The Science of Alias
By David Harris
Any good television drama is driven by its characters, but the universe in which they live has a huge impact on the show as well. More than most current programs, Alias is dependent on science and technology for its plot elements, surprises, gimmicks and even characters.
Basing a series on such scientific subject matter requires extra care to retain authenticity. One of the outstanding features of Alias is that even though there is much that is outlandish and unrealistic about it, so many of Marshall’s inventions and so many of the major plot devices are based in actual research, even if the specific applications wouldn’t really work. Basing these inventions and devices, even partially, on cutting-edge science gives the show a plausibility that it wouldn’t otherwise have.
There is so much science and technology in the series that it would take an entire book just to analyze where the ideas and inspirations come from. So for now I’m going to examine nine interesting examples of science in the first three seasons of Alias. For each, I’m going to rate the Plausibility Factor, or how well the example reflects real-world research and scientific thinking, and the Realism Factor, or how feasible it is that the “science” in question would actually work. We’ll see where the world of Alias aligns with our reality and where the ideas belong in an alternate one where SD-6 and the Covenant are the good guys.
#1: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
Plausibility Factor: 5 out of 10
Realism Factor: 1 …