Ten Memorable Characters – Sydney Bristow

Sidney Bristow – The femme fatale. The brown/red/blue/blonde haired CIA agent that redefined the very nature of how female leads are portrayed on television is without question one of the strongest characters on television today. While the reputation of Alias has fallen dramatically over the last couple of seasons, Jennifer Garner’s strong portrayal of Sidney managed to get the ABC hit enough of a fan reaction to make it one of the network’s best debuts.

We cried with Sidney when her fiancé was killed…both times.

We believe the ‘mountaineer’ whenever she is on a fantastic mission impossible because her character normalizes the paranormal.

If there was any doubt that she was (and is) one of the most memorable characters on television, that was erased in the current season of the show as a pregnant Jennifer Garner had her impending delivery written into Sidney Bristow’s storyline. While she certainly is suspended from participating in the general ass-kickery that we have grown accustomed to (at least temporarily), she still is featured in every episode and it is her arc that define everyone else’s. From her father Jack’s, to Marshall’s to Dixon’s to Sloan’s;. Bristow is always at the center.

One of the biggest problems with contemporary television characters is the fact that they stale out very quickly and have no staying power. This is something that our favourite spy does not suffer from. When her sister was infected with a virus, it became quite clear that Sidney’s reaction was the core of the show. The same can be said for Bristow’s mother’s sporadic appearances. It’s not so much about Irina as it is about how Sidney will cope with having her mother back in her life.

While J.J. Abrams has clearly occupied himself with ‘Lost’ and ‘Mission Impossible 3,’ it does not take a TV historian to realize that this show was always centered around his lead. He has gone on the record several times and said that ‘Alias’ developed out of the idea that Felicity (the college student in another Abrams hit) had a secret life as a CIA operative.

It is unclear where Sidney will go from here. With Vaughn’s death and her impending child, it is clear that she will take a step back from the prominent role that she has always had. But ‘Alias’ lives and dies by her (literally) and even though APO has brought on a couple of new faces to replace some old ones, one smile can never be changed.

Her name is Sidney Bristow.

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