I had heard that this show was good, and received this boxed set as a holiday gift. It took me a couple of months to get around to spinning it up on the DVD player, but once I did ... *WOW*, what a show!! Jennifer Garner as agent Sydney Bristow (who becomes DOUBLE-agent Sydney Bristow in the premiere episode) and Victor Garger as her father (and also agent) Jack Bristow both provide stellar performances.
Jennifer Garner (Sydney) must show a huge emotional range -- from very reserved as an on-mission CIA agent to distraught due to personal tragedies. Victor Garber (Jack) gets to play a much more subtle range ... initially as cold, hard, and calculating, but very gradually showing greater emotional range as the series progresses. Each time he shows slightly more emotion, you notice because it's surprising.
The show is visually stunning ... the sets are elaborate, the special effects are extremely well done. You know that effects MUST be in use at times, but they're subtle enough that you can't tell where the "live" shots end and the effects begin.
The Rimbaldi puzzle weaves another fascinating mystery throughout the series.
This show was not just thrown together -- the story through the whole first season (and into the second season) was VERY carefully woven, to maintain several story-line threads throughout.
This is pure "TV heroin" -- one dose and you will be completely hooked. I planned to watch one episode per night, and usually watched two (sometimes three), then had to go in to work bleary-eyed the next morning.
The good news is, watching it on DVD is the way to go -- no commercials and you don't have to wait a week for the next episode (which would be pure torture). We've bought the Second Season and "have to" pre-order the Third Season.