Gratuitous fandom post – Alias

8 Jan

I must warn you. Talking about Sydney Bristow turns me into an eight-year old. I have been watching the first two seasons of Alias on DVDs I rented from netflix. OK, and can I say this show *kicks ass*? Or, more to the point, Sydney kicks ass. She kicks high! She could kick you butt. Kapow! giggle

But despite all the hot babe butt-kicking, I don’t think I would have quite descended into fandom if it weren’t for the family element. I have become close to obsessed in the last year with the notion of biological family, and the connection between parent and child in particular. I am fascinated by the similarities and differences between offspring and their parents, grandparents, etc. How am I a reflection of my ancestors? What bits and pieces of me, whole parts of me, come from them? And how would I be reflected in my own child (if I had one)?

I think this recent interest probably comes from my own ticking biological clock, and my decision (which I am pondering right now) not to have children. My body is feeling a different imperative. A biological imperative. Reproduce, reproduce, reproduce. However, besides the practical matter of getting pregnant, there is, for me, the practical matters involved in 18+ of childcare and commitment. I am fascinated by the genetic connection of parent and child, by the bonds of love and pain that seem to exceed any other kind of relationship, even romantic. But could I deal with the day-to-day realities of the commitment one would have for one’s child? This is the part I ponder. My cats tax me, and they’re grown-ups.

“You know, some people go miniature golfing with their parents, we go to India to look for nukes.”

I think the fact that Sydney is this super-talented agent/spy and that it is in no insignificant part because her parents are the same way, is fascinating. I am about mid-way through season 2 now, and I about jumped out of my seat to see her there, with her parents, on the mission in Kashmir. Suddenly, being a spy isn’t just a job, it’s the family business. But it’s more than that. It goes as deep as blood. It’s in the DNA itself in some pre-disposition for butt-kicking, danger, and sneakiness kind of way.

Added to that is the fact that Sydney believed her mother had been dead since she was a child, and then she found out that she wasn’t, and they not only looked alike, they were alike in smarts and talent. I adore watching Sydney get to know her mother and vice-versa, watching them bond emotionally (some amazing casting there, because Jennifer Garner resembles both of the actors that play her parents). Instead of the child I never knew theme, it’s the parent I never knew.

And that goes for her dad as well. They had a superficial relationship for years as he pretended to be an plane manufacturing executive and hid his spy career from her. Then in her darkest moment, the one thing she least expects happens. Her father whisks in and saves her from a spy-bad guy. She of course assumes he’s another spy bad guy in Dad-disguise. But he’s not. He’s her father, and he’s in the same business as her. Or maybe it’s the other way around. But the daughter-and-dad double-agents thing worked for me big time while it lasted. It was kewl on kewl.

Despite the coolness of the family factor, I think my favorite character is Will. (You were wondering when I’d get to the icon, right?) I like Will because he is the Character of Invitation. One of the things I want in a TV show/movie/book is for it take me into some sort of fantasy world where I can hang out and pretend I’m there. But for it to work for me, there has to be some sort of connection to the real world. Take Buffy, for example. As I understand it, the BtVS/Angel world is supposed to be our world. Not an alternate universe, or anything like that. It’s our world, but what most of us don’t realize is that magic is real if you know how to tap into it. Demons exist, just hope you don’t run into one.

This kind of real-world connection allows me to think, “Underneath all this drab, dreary mundanity and pain is a fantastic world full of excitement and magic.” All I need is the right book/movie/TV show to reveal what’s hidden all around me.

The Character of Invitation is a normal person who sees the world more or less like all of us do everyday. It’s the boring old mundane world, *yawn*, nothing special or magical about it. S/he’s just living their life. Then one day, they discover there’s a lot more to the world around them then they ever imagined. The Scoobies discover that Buffy is a Slayer and that vampires exist! Their whole world changes forever in a moment. The Character of Invitation is the person through which the audience in their normal mundane lives can enter into the broader fantastic world hidden around them.

Will’s that character on Alias (and I would say Richie Ryan is that character on Highlander–hence also my favorite). He’s a reporter. He has a couple of friends he hangs out with. One of them, Sydney, works too much for someone supposedly interested in getting her literature degree. But Sydney is sweet and feminine and intellectual.

