• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 30, 2001
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Mar 15, 2013
    40
    Though there are surprises and crosses and double-crosses in the show's waning minutes, Alias fails to make me care much about its characters, their future or understanding who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. "La Femme Nikita" kept these mysteries beguiling in its early seasons; Alias can't manage to do that in its first episode. [30 Sept 2001, p.TV-5]
  2. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Mar 14, 2013
    90
    Can Alias work on a weekly basis? While the Alias pilot plunges forward effortlessly, it also leads to some fairly complicated twists involving Sydney's father (Victor Garber) and the nature of her agency. These twists could make future episodes overly layered, or too dependent on backstory. Also, any CIA suspense series, with or without a flashy pilot, faces the challenge of coming up with 20 or so fresh espionage plots each season - no easy task.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 14, 2013
    88
    Hip, bright and done with a great deal of flair, Alias is like some candy-colored -- and very violent -- comic book come to life.
  4. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 14, 2013
    100
    The joy of this series really comes down to two things: lots of action and some babelicious butt-kicking. Not something to be proud of for enjoying it, but true. Pass the chips and ale -- and down in front!
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 14, 2013
    100
    The whole show is complicated in a fun, brain-teasing way, and having seen the second episode, I can say it only gets funner. I know that's not a word, but I'm saying it anyway.
  6. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jun 28, 2013
    80
    An improbable, heart-pounding and-tugging mix of fantastical '60s spy chic and emotionally realistic drama ... Ridiculous, over the top but unashamed, it manages to thrill and win our hearts.
  7. Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Mar 15, 2013
    10
    At first glance, Alias appears to be unadulterated garbage. But then you start noticing all the adulterations...Nothing is as it seems except for the fact that this seems like a lousy show and it is one. [29 Sept 2001, p.C01]
  8. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Mar 15, 2013
    90
    One of the best new series of the season. [30 Sept 2001, p.H01]
  9. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Mar 15, 2013
    80
    Abrams directs stunning action scenes, and he develops a shadowy world of long-term potential. Garner manages to keep the show involving in the sillier moments, such as when Sydney dyes her hair loud red and goes off to settle scores single-handedly...Garner plays this conflicted heroine with poignancy and grit. [30 Sept 2001, p.4]
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Mar 15, 2013
    90
    The stylish, fast-moving series premiere is filled with surprising twists, witty repartee and some revved-up, well-choreographed action sequences. But the real star of Alias is, well, the star: athletic Jennifer Garner, who portrays Sydney with intelligence and graceful, hard-bodied charisma. [29 Sept 2001]
  11. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Mar 15, 2013
    80
    Somehow it works, thanks in part to a tangled intrigue that pulls this lowly matriculator into a conspiracy of the highest order. [29 Sept 2001, p.E1]
  12. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 27, 2013
    75
    Garner has an appeal that transcends implausibility.
  13. One of the best pilots from a new show this season -- a wild, stylish ride through Sydney Bristow's unraveling life. You have to suspend disbelief, but this series promises to be one nifty piece of entertainment. [28 Sept 2001, p.5E]
  14. Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Mar 15, 2013
    100
    Alias is one of the most non-linear and illogical pilots I have ever seen. It's also one of the most exciting television rides I've had in years. I love its energy. The breathless, roller-coaster montage of movement, color, action and emotion never quits. [29 Sept 2001, p.1D]
  15. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Mar 15, 2013
    100
    Sunday's premiere delivers spectacular fun with great style edged in melancholy, its balance of breathless action and tenderness providing still more evidence of this fall's crop of new shows being the best in years. [29 Sept 2001, p.16]
  16. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Mar 14, 2013
    80
    Alias is so captivating because the actors and the writers make you believe in the characters, the situations and the jeopardy. There's a lot of humor, too, in both the romantic relationship and the James Bond-style spy gadgetry. And there are plenty of surprising turns. [28 Sept 2001, p.149]
  17. Reviewed by: Scott D. Pierce
    Mar 14, 2013
    90
    Sunday's Alias premiere plays out as a high-energy adventure wrapped in a mystery -- and it's better than a lot of theatrical films of the genre. Whether the series holds up is open to question. But the premiere is a gas. And the show could well turn out to be a good one. [28 Sept 2001, p.C08]
  18. Reviewed by: Adam Buckman
    Mar 15, 2013
    0
    For me, the problem really is casting. Next time one of these shows gets developed, I hope producers will resist the temptation to cast one of these skinny little pouty actresses in these commando-type roles.
