JJ Abrams, Alias and Fringe

The major plotline of the TV series Alias, which follows a CIA unit starring Jennifer Garner, was the search for and recovery of artefacts created by fictional renaissance-era ‘genius’ Milo Rambaldi. The show’s creator, J.J. Abrams, based Rambaldi loosely on the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus). His works, which the characters in Alias desperately want to find, are described as being centuries ahead of their time and related to prophecies made by the man.

In the show, after an exhausting search involving golden discs and star charts, lead character Sydney Bristow (played by Garner) and her CIA team finally locate Rambaldi’s journal. The journal’s single most important page is page 47, which is written in “invisible ink”. So important is this page that JJ Abrams and his creative team donated an entire episode to it. When the ink is properly displayed at the end of the episode, it reveals the show’s central purpose – that Sydney is the “chosen one” in Rambaldi’s prophecies.

This is not the only occasion that number 47 features in Alias. In fact, the number features throughout the show in nearly every episode – on hotel room numbers, safe-deposit boxes and key codes. During the episode called Il Dire (Italian for The Telling), a machine made out of 47 Rambaldi artefacts begins automa

tically writing bits of information – including the word eirene (meaning “peace” in Greek).

Abrams created Alias in 1999-2000 (the show ran from 2001 to 2006) and later went onto create another TV series based on the workings of secret agents, called Fringe (first episode 2008). Only this time following a team of FBI agents. In The series Abrams uses the number 47 just as regularly – in nearly every episode.

Whoever is in charge of the 47 universe clearly was impressed with Abrams’ efforts. In 2009 he was hired (by Paramount Pictures) to direct the film adaptation of Star Trek starring Chris Pine and Eric Bana. Not hard to guess that Start Trek promptly returned to its 47 roots.

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