Then Will decides to investigate the death of Sydney’s fiancé. Things start to get scary, but that happens to reporters. Normal, normal. He keeps digging. Then Sydney’s dad pops up in the middle of the investigation. OK, it makes sense, the father might be involved in his future son-in-law’s murder. Normal, normal. Then things get weird. In the midst of trying to solve a simple murder mystery, Will gets caught up in the Spy Game. And in a moment of peril, who comes martial-artsing her way into a back room to save him? Sydney.

Of course he screams. His world 180s in one dizzying moment, and then snaps back into place completely changed. It’s the same world he walked in before; nothing has changed but his knowledge of it. And he returns to that normal mundane world after all the excitement is over, but he sees it in a completely new way. The same old places and people take on a new, deeper meaning. He has experienced a non-spiritual sort of enlightenment.

I love when that happens in a story.

The fun in Alias, the fantasy, for me, is imaging what it would be like to be a spy in our present real world. That’s what I’m watching the show for. So it sort of follows that this whole Rambaldi thing just doesn’t work for me. I’m big on the genre of fantasy. I love the immortals of Highlander and the witches and vampires of BtVS/Angel. If you start out a story and you say, “Here’s the rules. Magic and vampires exist”, I’m OK. I enter the story accepting those rules.

The Rambaldi thing on Alias takes me right out of my suspension of disbelief. Because the “rules”, it seems to me, when I entered the story were, “This is the real CIA, and the real CIA’s enemies.” And if this were the real CIA, as I’m into pretending that it is (and let’s face, despite some “YeahRightIDon’tThingSo” technology and events, Alias does strive for a lot of authenticity), the powers of the world would not be fighting each other over the alleged “technology” of 500-year old man.

That kind of story element could work in a different show/book/movie, a show already predicated on some other element of fantasy like time-travel or alternate history or something, but those things don’t exist in the Alias world. It’s a world of big political events and hard technology and ambitious bad guys. Those are the rules of that world (IMO). And in that means that the normal history and evolution of science and technology applies.

Putting on PhD minor in History of Science hat

500 years ago, Europe and most of the rest of the world lived in a world-view that couldn’t conceive of science and technology as we know it today. They didn’t have the basic metaphysical precepts (physicalism, reductionism), much less the 300 years of precursor scientific concepts that would be required to experiment with electro-magnetic fields or genetics or etc. And they certainly would not have the materials we have today that would allow successful experimentation (I’m thinking for example of Da Vinci’s attempts to create a flying machine. Even if his designs had been based on sound aero-dynamic principles, which most of them weren’t, they would never have gotten off the ground; the metal alloys he had available in his day were too heavy and there was no technology for building light enough alloys).

Even if Rambaldi was an alleged prophet who could see into the future, he would not be able to make sense of the highly technical aspects of our culture from his 15th/16th century point of view.

So in order to get through this bit of the story, I just pretend that Rambaldi is a present-day mad genius. I think that works much better, anyway. And who knows? Since I’m unspoiled for any eps beyond the one’s I’ve seen, I might just be right.

33 Responses to “Gratuitous fandom post – Alias”

  1. dlgood January 8, 2004 at 11:30 am #

    I don’t watch “Alias” all that much, but frameworks have always been a big issue for me in reading a story or watching a show. S7 on BtVS galled me, because the actions of the FE tore up my suspension of disbelief.
    I’d rather pretend Rambaldi was a present-day Mad Genius too.

  2. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 11:43 am #

    The problem with the First Evil was lack of detail
    Specifically, What is It? Is it “the concept evil made into an entity”? If so how did that happen? Give us the backstory. Or is It a God, like Glory? Or is It a former Power that Be that broke away from the others? Or a Star-Trek like entity that feeds on the emotions of hatred and fear? Or something else? Some little one-liner about ancient history and some hand-wavy magic is all that was required in the world of the Buffyverse story to clear up that gaping plot-hole mystery.
    Also, What does it want? Somehow, to rule the hearts and minds of humans, but why bother? What would it get out of that? And equally perplexing, how was Its plan with Caleb and the Slayer line supposed to achieve this? Again, all we need is a few throw-away lines from someone to fill in a little back-story and back-metaphysics.
    I don’t think the problem with the FE is the same kind of problem as Rambaldi on Alias. Rambaldi, I am arguing, is actually breaking the rules of that show. The First Evil on Buffy, on the other hand, was just vaguely drawn, and could have been made a coherent part of that world with a paragraph of back story.