  19. Reviewed by: Phil Rosenthal
    Mar 14, 2013
    75
    As realistic a series as you're bound to see in which a beautiful, smart, athletic and resourceful young woman moonlights for an ultrasecret wing of the Central Intelligence Agency in between her grad school studies. [28 Sept 2001, p.48]
  20. Reviewed by: Ann Hodges
    Mar 15, 2013
    80
    It's a taut, action-filled opener, and Garner's charisma and agility in this demanding role give it a special glow. If America's in the mood at all for spies and terrorists, this show's the semi-Superwoman version. [29 Sept 2001, p.9]
  21. Reviewed by: Phil Gallo
    Mar 14, 2013
    70
    Garner played Felicity's new friend in that series' first two years, and here she replaces character's earnestness with ferocity, confusion and concealed pain. She plays the more human side with aplomb, but gets stuck in fight scenes that are so stagy one can count out the steps.
  22. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 15, 2013
    80
    Yes, it's a ridiculous notion, but it's also a lot of stylish fun. [29 Sept 2001, p.1E]
  23. Reviewed by: Amy Amatangelo
    Mar 15, 2013
    90
    Alias is one of those rare action dramas where all the elements - plot, characters, production design, costumes, soundtrack and performances - come together to form one perfect hour of television. [30 Sept 2001, p.56]
  24. Reviewed by: Preston Turegano
    Mar 15, 2013
    37
    Often violent and brutal (Sydney packs one mean karate kick and knows how to use a dentist's pliers effectively), Alias is a jumbled, cliche-ladened offering. Not only is it laced with hip, mellow, contemporary songs a la "Felicity," it also has guitar chords reminiscent of the James Bond 007 theme, and a musical segment inspired by the theme to "Shaft." [30 Sept 2001, p.TV-6]
  25. Reviewed by: Manuel Mendoza
    Mar 15, 2013
    67
    The intermittent blare of pop songs, telegraphing how the audience should feel, also breaks the fourth wall, undermining the power of the action sequences and the few poignant scenes between Sydney and her in-the-dark boyfriend (Edward Atterton). [30 Sept 2001, p.9C]
  26. Mar 15, 2013
    50
    Alias suffers from a split personality. It's half John LeCarre, half comic book. In the field, Sydney, who looks about as formidable as your average Vogue cover girl, becomes a spike-heeled super-spy who shoots and karate-kicks her way through a horde of terrorist storm troopers as if they were targets in a video game. She's preposterous, and so is half the show. But viewers who just want to see bad guys die may not mind.
  27. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Mar 15, 2013
    90
    Great fun. Leave your brain in neutral and enjoy the zany ride. When the twisting and turning are over, the briskly paced and visually intriguing Alias glides home as solid escapist fare. Don't ask questions. If logic gets in the way, this material will start unraveling like the proverbial cheap suit. Yet, while comic-bookish and derivative, Alias emerges as a winner because it shrewdly assembles bits and pieces of "La Femme Nikita" and other espionage thrillers. There's even a little "X-Files" trust-no-one paranoia thrown in for good measure. [29 Sept 2001, p.6]
  28. Reviewed by: Julie Salamon
    Mar 15, 2013
    60
    There's plenty of espionage action and kick-boxing but little concern for political authenticity. The appeal rests in the heroine, played by Jennifer Garner with an attractive combination of vulnerability and entrepreneurial self-protectiveness. This lively piece of entertainment is too cartoonish to feel threatening.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Jun 28, 2013
    9
    Alias seems to not have received enough credit. It is continuously captivating, though I will not make the claim that its consistent. It on the contrary, continuously has these crazy twists (that are sometimes ridiculous) and after 5 seasons of running after the same guy you never really come to care about, I can understand the complaints people have; however, I think the show has gripping individual stories and is still able to preserve so much mystery, suspense and drama in every episode. Spy shows claiming to be more "realistic" have come out since Alias last aired, but this "spy-fi" show stands its own ground rather well. Full Review »
  2. May 20, 2013
    5
    Convoluted plot that makes the story progression ridiculous to follow and prevents any real depth or structure to most of the characters.

    But the camera work is good, the action scenes are effective and fun, and the dialogues are not bad.

    So if you like spies, double spies, triple spies and have an extremly disfunctional family, maybe you can relate to this show.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 1, 2012
    10
    "Alias" is one of my favorite shows. Spy shows are usually a dime a dozen, but the difference with "Alias" is that 1) each episode ends with a cliff-hanger, 2) is features consistently sharp writing, and 3) the characters are always relatable. Sure, there might be a bit too much action once in a while, but the show in always thrilling and dependable. The cast gives great performances and Jennifer Garner as the beautiful protagonist is perfect. Full Review »