Alias might well be the first TV series better on DVD than its original broadcast. I tried to get into this show when it began two years ago. Fans could have warned me that any attempt to join this series mid-season is a big mistake. Each episode ends in a cliffhanger and the plots are complicated enough that it can be hard to keep up with the intrusion of preemptions and repeats. These DVD’s allow you to watch the show in a logical order without fear of missing an episode which could leave you completely lost. Jennifer Garner is a surprisingly strong lead. The supporting cast offers a proper mix of the spy clichés. I particularly enjoy the insecure light Q-like character. All the prerequisite spy stuff is here: exotic locations, groovy gadgets, chases and gunfights, and the sexy lead.
Sydney (Garner) has been working for an organization she believed to be the CIA. After her fiancée is murdered she discovers that she has actually been working for the enemy. Now Sydney works as a counter agent within the rogue SD-6 group.
A fine Dolby Digital 5.1 track will be found on each episode of Alias. The musical numbers are a particular standout. Nothing aggressive in the mix, but the ambient sounds are placed well enough in the mix to create a good listening environment. Sub action is spotty, but at times rocks. Dialogue is most often good, but Garner does have a tendency to speak almost under her breath at times, so a line or two does get lost.
Alias is presented in a fresh wide screen aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Those of you with access to HD network signals have already seen this nice transfer. If you have only experienced Alias in standard TV format this will be a very nice treat indeed. Colors are quite accurate with flesh tones nearly reference. Much of the show is shot in low lighting and so blacks become crucial. You’ll find them deep and often rich in detail.
Fans of the series should not be disappointed. There are several audio commentaries spaced throughout the series. Ken Olin is perhaps the most interesting. This former Hill Street Blues actor is a vital part of the production team on this show and you can tell it is a passion for him. I will warn you that the tracks often reveal spoilers for the next season. If you are waiting for the December release of season 2 to see it for the first time, I advise you to hold off on the commentary tracks.
- “Alias Pilot Production Diary” offers some nice behind the scenes moments in the making of the pilot. You’ll see new footage and a great interview with producer J.J. Abrams.
- “Inside Stunts” mostly shows you how much of the stunt work was actually done by Garner. It seems she reluctantly gives way to a double.
- “Deleted Scenes” and “Gag Reel” are both great additions and worth a look.
- TV spots, a game promo, and a promo for season 2 round out this 6-disc collection.
I am also very pleased with the packaging. The discs are contained in three double-disc plastic cases gathered in a box. I prefer this immeasurably to those accordion style season sets. I like being able to get to the disc I want quickly and without danger of other discs falling out of their places.
Alias truly deserves a second chance from anyone unable to get into the prime-time version. The production values are high. The extras are generous. If you like the spy genre at all give Alias a look. By the way, the show goes great with “Joe’s Pizza”.