'24' overshadows 'Alias' finale


Farewell, Sydney Bristow!

The most alluring TV spy since Emma Peel takes her final bow tonight after a five-year run. Alias (ABC, 9 p.m.) allowed Jennifer Garner to wear many wigs and smack down many bad guys, but lately creator J.J. Abrams has been busier with a show that has overtaken Alias for sheer buzz, Lost, and busied himself directing the big-screen Mission: Impossible III.

In the fall, Abrams will have his name on three shows on ABC: Lost, the new Six Degrees and the returning What About Brian?

And what about Alias? Adios.

The spy caper leaves on the worst possible night, when many ardent action fans will be watching the calamitous two-hour end to 24 (Fox, 8 p.m.), wherein Jack Bauer has to take down a law-breaking president after spending most previous seasons defending a virtuous one (who was killed at the beginning of this long day).

Other finales

If you're a fan of King of Queens (CBS, 8 p.m.), you'd better tune in: A new episode of the Kevin James vehicle won't show up until the ninth season starts in eight months.

Also ending for now are Medium (NBC, 10 p.m.), Wife Swap (ABC, 8 p.m.), The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.), CSI: Miami (CBS, 10 p.m.) and Two and a Half Men (CBS, 9 p.m.). All will be back in the fall.

On cable, Punk'd (MTV, 10 p.m.) ends its season, too.

Remote patrol

It's not clear how the story of Joseph Goebbels qualifies as an American Experience. But watching the engrossing film by Lutz Hachmeister and Michael Kloft about his life, told entirely through his diaries and archival footage, is quite an experience. Kenneth Branagh's readings of Goebbels' personal thoughts offers chilling insight into his narrow mind, as he yearns for a woman as a young man, offers withering commentary on U.S. attempts at propaganda, and runs hot and cold on Hitler, although he's delusional and gung-ho on the war until the very end.

The four-part Heavy: The Story of Metal (VH1, 9 p.m.) begins tonight with Black Sabbath its apparent starting point. Which leaves out the Kinks, Blue Cheer and Link Wray from the discussion. It continues through Thursday.

A casting special for The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (MTV, 10:30 p.m.), precedes the new season that starts next week in Australia.

Late talk

David Letterman: Martha Stewart, Dixie Chicks, Criss Angel. Jay Leno: Vince Vaughn, Julia Stiles, The Wreckers. Conan O'Brien: A full night of U2 (rerun). Jimmy Kimmel: Sarah Silverman, James Cramer, Denny Blaze. Craig Ferguson: Reba McEntire, Cynthia Watros, Toby Keith. Jon Stewart: Eric Shawn (rerun). Stephen Colbert: Frank Rich (rerun).

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