Alias is a Television series that originally aired in the U.S. on ABC at Sundays at 9:00 PM Eastern Time but is now on Wednesdays after Lost. I believe it also airs on CTV in Canada at the same time, but could easily be wrong/out of date. I know nothing about the rest of the world. Warning, there may be some spoilers for season one below. I'm only going to talk about season one because A. I'm lazy and don't feel like updating it, B. I've got a girlfriend and a job and sleep and so on and don't have time to update it, but mainly C. it's a somewhat involved show that people will best enjoy if they watch from the start and work forward. Rent the DVDs ok?
It's a show with several layers. On the surface it's an action oriented spy thriller. Each week the main character Sydney Bristow goes out on a dangerous mission for SD-6. When she was recruited into SD-6 she believed it to be a secret division of the CIA, in truth it was one of a number of private for-profit espionage groups operating around the world. Now she knows the truth, and each time she does a mission for SD-6 she also does a counter-mission for the CIA. During the first season the show made heavy use of the cliffhanger. Each episode literally left you hanging with about 10 minutes of story that would begin the next episode. To make the show more accessible the network has cut down on that during the latter part of season 1 and in season 2.
Beneath that outer layer of story you are left with Sydney's relationships with the people around her. She has to deceive her SD-6 partner Marcus Dixon, who believes he is working for the U.S. government. She obviously cannot tell her friends what she does for a living, instead allowing them to believe her cover, that she works for an international bank. She definately has deep feelings for one of her friends, a now ex-journalist Will Tippin, and also for her CIA handler Michael Vaughn. She has a complex relationship with her father, they were never close while she was growing up and Sydney only finds out at the beginning of first season that he is also a spy. He is already a double agent within SD-6 working for the CIA.
The final element of the show is an over-arcing plot concentrating on a set of artifacts from an artist, architect, and prophet who lived many centuries ago. This storyline was in the very first episode, though that won't be obvious for some time. This man, Milo Giacomo Rambaldi, was a prophet greater then Nostradamus. Rambaldi was able to see the future in such detail that he was able to use specific part numbers of items being manufactured today within his designs. He used encryption, compression, and chemical reactions to hide his messages in a variety of subtle means. Each organization among the privatized espionage groups in the world of Alias is after these works for whatever fruits they may bare. This part of the show continues on through the later seasons when many other story elements reach closure.
These elements overlap with each other with fluid ease, creating an excellent show. Exciting to watch, sometimes heartfelt, and always leaving you wanting more.