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Alias - The Complete Fifth Season


TITLE: ALIAS - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color/2005-06
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 17
Running time: Approx. 724 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Video: Widescreen (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Spanish subtitles; English Closed Captioning
Special Features:
• Commentary by cast and creators on four episodes
• Celebrating 100 Episodes
• The Legend of Rambaldi
• Heightening The Drama: The Music of Alias
• The New Recruit: On Set with Rachel Nichols
• The Bloopers of Alias
• Hidden Egg
• Sneak Peeks


Introduction:

From the mind of J.J. Abrams comes the fifth season of the explosive hit series ALIAS. Jennifer Garner returns as secret agent Sydney Bristow to settle the score once and for all. Experience the stunning action for the show's final year as Sydney discovers that she is pregnant with Agent Vaughn's baby, and tragedy strikes before he can reveal more about his secret past.

From the mind-blowing opening episode, through each twist and turn, join Sydney as she completes the journey she began five years ago. This sensational set contains every heart-stopping episode of season five plus hours of bonus material you can't see anywhere else. Complete your collection with the must-own final chapter of ALIAS.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Alias' fifth season premiered on September 29th, 2006 on ABC. It aired on Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET/PT at the start of the season. Introduced in season 5 were: Balthazar Getty as Thomas Grace, Rachel Nichols as Rachel Gibson, Élodie Bouchez as Renée Rienne and Amy Acker as Kelly Peyton. The series was reduced to 17 episodes for the final season. 105 episodes were produced over the show's five-year run.

Memorable episodes included "The Horizon," in which Sydney teams up with Vaughn after being kidnapped and being placed in a hypnotic state. Irina appears at Sydney's house, and her, Sydney, and Jack go to Vancouver to retrieve The Horizon in "Maternal Instinct." One month after the baby is born, Sydney is taking time off from work in "There's Only One Sydney Bristow." While the gang starts to learn more about the Prophet 5, Sloane is distressed to learn that Prophet Five's cure for Nadia is just as likely to kill her in "30 Seconds." Sydney's ongoing feud with Anna takes a new turn when a strange computer chip is found inside Renee; Sloane's association with Prophet Five begins to take its toll in "I See Dead People." Sydney and Sark try to get the Rambaldi's final clue before Prophet Five does in "No Hard Feelings." Sloane takes Marshall and Rachel hostage in order to discover a crucial clue to Rambaldi's ultimate endgame, as Sydney, Vaughn and APO race to stop him in "Rambaldi."

Returning recurring characters included Michael Vartan as Michael Vaughn, Greg Grunberg as Eric Weiss, Merrin Dungey as Francie Calfo, David Anders as Julian Sark, Lena Olin as Irina Derevko and Mia Maestro as Nadia Santos. Notable guest stars included Sydney's arch-nemesis, Anna Espinosa, played by Gina Torres and Bradley Cooper as Will Tippin "There's Only One Sydney Bristow."


Packaging:

This four-disc set, once again, has some attractive packaging. It has similar style packaging as season four. The outer, clear plastic case features a photo of Jennifer Garner on the cover. The back of the case has three smaller photos of the cast and lists a summary of the set and the special features. The main DVD box slides out from the bottom of the outer case. It features a large photo of Jennifer Garner's head and smaller photos of the cast filled in on the rest of her body. The back of the main box features the same type of photo. While the season four set had a red color scheme, this set is green. The box unfolders into three sections where the discs are held. Inside the case, there is another photo of Jennifer Garner in a black top, and the episode titles are listed on the far left where there is a pocket holder that has a sheet that advertises the Lost Official Magazine and the Complete Alias - Rambaldi Collection.

The four discs are found with two discs overlapping each other on two separate holders. Each disc has the Alias logo and a photo of Jennifer Garner in a different pose. This set is really the Syndney Bristow show. Disc 1 holds episodes 6-10 from season five, Disc 2 has episodes 6-10, Disc 3 has episodes 11-15, and Disc 4 winds up the series with episodes 16-17 and the bonus material.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very attractive and easy to navigate. They open up with a series of video clips that leads to the main menu where there is a box of clips in the center of the screen. There is some instrumental music played in the background of the menus, and they have some animated green/night camera map type background. There are also some buzz/flickering effects tossed in here and there. The main menu loops after about 30 seconds. There are options at the bottom for "Episodes," "Bonu Features," "Set Up," Play All," and "Sneak Peeks" (only on the fourth disc). There is a small, red rectangle next to the option you highlight that turns yellow upon your selection. The sub-menus feature various still images of the cast and have the same background music as the main menu on them. Set Up lets you select English captions or Spanish subtitles. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no scene selection menus.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality is outstanding. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) format. There is very little grain on these episodes, which primarily can been seen in scenes that were filmed in dark settings, and the overall detail is very sharp and clear. The episodes are well spread out over four discs with no more than five episodes per disc, so there are no compression issues. All the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times around 41-43 minutes. I'm not sure why the episode times varied so much from week to week. I guess ABC only gave them a certain amount of time for each episode, depending on how much commercial time they sold.

