we can't wait the most for is the last thing that we
will see that is on this list!

Anyway, these next things deserve honorable mention even though they
didn't make this list:
- Alias: A Secret Life - the sequel to Alias: Recruited, the Alias
fiction novel.
- Awards season (early 2003) - Alias did well last year,
- Emmys 2003 - maybe it will finally take home a big award this year?
- Alias #3 - the 3rd book in the Alias Fiction Series
- Alias Action Figures - go on your own mssions with Sydney Bristow
- Alias on PS2 - An Alias game may be coming to the PlatStation 2, but
we're not sure.

7. Affiliates

Browse our affiliates at:

8. Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this edition of The Alias Newsletter, a newsletter

As always, feel free to send your comments and suggestions to me at - subscriber comments is one of the main ways this
newsletter improves. I’m especially interested in hearing your thoughts
on our new features: article of the week, photo of the week, and feature
of the week.

Have a great week.

Editor, The Alias Newsletter
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