NEW YORK – Alias creator J.J. Abrams says his hit spy-thriller will be even more of a family affair next season.
The show, which follows the adventures of Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) -- a high-kicking double agent for an evil spy agency and the CIA -- will add a few new characters to the mix, including Sydney's mom.
Since the show debuted last season, Sydney's secretly had some help from her dad, Jack (Victor Garber) who's also a double agent.
"With the mother [Laura Bristow, played by Lena Olin,] being around, it has a profound impact on Sydney," Abrams told the Web site Sci Fi Wire.
"Obviously she has also an impact on Sydney's father, who was abandoned by this woman; and also on Sydney's CIA handler [Vaughn, played by Michael Vartan], whose father was killed by Sydney's mother," Abrams said.
"So you've got this woman showing up, suddenly affecting everyone in a huge way. There are a lot of great secrets, great mysteries revealed. And we're approaching this year from the point of view that, if you've never seen the show, this is the time to watch, because we're making the stories accessible, whether you've ever seen the show before or not," he said.
Abrams also said the show's going to cut back on its cliff hanger endings each week. The story-telling tool had been criticized for making the show harder to watch for new viewers who felt left out if they missed an episode the week before.
"You don't have to have seen the week before to get into it," he said. "Our cliffhangers are going to be a little bit less. We'll still do some the way we did, but there will be a little bit less of the immediate life-and-death-moments kind of cliffhanger, and the episodes will be satisfying in and of themselves. But there will always be something, a little nugget, to intrigue you to watch next week."
And look for more new faces on the show besides Sydney's mom, Abrams said.
"We're working on some really cool guest stars, new ones and return. I promise we're going to do everything we can to sort of outdo last year."
Alias, which was largely credited with helping to kill off X-Files last year, returns for a second season in time-slot, starting Sept. 29.