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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: A well thought out script.
My wife has watched this show since the beginning, but I never have as it interfered with my sleep schedule. After recently buying a new DVD player I was anxious to get started watching something. I bought "Alias Season 1" and "Six Feet Under" (which I would also recommend highly). Anyway, my plan was to watch one episode a week, or at most a couple, so I could make it...
Published on November 12, 2003 by Jason K. Rindge

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What the hell?
This show is awesome. I'm rating it 3 stars because of Amazon. I was halfway through the season and Amazon removed it from prime. I guess I should just cancel Prime and go back to Netflix where I can get it and much more. Not a smart business decision when you're trying to compete with Netflix. Morons.
Published 6 months ago by Bon Jovi

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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: A well thought out script., November 12, 2003
My wife has watched this show since the beginning, but I never have as it interfered with my sleep schedule. After recently buying a new DVD player I was anxious to get started watching something. I bought "Alias Season 1" and "Six Feet Under" (which I would also recommend highly). Anyway, my plan was to watch one episode a week, or at most a couple, so I could make it last. So I'm thinking I can get through the 22 or so episodes in 10 weeks. Try 2.
Thats right! I would watch like three a day. I was addicted. Conversations in my house sounded something like this...
"Honey, come eat dinner."
"No, I'm watching Alias."
"Honey, help me with the groceries."
"No, I'm watching Alias."
"Honey, I'm pregnant."
"Wow, thats great, we'll talk later, I'm watching Alias."
I'm really serious. Every episode would end on such a cliffhanger you had to see at least the beginning of the next episode. But then the middle was so good you wanted to see how it would develope. But then another darn cliffhanger and you were locked in the cycle for good.
I can't wait for Season 2. I pre-ordered it at 3 in the morning because that was a minute after I finished Season 1. I'm thinking about starting AA (Alias Anonymous) until I can get my fix.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning -- But watch at your own peril, December 3, 2003
Xin Li (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
Part I: The show
Yes, that's right, watch at your own peril! This show is so superb that after watching it, you will be forced to judge all other shows by the same standards.
First, its plot lines and story development are among the most organic. Most shows are fresh for only the first season. Soon, their plot lines settle into predictable patterns. Alias keeps everything fresh. You can never be sure what will come next. What you think you know, you don't. Every episode reveals just a few more crisscrossing threads of a gigantic tapestry. What seems like an insignificant side note from half a season ago will come back when you least expect it to deliver the biggest shock of your life. On most shows, the primary cast stays fixed. An established character rarely leaves the show. On the few rare occasions they do, it's a big deal. In the ever mercurial world of Alias, audiences see old, well established characters leave, to be replaced with new invigorating characters. Yet, despite the show's constant metamorphosis, a cohesive theme run through it all so there is no doubt you are still watching the same show. Like a person, this show evolves from season to seasons.
But what is a good story without the cast and crew to bring it to life. Here too, Alias outshines all the rest. Jennifer Garner is absolutely brilliant as Sidney Bristow. It would be so easy for her to fall prey to playing an invulnerable supergirl. Instead, she strikes a masterful balance between Sidney, the girl next door, and Agent Bristow, international ass kicker. It is not her spin kicks but her human struggles which has endeared us all.
Victor Garber, too, deserves many accolades for his portrayal of Jack Bristow, Sidney's father. At a glance, Jack appears to be the strategic, unemotional, calculating tactician. Yet, beneath the veneer lies a tortured father struggling to hold his fragile family together in a world determined to pull them apart. His love for Sidney is undeniable. Yet his circumstances compel him to silence. Only an actor as talented as Victor could rise up to the challenge of embodying the complex subtleties of Jack Bristow. The same is true of Ron Rifkin who plays Arvin Sloane, a man who is mostly evil, and yet has just a shred of humanity buried deep within the chasm of his blackened soul. And who could forget Lena Olin, who played Sidney's mother. Her performances with Victor Garber were absolutely electrifying. Even the guest stars are a veritable list of who's who in the Hollywood community. In two seasons audiences have been blessed by performances from Quentin Terrentino, Terry O Quinn, and Faye Dunaway. The show just wouldn't be the same without such a superb cast. Yet excellence does not stop there, it permeates every aspect of the show.
Unlike most television shows, the production of Alias rivals that of many feature films. Common are the incredible chase sequences, helicopter raids, and pulse pounding martial arts duals. Everything is always kept fresh. For example, many fight choreographies take into account Sidney's surroundings so that she may use objects around her to defeat her enemies. You will just have to see it to believe it.
Part II: The DVD Set
The season two DVD comes in a slightly nicer package than Season 1. The graphics designs on the cover and inside shows more sophistication and maturity. Like its predecessor, season 2 comes with all 22 episodes in anamorphic wide screen, with Dolby Digital Surround. The video transfer is crisp and clear, like season 1.
Where the Season 2 DVD set excels is with the extras. First, this DVD set comes with four episodes with commentary. The episodes are:
Phase One, with commentary by JJ Abrams, Jennifer Garner, Greg Grunsberg, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber.
A Dark Turn, with commentary by Ken Olin, and a few others .
Second Double (episode 21) with commentary by Carl Llumbly, Ron Rifkin, Kevin Weissman, and a few I may have missed.
The Telling (episode 22) with commentary by JJ Abrams, among others.
Of the 4 commentary episodes, Second Double was the funniest one. The Telling was perhaps the most informative, because JJ spoke a lot about where he was going with the episode.
Additionally, Commentary for Phase One included a blooper sequence for the fight between Sidney and one of the security guards on the air plane. Commentary for the telling included an alternative scene for Sidney's reaction to her being missing for two years.
Documentary on "The Telling" was very extensive, covering everything through post production and music composition. You get an inside look at the major stunts such as Lena Olin jumping off the building and the fight sequence between Sidney and evil Francie. At 45 minutes, it's very good and worth watching.
The Look of Alias segment delves into the costume design and make up for Sidney's countless distinctive looks.
Included are also 7 deleted scenes, some of which interesting, others just so so.
The blooper reel was much improved from Season 1. Season 1 was a bit short. This one was 5 minutes, two minutes longer than season 1. It also included far funnier moments, in my opinion.
There are also four radio interviews with the cast of Alias (Jen, Victor, JJ and Eric).
There are of course some other extras, but they are not really worth mentioning. All in all, this was an excellent package, and well worth your money.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great show., September 27, 2003
Season two started out normally enough. Syndey Bristow is a double agent for the CIA working to take down SD-6, an organization she joined believing that they were part of the CIA but in fact was pure evil.
Jennifer Garner as Sydney makes you believe in the set-up. Victor Garber, used better here than in the first season, is terrific as Sydney's fellow double agent dad. The addition of Lena Olin as Sydney's long thought dead mother was a stroke of pure genius. The scenes between Garber and Olin are electric.
Things went along very well for about half the season, then everything changed. In one episode, the entire writer's bible for the series had to be re-written. It's surprising they even kept the series title. Just as the shock value of that wore off, they did it again in the season finale with a couple lines at the end.
This season is not to be missed for fans of the series, the stars, or of good acting.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unraveling plans within plans in a gloriously twisted series, December 22, 2003
First off, kudos to the producers of this show for getting out the complete second season of "Alias" out so quickly after the first and pretty much in time for the start of repeats from the show's current third season. For those of us who came aboard with the celebrated post Super Bowl episode (""), this has helped fill in the whole back story on Sydney's mom and pop, how Francie became Allison, and the rest of the intrigue from the critically acclaimed ABC series (a way of saying the Nielsen ratings are not in relationship to the quality of the show). They might have used "" to reel in new viewers, but "Alais" is about so much more than Jennifer Garner in lingerie (or red wigs, or whatever new look they come up with each week).

