Or something like that.
After many months, hissy fits, ultimatums and general immaturity all round, what have we learned?
Yes, Michael Vartan has indeed left the show. At least, he has left the show as a regular cast member. As was expected, and heavily hinted at prior to the start of the season, Vartan's character Michael Vaughn/Andre Micheaux was set up at the very start of the season as playing a major role in the events that would unfold over the course of the season.
However, as is typical with Alias, there was a twist - Vaughn was brutally gunned down right at the start of the season. Coupled with the revelation that Vaughn was keeping a secret of epic proportions from Sydney, this set the scene for a cracker of a season. And, as was predicted right here, the season has been a real corker so far, with some truly mindblowing twists.
But the other "big issue" was whether Vartan left of his own accord, or was he pushed?
At this point, I think it is safe to say that he left quite willingly. You don't push someone out the door of a TV show and then invite them back for a guest spot in at least one episode. Or at least, not for a mid-season guest role. End of season? Maybe. Show finale? If at all possible. But a planned-in-advance, integral-to-the-plot guest role? No.
He left for his own reasons. If there's anyone out there still doubting it, they honestly need to see a mental health professional. Seriously.
Which pretty much puts to rest the whole saga?
Well, not quite. Those of you who can remember back far enough will recall that the MVCampaign.com loons were running a campaign of harassment aimed at assorted companies who sponsor the show, as well as harassing various folk at ABC, Bad Robot et al. Basically, anyone remotely involved with the show.
The stated goal was to either force the producers to re-hire Vartan (who wanted to leave the job) or to force ABC into a corner of not being able to recoup their costs from the show and having to cancel it.
Most of you probably know by now that Alias is not being renewed at the end of Season 5.
But before you go off to find your pitchforks and flaming torches, you may want to bear in mind that Alias was on the verge of cancellation during Season 4 and Season 5 was really always a borderline call. Alias badly needed to pick up its ratings in order to have even a hope of going through to a sixth season. And even then, it would have been in serious jeopardy had any more of the major players wanted out - Vartan was already leaving and with a new baby on the way it may have been too much to expect Jennifer Garner to say yes to yet another season as Sydney Bristow.
Then when you add in the additional factor of Alias losing its great lead-in - J.J. Abrams' other show, Lost - and yet another switch in timeslot to a virtual graveyard, it is not exactly surprising that it didn't set the ratings on fire this season.
There really is no "victory" here, for anyone. Alias really did deserve a better final season than this, and it should have had it a lot further down the track than Season 5. They've shown in this most recent season that the show does still have legs and can be engaging, even with less "direct" involvement in storylines by Sydney Bristow. (By "direct", read "punching and kicking")
The only people with any claim on being proud with how this situation has turned out are the cast and crew of the show - they've put in many long years on the show and have turned out some of the more engaging television of recent years. They have proven once again that they are capable of turning out some really top notch television. They should feel proud of what they have accomplished and I wish them the best of luck in whatever they turn their hands to next!
On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone who emailed over the months, as well as those who took the time to sign the guestbook or posted about the site on the various Alias forums. It was a lot of fun and very heartening to see such a healthy level of intelligence and critical thinking among the wide fanbase of Alias. When I started this website it was out of a sense of frustration with "fandom" in general, and the "Save Character X" campaigns, and the "Save Michael Vaughn" campaign was just the latest in a long, long line of irritants. It is (almost) always sad to see an actor leave a show, but I have been deeply disturbed by the levels of fanaticism that have crept into internet fandom over the years.
Back in "the olden days" when a character left a show, the actor was wished the best of luck and fellow fans would be eagerly beavering away trying to find out what they would be up to next. The odd person might write in to the production company or the actor themself, begging them to stay on for "just another season", but it was the exception, rather than the rule.
Nowadays the "entire fanbase" must be subjected to the deluded rantings of a few maniacs that are old enough to know better. Often these maniacs have insinuated themselves so deeply into a fandom and gotten themselves so cosy with community leaders - or have become leaders themselves - that otherwise rational people who could tell them to calm down won't do so. And those who have not gathered to themselves any clout with "The Powers That Be" are quickly brushed under the carpet when they dare to speak against the rabid rantings, even when they break no rules by doing so.
When the terminology made the switch from "a group of fans" to "fandom", a real nasty element began to take over across a staggering number of groups.
But I guess this is one for the sociologists of the world. Me, I'll just keep pottering away in my own little (relatively) sane corner of the web. :-)
Lastly, I would like to leave all visitors to this site with a final suggestion - if you have watched Alias over the years and enjoyed the storylines, characters or even just the production values, and even if there were occasionally some bits you really didn't care for, please consider buying the DVDs of the show.
Let's face it - the only reason so many people got so worked up over this entire debacle was that so many people loved so many aspects of this show.
Sure, some of "us" only watched for Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber, Ron Rifkin or even Greg Grunberg. Some of us just loved the storylines. And some may have been drawn in later in the game by the smash hit that is Lost.
Show your appreciation to the cast, crew and everyone involved in any way with the show by picking yourselves up a copy of the DVDs. Every season is well worth the money and it's something you will want to come back to revisit from time to time. There's not going to be any new episodes once Season 5 is done and the DVD copies are not going to be in stock forever. :-)
Don't forget to visit the Aftermath Poll and register your opinion on how happy you are with the apparent death of Michael Vaughn!
- KMV Webmaster.
P.S. The Guestbook has been zeroed out (though saved locally) so have at it if you like.
P.P.S. All the old KMV pages are still available! Open Archive 47 for a list of links.