  3. rahael January 8, 2004 at 12:07 pm #

    We think *exactly* alike on this show!
    I love Sydney. I love Spy Family. Sydney and Irina and Sydney and Jack tears me apart! Also, I like Will too, though apparently that is an unpopular opinion. The moment when Will comes face to face with Spy Sydney in Paris toward the end of the first Season was brilliant.
    And yeah, Rambaldi. Risible. But never mind. I don;t mind the odd bit of hocus pocus as long as the programme itself realises that it’s all about Spy Family, Sydney and her friends rather than Rambaldi, which is just a gigantic amusing plot device.
    Oh, can I mention? I definitely include Arvin Sloane in the Spy family thing. Uncle Arvin. Sydney and her Father figures!

  4. dlgood January 8, 2004 at 12:15 pm #

    Re: The problem with the First Evil was lack of detail
    I don’t think the problem with the FE is the same kind of problem as Rambaldi on Alias. Rambaldi, I am arguing, is actually breaking the rules of that show.
    Good point. In a lot of ways, the “Initiative” did more of that, simply because it was supposed to be relative to a real world institution but operated completely unlike any real-world US Military Program I’ve been familiar with (in all the wrong ways) and sort of broke the rules of the show. (This is the real world, only with Magic and Vampires)

  5. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 12:23 pm #

    I like Will too, though apparently that is an unpopular opinion.
    Sigh, I’m used to that with the Connor thing. I don’t set out to deliberately like characters other people don’t like, I just like who I like and almost inevitably, they seem to be the less popular characters. I prefer to think of it as me being weird and unique!
    The moment when Will comes face to face with Spy Sydney in Paris toward the end of the first Season was brilliant.
    Doncha just *love* my icon? That expression on his face captures that “what the fuck/this cannot be happening/my world is all askew-and-cockeyed” thing that I was trying to get to in my post.
    it’s all about Spy Family, Sydney and her friends rather than Rambaldi
    This is what makes the show work for me. A spy show could very well lean to the action-oriented rather than relationships-oriented, showing all the spy’s relationships as superficial (James Bond anyone?). This show balances both. A spy show could also be very exploitative of a female lead. This shows her feminine, sexual sides and her strong, intelligent sides. I like that.
    Plus did I mention the butt-kicking? *squeal*
    Oh, can I mention? I definitely include Arvin Sloane in the Spy family thing. Uncle Arvin. Sydney and her Father figures!
    I can see how one might get into the moral ambiguity of her father-daughter relationship with Sloan. I’m not a Sloan fan, though. I love to hate him as a bad guy, but I’m not rooting for him in anyway (either his relationship with Sydney, or his redemption, or anything like that).

  6. rahael January 8, 2004 at 12:26 pm #

    I love Arvin. I think he’s evil all the way, but I love him, and he’s probably my fave character, right after, Syd, Jack, & Irina.
    Sydney’s moral dilemma is that in his own twisted way, he appears to *care* for her.
    You know what, I didn’t even notice your Will Icon when I made that comment about that scene!

  7. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 12:38 pm #

    Sydney’s moral dilemma is that in his own twisted way, he appears to *care* for her.
    See, I have interpreted that as the love of possession, that sort of “she’s mine, my creation, and if she betrays me in a way I perceive as final (which I don’t because I believe she’s naive enough to love me and not see my flaws or despite my flaws and she’d never really betray me once and for all) I won’t hesitate to kill her.”

  8. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 12:42 pm #

    I guess it helps being blissfully ignorant of the military
    Because that introducing of an element so deeply embedded in the real world only made BtVS that much more workable for me. Sort of an X-Files thing where, “If the world of BtVS were really our world, wouldn’t the government know about demons?” and the answer being “Yes”.

  9. dlgood January 8, 2004 at 12:47 pm #

    Re: I guess it helps being blissfully ignorant of the military
    That does help you.
    Sort of an X-Files thing where, “If the world of BtVS were really our world, wouldn’t the government know about demons?” and the answer being “Yes”.
    I get that. But as a “Merchant of Death” I’d follow the “yes” with an immediate “but”. Becasue the Initiative represents the reality of the military about as accurately as Rambaldi represents the capacities of his reality.

  10. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 12:48 pm #

    Re: I guess it helps being blissfully ignorant of the military
    Becasue the Initiative represents the reality of the military about as accurately as Rambaldi represents the capacities of his reality.
    *Snerk* Point taken!

