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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

May 01, 2006

Oh Mia oh my

So. Alias season 4 was something of a slow burn compared to previous seasons, but I have to say, when it got going, it was fucking excellent. You've got to admire the courage of the people who decide to build so many twists and turns into what was essentially one long story with a stupendous climax.

It's usually the case with long-running series that compromises start being made with the storylines in order to satisfy the networks. For example, Hill Street Blues changed, after its first season, when Bochco promised that at least one story would resolve itself - from beginning to end - in each episode.

And you'd expect with a complex entity such as Alias that they'd get even more insistent about this kind of thing, but you have to say that the reason Season 4 took so long to get going was that they were putting things in place that didn't pay off till much later on. And the whole season finished on the most outrageous cliffhanger, it made me laugh out loud.

Extras provided on the DVD were good, too, and give quite a lot of insight into how tough television production is, and how far they make their budget stretch. The insight that a Californian horse racing track doubled as both Cuba and Berlin for one episode makes you realise just how far you suspend disbelief in a typical episode. Yeah, stick someone in a vintage car and have them speak Spanish: it's Havana.

They showed how a couple of the scenes were composited. The fight scene on a train in the first episode, and a rooftop helicopter rescue. With CGI, they can do anything - never forget it. But the really amazing thing is the tight schedule and the lack of a script, a lot of the time. The writers sit around and plan the story, and then they mark it all up on a whiteboard, and then they break it down into a shooting script that they obviously change from day to day. And all the actors have to do is keep a straight face...

...The blooper reel, as with all Alias DVDs, is ace.

But that's not what I came here to say. I just wanted to introduce you to my new secret girlfriend, Mia Maestro. Can you spell g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s? So my type. I can't tell you how much she is my type. She looks quite like my wife, in fact. And it's great, because she plays Jennifer Garner's sister, and she's in it a lot. Every scene she's in, she lights up the screen. And she was just 4 years old when the Argies invaded the Faulkland Islands, so cannot be held too responsible for that. This time, it's love.


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