TITLE: ALIAS - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 22
Running time: Approx. 923 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
• Commentary by cast and creators on four episodes
• A Chat with Jennifer Garner
• Meet Mia: Syd's Little Sister
• Blooper Reel
• Anatomy of a Scene
• Deleted Scenes
• Director's Diary
• Guest Stars of Season 4
• Marshall's World
• Agent Weiss' Spy Camera
The action explodes in ALIAS' phenomenal fourth season. When Sydney leaves
the CIA to join a powerful new Black Ops unit, she has no idea of the reunion
in store for her. Family secrets are revealed and old adversaries come together
for a year of betrayal, suspense and breathtaking surprises. It's nonstop
excitement - from the spectacular two-hour first episode to the stunning
impact of the season's final seconds.
Experience all 22 heart-stopping episodes of season four in a sensational six-disc
set. ALIAS features "the best acting and most addicting plot lines on television,"
raves CNN.com. Now, with exclusive bonus features, including a conversation with
Jennifer Garner, bloopers, deleted scenes and more, this spectacular set makes
TV's most exciting show even better.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Alias' fourth season premiered on January 5th, 2005 on ABC with a two-hour episode.
The series aired on Wednesdays at 10PM following the hugely popular "Lost," which
was also created by J.J. Abrams. There were many stand-alone episodes at the start
of the season, but there were the usual story arcs in the last half to third of the
year. Mia Maestro was added to the cast as Syndey's half-sister Nadia Santos.
Memorable episodes included "Welcome to Liberty Village," in which Sydney and Vaughn
are sent to infiltrate a training camp run by the October Contigent. While on a mission
in Havana, Sydney is captured by the Third Faction and buried alive in "Tuesday."
With Dixon still imbedded in the terrorist group, the APO team follows him
to Vienna to steal back the Hydrosek in "Mirage." The APO team belatedly discovers
that Elena Derevko has been in their midst for some time and has managed to get
away from being discovered in "The Descent." With the Russian city of Sovogda in chaos,
video footage shows Rambaldii's Mueller Device hovering nearby in "Search and Rescue."
The APO team team lands in Sovogda for the final showdown with Elena in "Before the Flood."
This season finale ends with quite a cliffhanger!
There were a number of notable guest stars, including some that had appeared
in previous seasons of Alias. Angela Bassett played CIA Director
Hayden Chase in "Authorized Personnel Only, Part 1," "The Index, "The Descent," "Search
and Rescue," and "Before the Flood." Kelly Macdonald appeared as Kiera MacLaine/Meghan Keene
in "Ice." Sydney's arch-nemesis Anna Espinosa, played by Gina Torres,
returns in "Echoes" and "A Man of His Word." Freaks and Geeks' Jason Segel guest starred as Sam Hauser in "The Road Home." Sonia Braga returns as Sophia Vargas/Elena Derevko in "The Orphan," "A Clean Conscience," "Mirage," "The Descent," "Search and Rescue," and "Before the Flood." Joel Grey played Another Mr. Sloane/Sloane #2 in "Pandora,""Another Mister Sloane," and "In Dreams..." Isabella Rossellini returns as Katya Derevko in "Pandora" and "The Descent." Michael McKean appeared as Dr. Liddell in "A Clean Conscience" and "Mirage." Lena Olin returns as Irina Derevko in "Search and Rescue" and "Before the Flood."
This six-disc set has some attractive packaging. The outer, clear plastic case features a photo of Jennifer Garner and Mia Maestro on the cover. The back of the case has 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 photo
of Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin with the Alias logo. It has a red background color. The
back of the box has a photo of Jennifer Garner with her arms crossed and also features the Alias logo. There are various black and white photos on the covers and inside the box as well. The box unfolds and shows four sections where the discs are held. Inside the box, there is a holder that has inserts for some other TV on DVD releases, a booklet that promotes Lost, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and various Alias products. There is an 8-page booklet included that lists all of the episodes with short summaries and has a number of photos
sprinkled throughout. The special features, which are found on disc 6,
are also listed. It would have been nice if they had listed the original airdates and guest stars as well, but I guess that information can easily be found on the internet.
