I am here to engage your mind and introduce you to various ideas related to the writing and making of ABC’s Alias. Today class, we will be focusing on one literary term that may shed some light on the unbelievable world of international espionage.
How is it that a television show like Alias, clad with jet-legged cross country flights, suited with government corruption, 15th century prophets and giant floating red balls, hasn’t been laughed off the TV screen? It’s called suspension of disbelief. Suspension of what, you say? Suspension of disbelief. According to my literary dictionary, suspension of disbelief is a willingness of a reader or viewer to suspend his or her critical faculties to the extent of ignoring minor inconsistencies so as to enjoy a work of fiction.
Suspension of disbelief is generally used to pass off low-budget "cheesy" props and occasional plotholes, in order to fully engage with an enjoyable story – which may be the more so for those additions to its inherent outrageousness. Alias counts on our suspension of disbelief. It is important that we believe that as black-op CIA agents, Sydney and the gang can do whatever, whenever, however they want. They have unlimited resources, knowledge and means; they can land an injured plane unscathed, they can destroy a big red ball, anyone and everyone can escape CIA custody with Jack's help, and they can fake death, cheat death and cause death with one or more of Marshall’s little next-gen inventions. Part of the wonder of Alias is being able to let go of all logical and rational thought and emerge ourselves in the bizarre and ultra-secret functions of a world that is unknown to us.
As viewers, we have to operate under the assumption that Sydney can and will find a cure for Vaughn’s bloody fingernails, or that Marshall will come through and find the grave before Sydney takes her last breath. We have come to beleive that SpyDaddy will stop at nothing to save his daughter’s life (even if it means killing her mother or faking her fiancés death.) The writers are depending on our ability to ignore reason and grasp the idea of Sydney maneuvering her way through the dark criminal underworld while carrying a child, and that whoever has been frozen (I am leaning toward Renee's father now) will thaw out and give APO a run for their money.
So, let us continue to suspend our disbelief; I have a feeling it will need to be stretched and skewed this season. Let us rely on what we do know about Alias; nothing is as it seems, there are dangers we can’t even begin to fathom and good always wins over evil, ultimately.