When last we left double-agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) at the end of the Complete First Season she had just discovered that "The Man" was really her mom, Irina Derevko, who is played by Lena Olin. This casting just underscores the strong supporting cast, which has heavyweights Ron Rifkin (Arvin Sloane) and Victor Garber (Jack Bristow) stealing scenes from all the kiddies right and left. With Derevko added to the mix along with SD-6 and the Rambaldi artifacts, things are even more convoluted and confusing, which is half the fun. The characters do not really know what is going on, so why should the audience expect to be in a better position? The short answer is that they should not, and be challenged by this rewarding series would be a good thing worth treasuring. The other half of the fun here is the speculation as to what is going on and what might happen next.

While Sydney is having fun with mom and dad (the family that shoots automatic weapons together has successful missions to India together), other members of the supporting cast come into their own, most notably the season's roller coaster ride for Will Tippin (Bradley Cooper) and the world coming crashing down on Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbley) not once, but twice. Even Marshall (Kevin Weisman) has his moments of glory, and special recognition goes to Terry O'Quinn as FBI Assistant Director Kendall for being a master of exposition. Still, I have to admit that the two most compelling characters were Arvin Sloane and Irina Derevko. As much as Sloane's place in the Alliance matters, both his wife (Amy Irving) and the Rambaldi artifacts matter more, and he finally proves himself a criminal mastermind. But with Derevko "Alias" has its ultimate wildcard, because you know everything out of her life is half-truth and half-lie, and even when the dust is settled from each of her escapades you are still never really clear as to which is which.

