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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Speak From The Geek In Chief: Will Alias Finally Garner Some Serious Ratings?

You may not have heard: Alias returns to TV tonight (OK, maybe you saw one of the four hundred promos an hour ABC seems to be running). Its mission: to finally capture high ratings, to help ABC continue its remarkable comeback, and to set new sales records for hot-pink wigs.

The network hopes the drama can finally fulfill its ratings potential. To this point, success has eluded this taut, sexy, well-produced thriller. ABC has tried post-Superbowl scheduling. They've tried radical cliffhanger endings. And short of pasties and a fig leaf, they've put Jennifer Garner's Syndey Bristow in just about every skimpy outfit imaginable. But nothing has yet been able to put Alias over the hump.

This year, ABC is trying something different. Their intel correctly tells them that serialized dramas don't repeat well, so they've saved Alias until midseason so it can air its entire 22 episode run uninterrupted (Fox's 24 and ABC's NYPD Blue are trying similar strategies). This, along with a plum lead-in from creator J>J> Abrams' younger (and much more successful) child Lost, has undoubtedly set the expectations as high as they've ever been.

There will be no more excuses: Lost will hand Alias a large audience, and its prime time slot competition will be NBC's fading The West Wing. Provided that the show’s quality remains high, and the writers don't once again dumb down the storylines in an attempt to capture a "mass audience" (many hard core fans considered season two’s sudden dismantling of SD-6 a copout), Alias should finally succeed. If it doesn't, however, it could be the final mission for Bristow and company.

Both on screen and off, it will be a mission worth watching. I'll be ready for the debrief at season's end.

Speak From The Geek In Chief appears every Wednesday.

Relevant links:
ABC's Official Alias site
Alias-TV.com (fan site)
SpoilerFix: Alias spoilers

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