Five years seemed to go by in the blink of an eye, but Sydney Bristow and friends have gone on their final mission. The final season brought along the expected plot twists, new faces, and clever disguises just as the previous four had, but something was definitely missing by now. With J.J. Abrams moving on to other things like Lost and Start Trek XI, it seems that Alias was left to fend for itself. Now, granted, it had been a while since Abrams was involved in the day to day running of the show, but by year 5 it se…med to also be lower on everyone’s priority list. It was the lowest ratings for many episodes. The introduction of Prophet Five never really made it out of the awkward stage. While it was clear that at times Alias was trying to return to the beginning in tone and delivery, the same tricks don’t seem to always work the second time.
Cast additions dominated this season cut short. Rachel Nichols is an attempt to remind us of our first introduction to Sydney. She also has been deceived into working for a CIA pretend organization called The Shed. Rachel Gibson has a more technical skill set, but takes to the APO as did Sydney. Amy Acker has the far better new role as Kelly Peyton. Peyton is a bit of a villainous foil that we could have actually used more of. Finally, I think we were all getting a little tired of Rambaldi. It would have served Alias far better to have moved on at some point. (I’m talking years ago.) By the last episodes all they were trying to do is wrap things up, and it ended up causing some contrived finishes that did not do the show or its legion of fans justice.
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.
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.
There are a couple select commentaries which, as always, are worth a listen.
This is the weakest set of extras on any of these collections. It seems everyone lost interest in Alias. Many places that offer the set claim there are deleted scenes but those are only available if you buy the complete series edition. No deleted scenes on this set. To me this is very disloyal to the fans that have been buying the sets as they came out. Another flaw simply has to be the packaging which is also not consistent and changed for yet a third time. It features those overlapping disc holders that are beginning to really work on my nerves. Note to studio: STOP!
“Celebrating 100” Alias reaches the magical 100th episode in this its final year. 100 episodes is considered essential for any future life in syndication. Strange, since Star Trek practically invented the syndicated market with only 79 episodes. Still, 100 is now the benchmark, perhaps the only reason Alias got as far as it did this season. Lots of behind the scenes stuff includes quick interview clips and a look at the 100th episode party. Abrams delivers a moving speech, and there’s plenty of cheers and tears to go around.
“The Legend Of Rambaldi” In case you just didn’t get enough of the guy, this feature starts out like an A&E Biography episode but soon morphs into the typical feature. You will get to see some of the amazing props and even an unused design but if you’re like most you’re already tired of Rambaldi. Many of the cast and crew tell us their favorite prop.
“Heightening The Drama: The Music Of Alias” Michael Giacchino has been providing the excellent music of Alias from the beginning. This is a nice look at the process, and you get a ton of insight from the man himself. From composition to actual integration into the show, this is a truly intimate look at the process. The music has evolved since the beginning from almost Technopop to a more traditional orchestration technique. What is most strange is that the transition was so seamless and smooth I never really took notice.
“The New Recruit: On The Set With Rachel Nichols” For some reason Rachel is the only new cast member to get her own profile. She takes us on a guided tour of her trailer including her falsies bra. She also takes us onto the shooting stages. For me there was too much of the wide eyed giggly actress.
“Bloopers Of Alias” This segment begins with a spoof of a call from Abrams to Garner to offer her the role on Alias. It’s pretty funny to an extent. The rest of the feature interplaces the typical gags and goofs.
I was marginally disappointed in the final season of Alias. I can’t shake the feeling the folks stopped caring long before the last scene was wrapped. Still, there are some wonderful moments, and at least the quality of production remained high. Mostly I’m sad that we won’t have the gang around for anymore high tech happenings. The set works to complete the series, and that’s all. For now all we can do is tell Sydney one final time, “Thank you for watching over us”.
Special Features List
- Behind the scenes at the 100th episode
- The Legend of Rambaldi
- The New Recruit: On Set With Rachel Nichols
- The music of Alias
- Commentary with creators and cast on select episodes