A well-paced, action-packed selection of episodes.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A well-paced, action-packed selection of episodes.
THE BAD
No commentary tracks from J.J. Abrams.
THE FEATURE
It is hard not to find the name J.J Abrams in popular trade publications. The writer/director/creator has become a huge name since introducing viewers all over the country to a phenomenon known as Lost. While entangled in the obsession with Abrams' recent series, some people, including myself, fail to break from Lost's hypnotism and reflect on his earlier work. By earlier work, I am referring to his original ABC hit Alias.

Many devoted fans were likely crushed when Alias came to an end in its fifth season with a seventeen-episode run. With ratings beginning to plummet and Abrams turning his attention to, not only Lost, but directing the blockbuster Mission Impossible III, it was finally time for the action series to be laid to rest. While some shows are discontinued on television, they are still immortalized on DVD. The fifth season is now available on DVD and is the final installment of the collection.

The season begins with leading lady/crime-fighting super agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) going on a country joy ride with her fianc&#233/co-worker Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan). Before the main title sequence even begins, their car is pummeled by an oncoming vehicle, and Sydney is once again plummeted into a world of danger.

It is no secret to admirers of the series that Michael is indeed gunned down and killed on the first episode of this season. This occurs on the same day that Sydney discovers she is pregnant with Michael's child. Let the fifth season begin! Sydney digs deeper into Michael's past with the help of her agent team after discovering that Michael was not really who he claimed to be. What she finds is a threatening organization known as Prophet 5. Who are they and what danger do they represent? Sydney puts her life on the line to avenge her lover's death, and does all of this with a bundle of joy in her womb.

Every once in a while, I am asked to review a television show that I do not follow. It is, after all, difficult to maintain a full-time job while monitoring every program on every network. While I am not 100% acquainted with characters and storylines in serialized programs such as this, it is still easy for me to see a good thing. Alias is no exception. Despite my lack of information, this is still a show that managed to hook me. Unlike the longtime commitment required by Abrams' Lost, Alias is not layered with one puzzling predicament after another. It is easily approachable thanks to its well-orchestrated suspense and its organization of characters.

The cast is also ripe with legitimate talent. After stealing my heart in 13 Going on 30, Jennifer Garner does the same thing here while simultaneously punching me in the face as an action star. Garner adds genuine character depth to Sydney in this final season. While always marketed as a sex symbol in prior seasons, Garner is still as beautiful as ever. However, she takes her character the entire distance as Sydney mourns the death of her lover, and accepts her role as a working single mother. In a supporting role, Victor Garber returns in his recurring role as Sydney's father. The chemistry between Garber and Garner has always realistically resembled a true father-daughter bond. However, this connection truly shines throughout the show's final stretch.
THE EXTRAS
Celebrating 100 Episodes

Every industry has a major milestone. For the television industry, the 100th episode of a series spells success. This featurette basically goes behind the scenes of this episode, and explains how much action and hard-work went into it. Fans may be able to relate to the hype, but I do not see what all the excitement is about.

The Legend of Rambaldi

Rambaldi is a historical character created and utilized throughout the series. His technological artifacts are central to the plots of many episodes. This insightful featurette asks the actors and creators exactly who Rambaldi is. This is a must-see for fans.

Heightening the Drama: The Music of Alias

One thing that this show demonstrates well is its use of music. Composer Michael Giacchino, who is a frequent collaborator with J.J. Abrams, explains how he first landed the job on the show, the task of putting together an effective score, and the importance of matching audio with picture. This is one of the better features on the disc.

The New Recruit

New cast member, Rachel Nichols, allows the camera to follow her around on the set where she improvises lame gags and goofs around. I found this to be rather dull.

Bloopers

This is a short-running blooper reel that showcases line mess-up's and pre-planned jokes. The funniest sports here are Garner and Abrams who stand out amongst a slew of redundant goofs.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen (1.78:1). This is a single camera series packed with sweet stunts and slick direction by J.J. Abrams. The aesthetic of the show is fantastic, and the transfer to DVD appears clean.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital 5.1. While some shows can be enjoyed on standard television speakers, the surround system may come in handy. There is plenty of action to go around along with a powerful score.
THE PACKAGE
Four discs are packed together in a folding case. The casing comes with a transparent slip sleeve that displays Jennifer Garner on the front cover. This exterior is a very slick look.
THE FINAL WORD
Alias is not one of my favorite shows on television, but I certainly commend it for its terrific cast and its intensity. J.J. Abrams is a man who is clearly comfortable with the television medium, and Jennifer Garner is just the right actress to bring this show alive. The fifth season seals the deal on the series and reveals its characters for who they truly are. Clearly this is the ultimate must-have for collectors of the series. You know who you are. So buy this DVD!

Questions? Comments? Just want to talk movies? Drop me a line at dodd@movieweb.com

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