on June 10, 2004
I had never watched Alias before due to it being on against other shows I liked and watched every week. I had heard good things about it on the internet and was curious about the show. I wasn't sure if I'd buy the DVDs since I had never seen it before but I do like espionage and spy stories so I was inclined to try it out. I also became a fan of Alias star Jennifer Garner due to her role in the movie Daredevil so that factored in. I went ahead and bought it after a few weeks of deliberation. I'm glad I did! I became hooked on the show after watching the first couple of episodes. I watched the entire set in a few days. I then went ahead and bought season 2 before I even finished season one. The stories are interesting and the cliffhangers are well executed and leave you wanting more and more and more.
The picture and sound quality are excellent and the extras as interesting. All in all it is a total quality package. I highly recommend it.
Winston Churchill once said the Soviet Union was "a mystery wrapped in an enigma," which is a good description of "Alias: The Complete First Season." The initial premise is that Agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is working for SD-6 (Section Disparue 6, as in the one that disappeared), which she believes to be part of the CIA. Instead it turns out that she is working for the very people she thinks she has been fighting against. After you get past the point in the first season when Sydney understands what is going on, the opening narration each week explains the situation and the cast of characters. That is necessary because anyone who skipped an episode in the first season was going to be missing one or more pieces of the puzzle and be even more in the dark than they would otherwise. Fortunately, when you have the entire first season on DVD that is not a problem. You can even go back and try to piece together what is happening and try to connect the dots.
For those television viewers who have been looking for something more challenging that regular dramatic fare, "Alias" could well constitute an overdose. The only thing really comparable on television is "24," but "Alias" has more gadgets, better action sequences, and a whole lot better costumes (both quantitatively and qualitatively). Beyond Churchill the other relevant quote would be with regards to tangled webs of deception, because this show gets really complicated. Did Jack Bristow (Victor Garber) work for the KGB as an assassin? Is Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin) Sydney's real father? Is jouaanlist Will Tippin (Bradley Cooper) going to discover the truth about Syndey's "real" job? Is Sydney going to tell Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly) that they are not working for CIA before he figures out that she is a double-agent? When is Sydney's handler CIA Agent Michael C. Vaughn (Michael Vartan) finally going to make a move on her? Will Sydney ever finish her degree? And what is up with Sydney's mom? Yes, things get a bit over the top with the whole Rambaldi bit and who knows if we will ever figure out the significant of the number 47 for the Pope's architect, but just hang on and enjoy the ride.
Not being able to follow all the action is not a problem because it becomes clear early on that we are not supposed to be able to do so, and after a while you become satisifed with being only a half-step behind Sydney. I have only touched upon a few of the plotlines running rampant during season one, and that is without taking into account all the missions to exotic places around the world as Sydney gets in deeper and deeper. My only really criticism is that Jennifer Garner cries a lot for a super spy, which seems especially strange since Daddy Dearest is wound so tight and mom has been out of the picture, so to speak, for a long time. However, Garber's minimalist style (Look! His right nostril flared! Jack is really ticked off now!) is one of the true joys of the show which has an impressive cast where the likes of Amy Irving and Patricia Wettig have small but pivotal roles.
These six DVDs contain all 22 episodes from the first season, with all of the episodes being letterboxed and the transfers enhanced for 16 x 9 television sets. Audio commentary is provided for four episodes: "Truth be Told" (The Pilot) by J.J. Abrams & Jennifer Garner, "So It Begins" by Michael Bonvillain, Sarah Caplan & Ken Olin, "Q&A" by John Eisendrath, Alex Kurtzman-Counter & Roberto Orci, and "Almost Thirty Years" by Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber, Bradley Cooper, Carl Lumbly, Ron Rifkin, Merrin Dungey, & Kevin Weisman. All four commentary tracks are above average, but the pilot track is the most informative in terms of providing insight into the show's origins and the way the visual style evolved. All the other bonus material appears on the last disc, where there is a featurette narrated by series creator J.J. Abrams, one on stunts, six deleted scenes, television spots, and a gag reel. Season Two has just become available on DVD as well, so those who want to catch up to what is happening can now be more than half way there.