  11. lakrids404 January 8, 2004 at 12:54 pm #

    Alias is just started on the second season here. And I have followed every single episode so far. I have taken that decision, that I will try to stay spoiler free and only follow the show on Danish tv, so no downloads. Which have the further advantage that I can also discuss it with my brother.
    About Will, I took a look at some old US discussions of season one and thing that perplexed me, was that a lot people disliked Will and found him to cowardly. Which I still find strange, because I know with myself, that I would be far less brave if I was in same situation as Will.
    About Rambaldi, I have my little pet theory. If Rambaldi was a time traveller, yes it is far out, but it could explain why Rambaldi have the technologic knowledge. But having that knowledge, even for a genius. Would it be rather limited on what technologic level he could attain in 15/16 th century. And further more does he have detail information about Sydney and her family. So we need a genius, with knowledge about Sydney. That answer seems obvious, when you think about it. Rambaldi == Marshall, furthermore both names is eight character in length., coincidence!?
    🙂

  12. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 1:04 pm #

    As I mentioned in my post, the Rambaldi thing might thave worked for me if time travel were already part of the Alias universe, but they have never mentioned time travel, much less established it as a real possibility in that television show’s universe. So it doesn’t work for me that Rambaldi did what he did because he traveled to the 21st century or someone traveled back to him.
    I’m half way through season 2 on DVD, and though I know there are new episodes playing on my TV, I’m not going to watch them. I want to see things from start to finish, without being spoiled. So I’ll have to wait for the season 3 DVDs to come out before I know half the stuff other LJers are talking about!

  13. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 1:07 pm #

    Rambaldi == Marshall
    That theory, on the other hand, I’ll buy, as long as Marshall/Rambaldi isn’t a time traveler or a guy who lived 500 years ago. I’ll buy that Marshall is secretly Rambaldi if he’s just a 21st century mad genius pulling a hoax to make it look like he lived 500 years ago.

  14. ponygirl2000 January 8, 2004 at 1:52 pm #

    This kind of real-world connection allows me to think, “Underneath all this drab, dreary mundanity and pain is a fantastic world full of excitement and magic.” All I need is the right book/movie/TV show to reveal what’s hidden all around me.
    I really like your ideas about the character of invitation. I haven’t seen a lot of Alias s1 – started watching in s2 – but I do agree about the Rambaldi hate. Finding out that Syd herself is somehow linked to all these prophecies was a big “yeah right” moment for me with the series. I felt the same way I did when the X-files revealed that Mulder’s father was involved the conspiracy – all along I’d though I was watching the ordinary man deal with the hidden world when actually it was the prince coming into his own. Not always a bad thing but a bit more distancing – as though the Character of Invitation suddenly had a door policy.
    Must dash, hope this made sense.

  15. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 2:02 pm #

    Alias and the X-Files
    I felt the same way I did when the X-files revealed that Mulder’s father was involved the conspiracy – all along I’d though I was watching the ordinary man deal with the hidden world when actually it was the prince coming into his own. Not always a bad thing but a bit more distancing – as though the Character of Invitation suddenly had a door policy.
    I do see what you mean. It would be as if Will discovered he had some connection of his own to the Spy world, one beyond Sydney. I like that he is an ordinary guy who never would have been caught up in this if he hadn’t pursued the story of Danny’s death. If he discovered he was Sloan’s long-lost bastard son or something like that, I would be disappointed.
    I didn’t have that same reaction with Mulder, though, because I think his connection to the conspiracy was foreshadowed, and so not as much of a surprise. Mulder wasn’t just a bright FBI agent who happened upon the X-Files. He was primed for it because of what happened to his sister, which I guess could have been an unrelated incident from his childhood, but which was in fact a key moment in the conspiracy.
    I suppose one reason for my lack of disappointment in the case of Mulder is he never was the Character of Invitation on the X-Files. He was one of the Players (like Sydney on Alias). Agent Scully was the Character of Invitation. She came on the show representing the mundane un-magical world we all live in. She embodied it. Agent Mulder (like Sydney on Alias) is the larger-then-life Guide who takes the Character of Invitation by the hand and leads them into the hidden fantastic world that they are already and innately a part of.
    Scully resists Mulder’s interpretation of things for a long time, challenges them, and that makes the story work even better, because viewers like myself want to be convinced that this magical world exists, we don’t want to simply accept it. Being skeptical and wanting evidence makes the fantastic world that much more real when the evidence appears.

