It would be a boldfaced lie to say that Alias is the best show of its kind on television. The truth is that it is the ONLY show of its kind on television. Alias certainly contains writing that rivals even the award-gobbling Sopranos. The photography is film quality. The character chemistry, which I rank as the most important element in any show, is wonderful. The characters are compelling. You really start to care about these guys; even the villainous Sloan demands sympathy at times.
Most important to this review is that it appears more suited for DVD than primetime TV. The structure of the storytelling makes this a difficult show to keep track of. Plots are overwhelmingly complex. The style of ending one show with the beginning of the next can be frustrating. Don’t even try to keep up if you’ve missed an episode. I’ve stopped watching it altogether on Sunday nights. The DVD is the best presentation for this one.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, here is a brief synopsis…
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, so blacks become crucial. You’ll find them deep and often rich in detail.
Disc One contains a collection of film trailers. There is also a “sneak peek” at Alias Season 3. DO NOT WATCH THIS FIRST!!! This will spoil just about all of the twists and turns of season 2.
There are also four great commentaries provided for specific episodes. Pretty much everyone involved gets in on the action at some point. You’ll love it.
On disc 6 you’ll find the rest of the goodies…
- “The Making Of ‘The Telling” is an informative look at the cliffhanger that ends this second season.
- “A Look At Alias” covers mostly what covers star Garner. If you’re into costume design this one’s for you.
- There’s a very funny “Season 2 Blooper Reel” and 7 interesting deleted scenes.
- There’s a strange audio-only radio interview which doesn’t really reveal anything new.
- TV spots for about half of the episodes rounds out the features in this collection.
- A script scanner is included for your DVD-ROM.
It should also be noted that the packaging is a slight improvement. A clear slipcover enhances the graphics of the box itself. Menus are pretty much like season one.
Season 2 is far more explosive than the first go around. The characters are in far more conflict. The acting really stands out this year. Fans of the show know that this season was the beginning of an entire new look for Alias. Should you get this set? Yes. Now “Don’t ask again”.