on June 1, 2002
I feel that I too must include my plea for an "Alias" Series DVD. It is my favorite show on television and I'm sure that all fans would purchase the DVD/video. The strange thing is that I saw the first episode and didn't really enjoy it. Throughout the year though, I got sucked in and couldn't stop! Really, once you start watching the show, you get addicted rather quickly. In case you don't already watch the show, it's about a character named Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), who is recruited to work for a covert branch of the CIA--SD6. She comes to learn that it is, in fact, not part of the CIA, but is actually the very enemy she though she had been fighting against (took that right from the show's intro). She turns to the actual CIA and becomes a double agent, in the process learning that her father is also a double agent. All of this takes place in the first episode, so that is basically just the premise. This first season is really exciting, with great storylines, and ended on a real cliffhanger. I would recommend that everyone watch the show and purchase this DVD when it is released.
on September 16, 2003
I've heard many criticisms of "Alias." Most of them from people who never watched the show.
"It's a chick show."
"The same guy did 'Felicity' right?"
"Hey, she's hot!"
This is definitely NOT a chick show. While Jennifer Garner is certainly the heart and soul of the show, the supporting cast deserves their bows as well. Plus, creator J.J. Abrams has made the show fun for all. It's a roller coaster ride which switches from Sydney (Garner) chatting with friends (and lying about her profession), to Bond-like stunts.
Victor Garber as Sydney's double agent father gives a stunning performance every time he hits the screen. He's given significantly more airtime as the season progresses. And justifiably so.
The groundwork here makes the concept shattering changes of the second season all the more meaningful.
Do yourself a major favor, if you've not seen this show from the beginning. Start all over again.
on June 9, 2004
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.
on May 25, 2004
You would not expect a daring, fresh show like Alias to be produced and sustained for so long by one of the three major networks. Radical shows like FOX's Dark Angel and CBS's Wolf Lake were quickly cancelled. I don't know how this show wound up on the same schedule as the usual safe, clunky, family fare, but I'm glad it did.
Watching Alias is absolutely addictive. It is like being trapped on a rollercoaster where once you think you will be able to disembark, the ride starts up again. And each ride has new twists, turns, and tunnels. Every aspect of this show is excellent. And as good as the writing, the hypnotic throbbing score, the sets, photography, and characters are, the vehicle could not be carried without its star, Jennifer Garner.
Garner's athletic ability, intelligence, vulnerability, and sweetness make her character Sydney Bristow a TV legend. Her angst-filled relationship with her father is what sets this series apart from any other. Usually the only deep relationship a woman in a series is allowed to have is a romantic one. Why they haven't done an Alias, the Movie is beyond me. An important lesson from watching Alias is that nothing is what it seems - or is it?
on April 3, 2004
So with my Full Season DVD watching list packed full of goodies, I finally finished watching the full first season of Alias. Being a big fan of the series of course I loved rewatching the episodes, seeing the beginnings of the season and the developments of the Sydney Bristow character. The pilot to this series my be one of the best television episodes in recent years and can rival many movies. The ongoing plot stays crisp adding many twists and turns until you finally hit the finally, which is a very good reflection and completion of the initial premiere episode.
So what makes every DVD special is the bonus material. Alias Season one offers a nice range of extra's on the last disc of this six disc set. The outtakes (gag reel) and production notebooks are fun to watch and very informative and the stunt special is definitely a must see for all fans. The bonus materials also offer deleted scenes, which really don't add that much and previews of the coming season and the video game. The DVD set also contained audio commentary by the cast for the final episode, which was fun but a little clogged by so many voices. I would have really enjoyed commentary on the premiere episode, with maybe some production voices instead of just the cast.