The audio is a Dolby Digital. 5.1 Surround Sound track. It is very impressive with no major faults. I love the music score by Michael Giacchino and how they utilize songs in the episodes. There is closed captioning available in English, as well as Spanish subtitles.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
89. Prophet Five (43:35)
90. ...1... (42:37)
91. The Shed (43:12)
92. Mockingbird (42:50)
93. Out of the Box (41:52)

Disc 2
---------
94. Solo (42:06)
95. Fait Accompli (42:34)
96. Bob (42:50)
97. The Horizon (41:38)
98. S.O.S. (42:18)

Disc 3
---------
99. Maternal Instinct (42:07)
100. There's Only One Sydney Bristow (42:19)
101. 30 Seconds (42:56)
102. I See Dead People (42:26)
103. No Hard Feelings (43:04)

Disc 4
---------
104. Reprisal (43:04)
105. All the Time in the World (43:10)


Special Features:

Previous Alias sets have had a ton of special features, but this set is a bit of a disappointment. I thought they would go out with a bang, but it seems like a lot of the extras that could have been included here are only available on The Complete Collection. On this season five set, there are four audio commentaries by the cast and crew and five featurettes. The audio commentaries are pretty entertaining. It would have been cool to see a notes option like the Seinfeld sets for additional trivia facts.

"Prophet Five" Commentary by Director Ken Olin, Executive Producer Jeff Pinkner & Co-star Victor Garber

"Bob" Commentary by the Writing Team of Monica Breen and Alison Schapker, along with co-stars David Anders and Rachel Nicols

"The Horizon" Commentary by Director Tucker Gates, along with Writers Josh Applebaum and Andrew Nemec

"There's Only One Sydney Bristow" Commentary by the Alias Production Assistatns: starring Sparky Hawes, Brian Studler, Cliff Olin & Chris Hollier

Celebrating 100 (9:38) - This featurette focuses on the making of the 100th episode ("There's Only One Sydney Bristow"). They talk about the difficulty in making this episode due to the amount of action and fights and the return of Bradley Cooper. There are various sections including: "The Club" - making the night club scene; "The Tank Scene" - filming the scene with Gina Torres; "The Party" - the celebration of the 100th episode. Interviews include Director Robert M. Williams, Jr., Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Best Boy Grip Ellis James, Writer Drew Goddard, Rachel Nicols, Balthazar Getty, 'A' Camera Operator Benjamin Spek, Gina Torres, Special FX Coordinator Dave Pahda, Amy Acker, Creator/Executive Producer J.J. Abrams, Kevin Weisman, Greg Grunberg, Merrin Dungey (Francine Calfo), Ron Rifkin, and ABC Entertainment PResident Stephen McPherson.

The Legend of Rambaldi (7:32) - This opens like a documentary that you would see on the History Channel, with a narrator giving background details on the fictional Rambaldi character. Then it is intercut with a scene of Kevin Weisman and Rachel Nichols. There are interviews with J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Garner, Property Master Chris Call, Rachel Nichols, and Producer Robert M. Williams, Jr, Michael Vartan, Property Master Parker Swanson, Executive Story Editor Breen Frazier, and Ron Rifkin. They talk about Rambaldi's role in the show. Various artifacts/props are displayed.

Heightening The Drama: The Music of Alias (8:53) - This featurette focuses on composer Michael Giacchino and his score for the show. This was one of my favorite parts of Alias, and it is nice to see it noted as being an important ingredient to the success of the show on this set. They show some of the recording sessions with an orchestra. It is interesting to see how he went from using techno rhythms to completely orchestral. Michael Giacchino is one of my favorite current composers. He also does the music for J.J. Abrams' "Lost" and several other TV series and films. Interviews include Executive Producer Jeffrey Bell, Director Tucker Gates, Composer Michael Giacchino, J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, and Executive Producer Jeff Pinkner.

The New Recruit: On Set with Rachel Nichols (7:45) - Rachel Nichols shows off her trailer and then leaves to shoot a scene at the Renaissance Hotel. There are several bloopers shown and footage from her audition. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Jesse Alexander, J.J. Abrams, Producer Robert M. Williams, Jr., and Executive Producer Jeffrey Bell.

The Bloopers of Alias (5:32) - This section opens with a sketch between J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Garner talking on the phone with him trying to convince her to take the role. The last four minutes are your traditional bloopers and outtakes.

Farewell From The Crew of Alias (2:53) - This is an hidden Easter egg that is not mentioned on the packaging. On the bonus features menu, highlight the "Bloopers of Alias" and press the right arrow button on your DVD remote twice. There is a featurette of various clips of the crew waving goodbye. Unfortunately, there is no dialogue included.

Sneak Peeks (13:31) - Previews for Lost Season 2, Milo Rambaldi, Grey's Anatomy Season 2 Uncut, Desperate Housewives Season 2, Lost on ABC, Apocalypto, Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest, Invincilble, and Scrubs Season 5.


Final Comments:

That's a wrap for Alias. I started watching at the start of season four when it was airing following "Lost." Season five was a bit of a letdown at the start, but things picked up the last half and it was nice to see how the storylines were concluded. There have been plenty of other series that had longer runs that never had real series finales. Alias was never a huge ratings hit, but not every show makes it to 100+ episodes and five seasons. This set doesn't offer the amount or variety of special features of the previous seasons, but you'll want to pick it up to complete your collection. There is also Alias - The Complete Collection (with Rambaldi artifact box - limited to 40,000 sets) that contains all 105 episodes on 29 discs plus about two hours of exclusive bonus material. If you haven't already purchased the other seasons or you are just a diehard fan, that set would probably be your best bet to watch the episodes in order from the beginning. It would really be better if they just offered the bonus disc available for purchase for the people that bought all the seasons individually.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/26/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000H5V8D6/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=188490


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