So long, Sydney: After five seasons of evil clones, ticking bombs, and outrageous cocktail dresses, Alias will air its final episode in May. Though ABC’s decision to cancel the spy drama wasn’t exactly a shock — its ratings had slipped this season — lead actress Jennifer Garner is already bracing herself for the ”incredibly emotional” task of shooting the final episodes. Just days before stepping into her new role — mom to a baby girl with Ben Affleck — Garner talked to Entertainment Weekly’s Dan Snierson about saying goodbye to the show that made her a wham-glam action star.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you feel about ending the show now? Is the timing right?
It feels like the right thing; it feels like we’ve told the story. But I can’t really talk about it without getting sad. Obviously it’s been such a huge force in my life. [But] we feel like we have done right by these characters, and we’ve done right by the story? [Creator] J.J. [Abrams] tells more story in an episode than most shows do in four. So we really feel like we’ve covered this ground. It feels incredibly respectful and not exploitative to let this end naturally…. It feels like a graduation. Graduation is hard. Imagine your life without these people. Well, this is a year longer than college, and a lot more happened to me during this show than it did during college.
When the big book of TV history is written, what do you want it to say about Alias?
I hope this show is included with all of the shows that have celebrated strong women. To me, what’s mattered about this character is how much she’s struggled to hold on to her humanity in the middle of this weird world that she lives in, and how incredibly hard she works at doing the right thing when that isn’t always cut-and-dried.
The show reinvented itself so many times. But did it disappoint you that it never quite broke out beyond its cult fanbase?
We were just always amazed and grateful that we were coming back every year. We didn’t know if people would grab onto it at all, particularly because it asks so much of the audience. We’re proud that the people who got the show got it so much and have stuck by it through so many changes and have just gone right along with it. I love that the show has flip-flopped its own idea of itself. I love that J.J. never let us take it so seriously that we couldn’t just turn it all on its head. I regret now that we’re almost done that we never made Victor [Garber, who played Sydney’s dad] and Ron [Rifkin, baddie Sloane] sing in an episode.
Any intel on the big finale?
If it’s what I think it’s going to be, it will be the most? Oh, gosh, I’m afraid to say anything. You know, one thing about not doing the show — I look forward to just being able to talk about what I’m doing and not always having to stop myself…. It won’t be one of those finales where it ends, and you go, ”Oh, that was it? After all of this?” We came in with a bang, we’ll go out with a bang.