  16. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 2:04 pm #

    Cool icon, BTW
    Me big Roswell fan, in a guilty-pleasure kind of way!
    And you can guess who the Character of Invitation was on that show!

  17. deevalish January 8, 2004 at 4:13 pm #

    Love Alias! Love Spy Family!! Just the fact that the whole family is in on it is just delicious. I’ve liked Will from the beginning. The outside character who goes “in”. I never really warmed up to Vaughn and I like him even less now. Sydney is just so kick ass and coll about everything, that the moments where she does act “human” makes it even more so.
    I’m wondering what happened to Jack and Irina inthe two years that Sydney was gone? Did Irina just decide one day to branch out on her own again? Did she know that (just as Jack had a notion) Sydney might not really be dead?
    I’ve pretty much watched every episode except for 2 eps in the first season, or was it the second? They were the ones that dealt with Syd’s old boyfriend, the Iceman. Anyway, I could do without the Rambaldi drivel. It feels too “wild” or something like that. The spy situations are what I tune in for. That and pretty girls kickin’ some ass! They really should get what’s-her-name “Jasmine” from Angel (and in Firefly) to come back as Anna Espinoza. Now that would be kick ass!

  18. shadowkat67 January 8, 2004 at 4:27 pm #

    Agree with much that you say here
    What I liked about Alias was the inter-relationships between Sydney and her surrogate/evil father Sloan, true father Jack, wayward mother, Irina, and her friends Will and Francie.
    Will from the start of the series was my “favorite”. I love the actor and I adored the character. Often I found myself watching to just to see how his arc got resolved and what happened with him next. And since I wasn’t online – it never occurred to me that others didn’t like him. 😉 In a way it’s almost better to watch a show without discussing it with people online – your opinions don’t get influenced by others. And I have a record of loving characters others hate or don’t like apparently.
    What I liked about Will was that his entry into the spy world is so realistic – he romanticizes it at first – only to discover how horrible it is. I’m not sure how far you are so won’t spoil you. But the Will arc on Alias is amongst my favorites.
    I also agree on Rambaldi – my difficulties with the show started with that, the show started as somewhat realistic, definite rules, after Rambaldi got introduced? The rules seem to have melted away and anything goes. While this can be fun at times, it is a risky gambit to break an audience’s suspension of disbelief in a fantasy show, they already are suspending it after all. You want the audience to worry about the characters, to fear for them, to be invested in their journey – if you introduce information which causes the audience to question the realistic quality of the characters actions – ie, they’d never do that. Or question the environment/reality the characters live in? Then you lose me – b/c I’m so distracted by trying to make the story being told work, that I no longer see it. I think that’s the flaw in the later seasons of Alias. In many ways I preferred S1-part of 2, over the current season.

  19. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 4:33 pm #

    I’m wondering what happened to Jack and Irina inthe two years that Sydney was gone? Did Irina just decide one day to branch out on her own again? Did she know that (just as Jack had a notion) Sydney might not really be dead?
    THis makes no sense to me, so I’m thinking it has to do with late season 2 season 3 stuff i know nothing about.
    They were the ones that dealt with Syd’s old boyfriend, the Iceman.
    This was boring stuff with some minimal plot advancement involved, and also some a little angst-to-the-heroine involved. You didn’t miss much.
    I’m blase’ on Vaugn myself. I see him there as someone who cares about Sydney and sends her out on her missions with that care in mind (unlike Sloan and that guy who runs Langley), but other than that, I don’t think about him much.
    They really should get what’s-her-name “Jasmine” from Angel (and in Firefly) to come back as Anna Espinoza.
    I didn’t think much about her, either, because she was sort of two-dimensional. They say she’s Cuban with some left-over communist-era loyalties, but why is she working for the organization that she’s working for? What motivates her? She didn’t make a good foil, IMO, because I didn’t know enough about her.