It makes perfect sense that at the end of the first season I thought that Sydney cried a lot for somebody that was Jack Bristow's daughter and at the end of the second I was wondering how our heroine was Irina Derevko's daughter. You have to admit, that in any given episode Sydney cries more than her parents have in their combined life. I mean for Jack Bristow becoming enraged is cutting off Marshall in the middle of one of his circular speeches. Still, for those of us going through withdrawal from the demise of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," I have to admit that "Alias" helps fill the void, especially with one of the more unique cliffhangers ending this second season as creator Jeffrey Abrams found a creative way of keeping Sydney and Vaughn (Michael Vartan) apart (at least, on camera). The DVD extras are decent, with outtakes, featurettes, and a few commentary tracks where the cast and crew admire their work.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Alias, October 19, 2003
By A Customer
I only recently started watching Alias. I had seen advertisements for Season 1 on DVD and it looked like a pretty good show. So I went to a website and read summaries of every episode so I would be caught up for the Season 3 premiere. After watching the first two episodes of Season 3, I realized that this show is AMAZING!
So I immediately went out and bought Season 1 and I am so addicted to it! I can't stop watching these episodes! First of all, the soundtrack is amazing...the music adds so much to the show. The plots are always so suspenseful and almost always end with a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. I just can't believe that I hadn't discovered the show earlier, since it quickly became my favorite show ever! It's almost too tough to wait an entire week to see a new episode.
Fortunately, Alias is so good that you can watch these episodes over and over again and they'll never get boring; there's always something new to find. I was so excited though to hear that the Second Season would be released soon! I know the summary of each episode, but that's nothing compared to see the action on tv! I really cannot wait to buy season 2, because it is so full of suspense, especially the season finale!
(...)It will addict you so quickly it is not even funny. The acting is superb and added to the music, you get a perfect show. It's a shame that this show doesn't get more recognition, because it's the best show out there!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best show on the face of the earth, November 28, 2003
By A Customer
Once i thought that TV shows were second to movies. I thought that the amount of time and effort was the same, but in TV the effort amount of love put into the piece of art was split up between literally hundreds of shows. I thought wrong. This TV show blows me away with LITERALLY movie quality stunts, plots, acting, special effects, and mind bending twists that is unequaled in the world of TV today. I still cannot figure out how this TV show can even exist, considering the amount of time and money it must take to make each show, and to be able to turn out literrally dozens of them a season?? Its mindblowing, the cost of the show must be higher than anything else ever put on TV! This show is unparrelled, and unbelievable. I am still in awe at the first season, and i am looking forward to the next one, im sure i will not be able to stop watching it much like the first. Once again, you will be AMAZED at the quality of this show. Some day i will figure out how they manage to make this show such quality in the little amount of time they have between shows, but for the time being i will just sit back and enjoy one of the most exciting shows on TV today.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Converting Everyone...., November 20, 2003
S. Greenberg (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
I started watching ALIAS when my friends wouldn't stop talking about it in the midst of Season 1. Now, in my freshman year of college, I bought the first season, and thought I would introduce my roomates to it. Needless to say, we spent (literally) 3 1/2 days watching ALIAS! We could barely break for dinner! Its such an incredible show, with its intricate details, superb acting, and phenomenal plots! It is truly a must see television show. I don't have time to watch much TV, but everyone knows that, on Sundays at 9, everyone in my room and others are watching ALIAS. No questions - ALIAS is awesome!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review based on TV, October 29, 2003
Season 2 smoothly picked up from where the previous season ended - the meeting between Sydney & her mom. Some personalities were given more depth & character in this series, such as Jack, Dorevko, & to a point Sloane. They are all human, with their own strengths & flaws. Some characters also present in Season 1 were given more active role like Will, Francine & Stark. Of course, not to mention the exciting development in the various relationships among our characters, which ended in a great 'twist' in this season's last episode. Truly a cliffhanger, which leaves its viewers anxiously waiting for Season 3 to be shown on air.
The only drawback in watching this series in TV is the presence of commercials, which come during the most exciting cuts. I highly recommend to view this series in video, for non-stop viewing. Surely, I will watch all episodes again as soon as I get hold of my Season 2 video.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No sophomore slump for ALIAS, August 20, 2004
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Like many ALIAS fans, I have a slight preference for Season One, though only slight. I think the show lost a bit of direction immediately following the destruction of the dreaded SD-6, and I continue to think that the killing of Frenchie and replacing her with Allison was a wretched mistake, but despite that, the show kept up the action, ratcheted up the plot tension, and maintained an exceptionally high level of writing and production. One of the finest things of Season Two was the presence of Lena Olin as Sydney's mother. Is there a more beautiful woman near the age of fifty on planet earth? Tragically, Ms. Olin has declined to return to the show either as a regular either in Season Three or the upcoming Season Four. One only hopes that she will change her mind. She manages to imbue Irina Derevko with a host of both known and unknown qualities. Even after an entire season of seeing her in action, we remains a profound mystery, despite our confidence that she really does love her daughter.

