From the “Is Rutger Hauer Still Alive” file

Super ‘Alias’ will bowl you over
Here’s an image that should grab a Super Bowl fan’s attention: Jennifer Garner in black scanties.
Oh, there’s much more to Sunday’s fabulous post-Bowl episode of Alias than those opening shots of Garner, undercover and underdressed as CIA agent Sydney Bristow. But the scene, and the humorous twist it takes, is a prime example of how knowing and witty this show can be, and how eager it is to get the kind of ratings it has long deserved.
Besides, if there’s a TV star who can carry off that opening (and that outfit) with more style than Garner, I don’t know who she is. Garner is not just the sexiest spy since Emma Peel, she’s one of the few actresses who can stand up to comparison with Diana Rigg.
Sunday, she has the kind of showcase that actors dream about: a heart-stopping, plot-packed adventure that lets her hit just about every emotional note. And the good news extends beyond Garner. Seldom has Alias produced a more exciting hour or one more user-friendly for newcomers to the show.
Conveniently enough, Sydney is introduced to a new class of CIA recruits, which allows Alias to reintroduce its premise: Sydney and her father, Jack (the invaluable Victor Garber), are double agents assigned to destroy SD-6, one of 12 cells that make up the criminal syndicate The Alliance. And they have just been handed a new tool: a secret computer that can reveal the location of all Alliance agents.
Naturally, there are complications. The Bristows have a new boss at SD-6 (played with cool authority by Rutger Hauer- who IS still alive), and he has questions about their job performance.
Revealing much more would spoil the fun.
What sets Alias apart? For one thing, there’s writer J.J. Abrams (Felicity), who knows how to surprise you without making you feel as if you’ve been duped. He also has been smart enough to hire actors who are as talented as they are attractive and who are able to keep the often outrageous plots grounded. This week, watch Carl Lumbly as Sydney’s partner and see if you don’t believe every move he makes.
Action, suspense and a last-minute twist: Sunday’s Alias provides everything you’d want from a show following the Super Bowl and, for that matter, from the Super Bowl itself. Whether the game will deliver, I can’t say, but the postgame show is a champ.