on March 23, 2004
I watched the first series on a fluke--I had remembered that Jennifer Garner had won an award after the first year and I had to see if she was really so good. WELLLLLLLLL, was I in for an unbelieveable surprise! The series is phenomenal...all six discs were done in two days (a weekend I'll never forget, like my honeymoon or something)...and I could NOT get enough. It kept me up nights with every exciting cliff-hanging ending, and yes, in pops the next disc while I down coca cola to keep me up just one more hour! I love this show, and I'm starting now with the second series and I just can't wait! Buffy the Vampire Slayer and James Bond and La Femme Nikita have met their match...Sydney Bristow kicks ... and is beautiful to boot! If you like espionage, super-cool high tech action, fight scenes, emotional turmoil, intricate storylines that keep you involved, well-developed, highly charged characters, great costumes and disguises (not to mention a beautiful leading lady and quite a few other beautiful actors), you will love Alias. Do not hesitate one more minute and get it. The DVD has tons of great extras, even a gag real and footage on stunts--including Jennifer Garner's feelings on doing many of her own stunts...terrific!
on March 9, 2004
"Alias" is one of those television programs that I had no interest in watching when it first aired, but as there has been good buzz about the show I was able to give it a chance on DVD. It's a good thing that I did because right from the first episode I was sucked into the story and each episode left me wanting to know the explanation for what just happened and what was going to happen next.
Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is an agent for SD-6. When she was recruited to SD-6 she was led to believe that it was a covert branch of the CIA. Except for those at the highest levels of SD-6, all the agents believe that they are working for the CIA. They are all wrong. When Sydney told her fiancé that she worked as a spy for SD-6, they had him killed. It was only then that she learned that SD-6 was the very enemy she thought she was fighting against. She went directly to the CIA and now she works as a double agent to help bring down SD-6. If this sounds a bit complicated, just remember that we learn all of this in the first episode of the series. It gets even more complicated from there.
Sydney also learns that her father (Victor Garber), whom she has never been close to, is not only a member of SD-6 but also a double agent with the CIA. Sydney is still given missions from Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), but her CIA Handler Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) gives her the CIA's counter-mission for her true objective. So, Sydney is working both sides on her missions, but is also trying to keep the fact that she is working against SD-6 from her partner Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly), who believes that SD-6 is part of the CIA and is one of the good guys. These missions gradually build the greater story arc of the season/series with something called the Rimbaldi artifact. These artifacts are amazingly advanced and prescient for something designed and created over 500 years ago. The major world powers (both official like CIA and the underworld like SD-6, K-Directorate) are looking for these artifacts because of the incredible potential to shift the balance of power one way or another.
While this is happening, Sydney's friend, Will Tippin (Bradley Cooper), a newspaper reporter, is investigating the death of Sydney's fiancé. Since just learning about SD-6 was enough to get the fiancé killed we know that Will is treading into dangerous waters. This storyline often takes a back seat, but it is interesting to see what he will be able to uncover and how this may affect his relationship with Sydney.
At many times this can be a confusing show because you are not quite sure how everything connects to the larger picture, but it is easy to stay interested in the show for that very reason: you want to know how it all comes out in the end. To make matters worse, the ending of nearly episode is such a cliffhanger that even when I think I have watched my last episode of the day I just have to watch one more to find out how the cliffhanger is resolved. It is the mark of good television that keeps me coming back for more. I would put this show with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as a show that is really good but is not quite as serious as something like "The Sopranos" or "The West Wing". It deals with serious subjects and has action and adventure, but it doesn't fit neatly into a genre. All in all, I think this is an excellent show and I look forward to watching season two.
on February 28, 2004
A single episode of Alias is better than many movies. The first episode alone is filled with character development, surprises, plot twists and action to fill a movie. However, after the blockbuster first episode, the action doesn't stop there. The momentum continues with more character development, shocking plot twists, action and an amazing storyline which is pure genius. The script writers on Alias are pure genius and everybody involved with this show should be very, very proud of it, especially the actors. The acting is all top-notch, but not over the top and the show is simply gripping. The show is fantastically action-packed and filled with drama as well which should leave you eagerly anticipating the second season. I'm at college, and having purchased the first and second seasons of the show on DVD, I have shared them with many members on campus and everybody I have showed it to has gotten hooked. Now, that is a recommendation, that everybody who watches it gets helplessly addicted to a show that is, simply put, the best show on television.