Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Commentary: The ALIAS Legacy
Taken from the comments in our last article, this excellent post was written by blogger Robetron. - SRM
It's a shame, but ALIAS is far enough in the past that people forget it was ALIAS that ushered in a new era of television action-drama. Before Alias (officially, "BA") nothing was AS well written, well produced, and well acted while so crammed full of movie-style action.
Now it's been a while since the show-creators have figured out what works, and they have all borrowed from ALIAS (which, of course, borrowed extensively from other, lesser-quality productions).
From The Unit to 24, from LOST to BSG, from Chuck to Nikita, and a dozen others, it was ALIAS that open the eyes of TV watchers to realize that great TV doesn't have to compromise quality.
(Perhaps, that is one of the more disappointing aspects of the way it all ended - everyone was looking at ALIAS as the gold-standard for high quality TV, and then they pooch-kicked the game winning field goal try.)
Sure, there were some good precursors like Buffy, Angel, and Firefly (though, I think Firefly was during the ALIAS run). But they were very genre-specific in their appeal. People woke up to good TV about the same time they woke up to the many realizations that came with 9-11-2001.
There have been good dramas also, like The Practice in the era of BA. But nothing combined story, acting, character development, and tons of action balancing it all on a razors edge until ALIAS.
But that's the past. There is a whole new generation being raised to enjoy the benefits of ALIAS' pioneering, but without an appreciation for its efforts. It's a history-repeating problem that has continued since time immemorial.
You think there is a single 16 year old today who knows what the world was like pre- 9/11? Do you remember what life was like pre-"60's revolution"? (Shhh, don't answer, Uncle. I'm making a point).
Do we have any idea what the sacrifices were and how people generally conducted themselves pre-Great War? How can we possibly appreciate a country won by defeating the greatest military on the face of the planet in the Revolutionary War when we cannot even appreciate what an innovative program like ALIAS has done for TV watching in the last 5 years?
The year 2001 has been shaping our social conscience ever since in a multitude of ways, not the least of which is the effect ALIAS has had on how TV is made and watched to this present date.
Yes, I made those historic comparisons a little tongue-in-cheek, but the truth of the matter is that ALIAS changed things, and those changes continue til today.
So... uh, what great program will be dissed and placed on the chopping block this week?