The six discs are found with two discs overlapping each on three separate holders. Each disc has a different photo of a cast member as well as the Alias logo. Disc 1 features a photo of Jennifer Garner and has episodes 67-70. Disc 2 pictures Mia Maestro with episodes 71-74. Disc 3 shows Victor Garber and contains episodes 75-78. Disc 4 features Ron Rikin and has episodes 79-82. Disc 5 pictures Michael Vartran and has episodes 83-86. Disc 6 shows Greg Grunberg
and contains episodes 87-88 and the bulk of the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very slick looking and appealing. They have a gray background, with various
videoclips and music playing in the background. There are options at the bottom
for "Episodes," "Bonus," "Set Up," Play All," and "Sneak Peeks" (only on the first disc).
There is a small, red rectangle next to the option you select. The sub-menus feature
various still images and have background music on them also. The Set Up option
lets you select English captions or Spanish subtitles. The Sneak Peeks features
trailers for The Chronicles of Narnia movie and various TV on DVD releases including:
Desperate Housewives, Lost, Alias, Scrubs, Home Improvement, and The Golden Girls.
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 six discs
with no more than four episodes per disc, so there are no compression issues. All the
episodes appear to be unedited with running times around 40-43 minutes. I'm not sure why
the episode times vary so much from week to week. I guess ABC only gives them
a certain amount of time each episode, depending on how much commercial time they sell.
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:
67. Authorized Personnel Only, Part 1 (43:23)
68. Authorized Personnel Only, Part 2 (43:21)
69. The Awful Truth (40:44)
70. Ice (40:33)
71. Welcome to Liberty Village (41:25)
72. Nocturne (41:51)
73. Detente (40:38)
74. Echoes (42:31)
75. A Man of His World (40:02)
76. The Index (42:23)
77. The Road Home (41:27)
78. The Orphan (41:27)
79. Tuesday (43:20)
80. Nightingale (41:59)
81. Pandora (43:11)
82. Another Mister Sloane (41:59)
83. A Clean Conscience (42:28)
84. Mirage (42:34)
85. In Dreams... (43:04)
86. The Descent (42:48)
87. Search and Rescue (42:53)
88. Before the Flood (43:02)
I was very impressed with the amount and variety of the special features. There
are over four hours worth of bonus material included. There are four audio commentaries
by the cast and creators of the show. Creator J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Garner, Director
and Executive Producer Ken Olin and Executive Producer Sarah Caplan comment on "Authorized Personnel Only, Part 1" and "Authorized Personnel Only, Part 2." They give a lot of behind the scenes details and talk about the production of the episodes. Jennifer Garner left after about 17-18 minutes in the second episode, as she had to film a scene for the end of the season. Executive Producer Jeff Melvoin, Co-Executive Producer Drew Goddard, and Co-Executive Producer/Writer/Director Jeffrey Bell do the commentary for "Ice." They talk about how this was one of the stand-a-lone episodes and about guest star Kelly Macdonald. Supervising Producer and Director Lawrence Trilling, Co-Executive Producer and Writer Jeff Pinker,
and Co-Executive Producer Jesse Alexander provide commentary for "Nocturne." They
talk about how ABC wanted less serialized episodes, about Weiss/Nadia's and
Nadia/Sydney's relationship, and about the shooting locations. All of the commentaries
were entertaining and added to my knowledge of the show. Ken Olin's impersonations
The other special features are found on disc 6. Here is a breakdown:
A Chat with Jennifer Garner (5:56) - Jennifer Garner and Executive Producer Ken Olin
on Location; Night 4, Warehouse Roof - San Pedro, CA - April 26. They talk about Mia
Maestro and how they usually cast somebody for a season and then take them away. They
also talk about Jennifer Garner's directorial debut on the 19th episode of the season:
Meet Mia: Syd's Little Sister (3:38) - Mia Maestro talks about how she had never
done television before. She also talks about how she bonded with Ron Rifkin and
working with the other cast members. She said she won't be returning as a regular,
but will be back for some certain storylines.