  20. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 4:41 pm #

    Re: Agree with much that you say here
    And since I wasn’t online – it never occurred to me that others didn’t like him. 😉 In a way it’s almost better to watch a show without discussing it with people online – your opinions don’t get influenced by others.
    I’m so with you on this. Although being on the ATPo board has enriched my experiences of those two shows, there are a lot of attitudes and ideas that I don’t like and could have just as soon have skipped. I realized this when I came over to LJ and saw things about other fandoms that I’d missed because I didn’t go online to talk to other fans about those shows, like the Dukat Apologists on DSN. SOooo glad I missed that crap! I enjoy liking who I like, not liking who I don’t like, and being neutral about who I’m neutral about without others judging me or wanting me to change my mind to suit their preferences.
    Sorry to hear the Rambaldi stuff continues into season 3 and is still part of the show’s universe. What has helped me deal with it is not only pretending that Rambaldi is actually a 21st century guy, but also seeing Syd’s incredulity about it. She doesn’t want to believe in the prophecies and other silliness, and so I don’t have to either.
    Unless, of course, it becomes canon on the show that he really is 500 years old, and then I’m closing my eyes and plugging my ears and singing “la la la” until Syd starts beating someone fun up.

  21. Anonymous January 8, 2004 at 6:19 pm #

    Hi Masq: Just found your LJ and I am pleased that you are enjoying Alias as I have for the last three seasons. You might enjoy reading Zerosum’s reviews of the episodes. They are around on several Alias boards. I just google when I want to reread. He hasn’t done any since last season but they are excellent. I also post at ATPO occasionally. Have done more in the last twenty four with the rewrits of the songs for such complelling fan-fic. Anyway, great LJ. Have a nice day. Ann

  22. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 7:22 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by!
    And I enjoyed your songs on ATPo!

  23. shadowkat67 January 8, 2004 at 9:59 pm #

    Re: Agree with much that you say here
    Unless, of course, it becomes canon on the show that he really is 500 years old, and then I’m closing my eyes and plugging my ears and singing “la la la” until Syd starts beating someone fun up.
    That’s how I dealt with it. Although I did have to explain it and the third season final (or was it the second? which season are we on?) to a friend, so clearly I didn’t completely ignore it. Alias is such a combo of episodic/serial that you can ignore Rambaldi without too much trouble. Also keep in mind JJ Abrahms storytelling style is to literally re-structure his story every so often. He’ll tear it apart, change it, and make it into something new while keeping the characters and environment basically the same. It’s sort of fun to watch and makes Alias unpredictable.
    I enjoy liking who I like, not liking who I don’t like, and being neutral about who I’m neutral about without others judging me or wanting me to change my mind to suit their preferences.
    Yep, this is one of the reasons I came to livejournal – I can be more choosy about what I read. It’s also why I like the cherry picking format of Atpo, you can read a post and ignore others. At this point, I know who likes who and what they’ll post on. So if someone is going to post a negative rant on a character I like? I can avoid it.
    Just read a “chud” review on Firefly and BTVS DVDs on whedonesque, I completely disagreed with the reviewer. But I knew I would from other reviews they’d done. We don’t have the same tastes or interests. Sort of gotten used to having different interests from people – I was begging a friend of mine to watch Angel next week (she’s being surveyed as a Neilsen audience that week), even though I know she doesn’t like Angel – prefers Smallville, Enterprise and Everwood. Also a huge Seventh Heaven fan – she found it comforting. She doesn’t for the life of her understand what I see in ATs or why I feel the need to analyze it. She didn’t get my BTVS interest either. And until I gave her proof, insisted that both shows were mainly watched by teenagers. I on the other hand can’t for the life of me understand what she sees in Seventh Heaven. We do have other interests in common though and tend to focus on those. I think, what lots of people forget online, is that our tastes are bound to differ and instead of trying to persuade someone to change theirs…just accept it and move on. Easier said then done regarding some posts and posters…unfortunately. But all the wonderful people I’ve met online and posts I’ve seen do make up for those few skirmishes or frustrations, so all in all? I don’t regret going online to watch the shows, even when it occassionally makes me wonder if I’ve lost it. 😉

  24. neshaffer January 8, 2004 at 10:06 pm #

    Re: Agree with much that you say here
    But all the wonderful people I’ve met online and posts I’ve seen do make up for those few skirmishes or frustrations, so all in all? I don’t regret going online to watch the shows, even when it occassionally makes me wonder if I’ve lost it. 😉

    I wouldn’t give up my on-line friends, either, or the experience I’ve had doing the ATPo site and hosting the board. Althought all of it–fandom, webmistressing, posting–is a challenge!

  25. oyceter January 8, 2004 at 11:36 pm #

    Really? I always got the impression that Will was one of the popular characters! Huh… That’s probably because he annoys me ;).