Despite the couple of bumps mentioned above, the show hits on all eight cylinders all season long. Many TV series relay on a fair amount of filler, but virtually every scene in ever episode either advances the story or provides scintillating action. Although I still prefer BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (easily the major influence on the show as a whole--once could write a long review on the resemblances between the two shows) for its superior dialogue (indeed, with perhaps the exception of the first season of WEST WING, no show can rival BUFFY for its talk) and perpetual focus on human emotion rather than action (in BUFFY, the action is always subservient to the emotions, while in ALIAS the action often takes on a life of its own), I would be willing to argue that ALIAS is perhaps the finest action show of all time. By the way, another parallel between BUFFY and ALIAS is that technology functions in ALIAS the exact same way that magic does in BUFFY: when introduced, regardless of how unexplained or improbable the magic or technology is, the purpose is to advance the plot.

The members of the cast shine even brighter in Season Two, as they all seem to become comfortable in their roles. What is amazing is that no one seems to flag or encounter dead spots, regardless of the demands made upon him or her. The guest stars are simply outstanding, as well as being far better known than is typical in a television series. Amy Irving, Quentin Tarantino, Christian Slater, Ethan Hawke, and many others all enhance an already outstanding cast. Tarantino in particular is absolutely perfect for the show, and one regrets that his other activities stands in the way of his being a more persistent presence in the show. He will return, thankfully, in Season Three.

All in all, ALIAS remains a refreshing exception to the usual TV fare, a happy alternative to the endless procedural cop shows. Although showing on ABC, one would swear that it was a FOX creation, though since FOX cancels most of its best shows before they get off the ground (e.g., FIREFLY, WONDERFALLS). It remains edgy, original, and very, very slick, and one of the very few shows on TV worth paying attention to.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lena Olin Dominates Season Two, January 3, 2005
Henry Perkins (Santa Clara, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Series creator J.J. Abrams scored a coup when he got international movie star Lena Olin to sign on for the second season of "Alias". Playing the long-lost KGB agent mother of Sydney Bristow (series star Jennifer Garner), Olin adopted many of Garner's mannerisms (including gait, a slowly widening smile, and a distinctive tucking of her long hair behind one ear) to imply an inherited bond deeper than a 20-year absence would normally signify.

To these Garneresque traits Olin added a fanatical focus on her (obscure) goals. If you've seen "Romeo is Bleeding" you'll know just how intense Olin can be. But instead of the manic glee of the movie's Mona Demarkov, in "Alias" Olin has the calm intensity of a Zen master. She can be sitting, perfectly still, and still project deadly menace.

Irina Derevko, Lena Olin's character, is pivotal from the very start of the season. Walking out of the shadows we (and Sydney) first see her face. Sydney says "Mom?" -- and Irina calmly shoots her daughter.

I won't go into great detail to avoid spoiling the ride for all you current (or potential) "Alias" fans. But it's thrilling to watch Irina Derevko promoting her mysterious agenda, with the audience and Sydney never knowing exactly where her allegiances lie. There's the usual plotline driven by creepily avuncular bad guy Arvin Sloan and his quest for the workings of 15th century prophet Milo Rambaldi. The series changes direction halfway through with the SuperBowl episode. And of course Sydney Bristow continues to be slicker than James Bond, but she's being steered by her mother's invisible strings more often than not this time around. If you want to know just how a superagent like Sydney Bristow can come to be, Lena Olin as her cooler-than-ice mother is the perfect recipe. It's a shame Abrams couldn't get Olin to return for Season Three.

Notable guest stars for Season Two include Terry O'Quinn, Patricia Wettig, Amy Irving, Derek de Lint, Faye Dunaway, Angus Scrimm, Olivia D'Abo, Ethan Hawke, Christian Slater, and Tracy Middendorf.

Season Two of "Alias": Highly Recommended.
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Alias: Season 2
Alias: Season 2 by Craig Zisk (DVD - 2009)
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