Alias Bloopers (11:47) - J.J. Abrams presents the gag reel that they showed at
the season wrap party. Who doesn't love bloopers? These are fun to watch.
Anatomy of a Scene - The Train Fight (6:41) - This scene was from the season
premiere episode. It was an added sequence. It features Kevin Blank (Visual Effects
Supervisor), David Morizot (Fight Coordinator), J.J. Abrams (Creator), and
Shauna Duggins (Stunt Double for Jennifer Garner). I think they did an excellent job
with this scene to make it as realistic looking as possible. The wonders of
Anatomy of a Scene - The Chopper Escape (4:08) - Kevin Blank talks about how
this scene was shot. Jennifer Garner wasn't able to be there, so they used her stunt
double and then put in Jennifer's face and her running scene with a computer.
Deleted Scenes (11:17) - There are 10 deleted scenes included. They are identified only
be scene name. Unfortunately, they don't list which episodes they were deleted from.
Here is the list: Choices (:56), End of An Era (1:29), Taking It Slow (1:15), Ghosts (:31),
Six in the Corner (1:03), Stood Up (:50), Innocent (:41), Checking on Jack (2:23),
Off the Mountain (1:16), A Sister's Escape (:55)
Director's Diary (13:42) - Director Jeffrey Bell goes through the various steps
from the start of an episode to the finish. It starts with breaking the story. ABC
had them do the episodes with a 6 act structure. There also segments on Location Scouting,
Production Begins, and Post-Production and Visual Effects. There are interviews
with Kevin Blank, Assistant Director Sally Sue Lander, Storyboard Artist
Tom O'Neill, Assistant Director Brian O'Kelly, Mia Maestro, and Editor Kristin Wendell.
It's quite a long and elaborate process just to complete a single episode.
Guest Stars of Season 4 (11:40) - This segment features interviews and video clips
from the episodes of various notable guest stars. It includes Joel Grey (Sloane #2),
Gina Torres (Anna Espinosa), Hayden Chase (Angela Bassett), Sonia Braga (Elena Derevko),
and Lena Olin (Irina Derevko).
Marshall's World (11:38) - Kevin Weisman, who plays Marshall Flinkman,
takes you around to various sets and talks to a bunch of people. There are segments
on Meet the Cast, On Location, The Writer's Office, and Train Wreck.
He starts off talking with Director Lawrence Trilling. He then talks
to Victor Garber, Mia Maestro, Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartran, Ron Rifkin,
Carl Lumbly, Greg Grunberg, and J.J. Abrams in Meet the Cast. He's at Santa Anita
Park in On Location and he talks with Director Frederick E.O. Toye. In The Writer's
Office segment, he talks with Jeff Bell, Josh Applebaum, Luke McMullen, Jeff Melvoin
and Sam Humphrey. The last segment is on the band he plays in called Train Wreck.
Agent Weiss' Spy Cam (6:43) - Greg Grunberg shows you some of the digital snapshots that
he has taken of the cast and provides narration for the segment.
This DVD set kicks butt! I became a fan of Alias starting with season four. I'm a big Lost
fan and decided to give Alias a chance, since it aired right after it. I'm glad I did.
I thought I would be confused by the complicated storylines that I had read about previous
seasons, but I found the show pretty easy to follow. I can't say it was beter
or worse than previous seasons, as I've yet to see them. It is a bit sad to
see so many characters that I came to know in season 4 are no longer regulars in season 5.
It almost seems like a completely new show this year. Overall, this is an excellent
release with many special features that add value to the set, and that
you will enjoy whether you are a new or die-hard fan of the series.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/26/05
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