Before Jennifer Garner starred in major movies and J.J. Abrams was one of Hollywood’s biggest power players, the duo teamed up to make the TV show Alias. Created by Abrams, it starred Garner as a super-spy and developed quite a passionate cult following.
While the show was largely revered by its fan base during its run, the show’s third season wasn’t quite as beloved as some of the others. What many fans may not realize, however, is that Abrams didn’t care for that season of the show either.
The plot of ‘Alias’ season three
Alias was a popular spy drama that aired on ABC for five seasons. It introduced Garner to a mass audience, showcasing her talent in a way that led to even bigger roles in films for years to come.
According to Fandom, Alias’s third season aired during the 2003-2004 TV season. It begins with Garner’s Sydney Bristow believed to be dead, though it’s revealed that she’s actually been abducted by a terrorist organization known as The Covenant. Her main antagonist is National Security Council agent Lauren Reed, who viewers come to find out is a member of The Covenant. She also discovers that she has a half-sister named Nadia.
At the culmination of the season, Sydney does battle with Lauren, only for her handler, Michael Vaughn, to intervene to save Sydney. Before dying, Lauren provides Sydney with a safety deposit box combination that will reveal information about her past.
J.J. Abrams hated season three of ‘Alias’ as much as everyone else
TV shows tend to go through peaks and valleys, particularly when it’s on for more than a season or two. Season three isn’t one of the more popular Alias seasons – for example, its Rotten Tomatoes score among critics was 83% compared to 89% the season before. So not everyone liked it quite as much as what came before it.
One critic put it rather harshly:
“Even when Season Four desperately tries to return the show to first principles, Season Three does damage that, in truth, Alias will never manage to recover from.”
It’s clear that many people thought the show took a step back during this season. One of those people included Abrams. In an interview with USA Today going into the show’s fourth season, Abrams revealed that he too didn’t care for the show’s third season. According to Abrams, it was a matter of focusing on plot over character development.
“We weren’t as true to the characters. They became pawns in a plot-driven story.”
Of course, this didn’t hurt the show too much. It had two more seasons on the air. As far as Abrams went, he did fine after the show ended as well.
What J.J. Abrams has done since ‘Alias’
It’s safe to say that things have worked out quite well for Abrams since Alias. He was one of the executive producers behind another successful ABC show, Lost. His impact on movies has been even more significant.
Abrams’ IMDb page represents a litany of successful projects that have scored big at the box office. He produced 2008’s Cloverfield. He directed Mission: Impossible III. He was in the director’s chair for two Star Trek and Star Wars films – the two most popular and profitable sci-fi properties in entertainment.
Say what you want about Alias and its third season – while the show was popular, the third season didn’t resonate as much with fans. But there’s no denying that the work Abrams did there helped lay the groundwork for what’s been an ultra-successful career in Hollywood. One bad season of a show doesn’t erase a lifetime of popular work.
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