I recently charted my television schedule and realized that I was watching 14.5 hours of television each week, not counting any times I might sit down and watch "whatever's on." I hastily slashed the schedule down to three hours, and I've since added one more since the premiere of HBO's Deadwood. There four hours represent "must see tee-vee" for me, though one of them (Survivor: All-Stars) is on the list only because it seems pointless to abandon something 75% of the way in, and I won't continue with it next season.
The other three hours each week can accurately be described as my favorite current television shows. They are: The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Alias. Deadwood takes place in 1876, The Sopranos in our current time, maybe a year behind, and Alias is at least two years ahead of us because of a plot twist at the end of the second season (contrasted with occasional references to the USA Patriot Act). Of the three, Alias is easily the least-plausible. When you consider the plotlines of the other two shows, that's saying something. In fact, Alias can twist and turn so often that sometimes I need a reminder of what exactly has happened to bring us to this point at which we are now. Hey, there are nine major characters right now!
I've summarized the essential plot points of Season One already, and now here are the key elements of Season Two. Obviously, spoilers follow.
When last we left our intrepid double-agent super-spy, she had watched her CIA handler and potential love interest drown, then been confronted by the arch-enemy of both the CIA and SD-6, "The Man," her mother. This confrontation served as proof both that her mother was alive (having faked her own death many years before), and that she was evil (having worked as a KGB agent in the past, killing CIA agents, including Sydney's CIA handler's father). Sydney's mother, Irina Derevko, says that she should have killed Sydney at birth, shoots her in the shoulder, and leaves. In the meantime, Sydney's reporter friend Will Tippin has continued to investigate SD-6 at great risk to himself, and things have now come to a head, so Sydney and her father (also a double-agent super-spy, remember) spill the beans to Will and set him up to lose his career and his reputation but keep his life. On another operation, Sydney finds Vaughn alive after all (he escaped through a grate) and rescues him. Then Sydney's mother walks into CIA headquarters and surrenders.