  26. neshaffer January 9, 2004 at 6:43 am #

    Oh, Will is a little annoying
    But I often find myself drawn to the annoying characters. ; )

  27. herewiss13 January 9, 2004 at 12:43 pm #

    Very interesting thoughts. I especially like the idea of the “Character of Invitation”. Extremely applicable across the board.
    Mainly, though, I’m posting to say that I don’t have a problem with Rambaldi. On a mundane level, I just like things stranger than a straight CIA drama would have offered. On a meta level, Rambaldi represents all those things that are on the fringe of the fringe (where Alias lives). He’s Area 51 material, which is swallowable due to the existence of so many uber-secretive, uber-strange black-ops organizations already established by the show. The reason the whole idea seems foreign is that we don’t yet have a character of invitation to Rambaldi (or rather, Sydney _will_ be the CoI, but we don’t have a guide yet, just puzzle pieces seeming to lead toward a whole).
    Obviously whatever Rambaldi is isn’t established within the universe. Then he wouldn’t be a mystery. He’s not just an impossible 15th century man, he’s an impossible 21st century man because some of his inventions, etc. aren’t possible with _our_ technology. So Time Traveler/Alien makes more sense than mystic/seer…which then fits nicely into unknown “Weirdo Science” rather than “magic”. “Weirdo Science” can be accomodated by this universe, with its many secretive and obscure R&D Projects (mind control, etc. SEE: Area 51 again ;-)).
    And on the most pragmatic level, Rambaldi’s a MacGuffin. If he didn’t exist, what would Sydney spend a year and half chasing after? Real-world problems would just tie Alias down to, well, the real world. By using Rambaldi, both Sydney and her opponents hover over the actual socio-political landscape, pursuing their goals without being bogged down in real foreign issues, being able to utilize or ignore real-world nations or policies as they choose.
    It’s a bit like the West Wing inventing the country of “Qumar” and then using it for all the Middle East policies, etc. that it wants to criticize or change without needing to be interfere in other precise real-world relationships with places like Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It gives them an out. Rimbaldi is like that for Alias only much, much more so.

  28. oyceter January 9, 2004 at 7:05 pm #

    Re: Oh, Will is a little annoying
    ^_^.
    I’ve definitely heard lots of “guhs” on LJ for Will appearances, though, so that bodes well! Well, at least better than Connor =(.
    I dunno.. in general, I like Alias, but I have problems with it, writing-wise, and I’ve found I like the older people, but not Sydney’s peers or even Sydney that well.

  29. neshaffer January 9, 2004 at 10:44 pm #

    oooh! I like the older characters, too
    I lust after Irina Derevko. And I’m big Jack/Irina ‘shipper!

  30. neshaffer January 10, 2004 at 9:20 am #

    A MacGuffin is as a MacGuffin does
    A MacGuffin does not have to be as over the top as the Rambaldi thing is. For example, Rambaldi could be a 21st century mad genius instead of a 16th century one. Still a bit implausible, but not nearly as so.
    I’m just going to have to accept that the producers of Alias do not mean for it to be perceived as a serious spy show. Besides Rambaldi, there are a lot of over-the-top technologies, like the ability to change people’s bodies and appearance by altering their genes. Current genetics is not nearly at that point. That kind of technological know-how is, at best 50-100 years in the future. And there are similar examples.
    It bugs me mainly because the show seems to strive for realism and authenticity on so many other levels.
    *Alas*, “Alias” is a fantasy show, and means to be.

  31. oyceter January 10, 2004 at 9:03 pm #

    Re: oooh! I like the older characters, too
    Irina Derevko is the … the … sigh, can’t think of a word good enough ;). She’s one of those kick ass women characters that I absolutely love. And I love the prickly, weird, not quite trusting Irina/Jack relationship and the Irina and Sydney relationship!! I love the entire family dynamic to pieces.

  32. neshaffer January 10, 2004 at 9:32 pm #

    Me too!
    I love the entire family dynamic to pieces

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Original fiction project – week of 7/26/2009 « Infinite Doorways - May 14, 2012

    […] This particular program asks you to concentrate on only three pov characters, which is a challenge for me, ’cause I like to have a whole cast of characters who all get their own pov moments in a novel. I do that because different pov’s of the same event or person is one of themes that interests me. But when I was doing all my world-building in the first half of this year, my cast of characters just started to expand on me, and I needed to rein that in. Also, because of the way I want to handle the supernatural in this new story, I think it serves the story to concentrate on just a few of the characters, specifically, the ones that are clueless about the supernatural, who will then become my characters of invitation. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: