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124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually 4 1/2 Stars
The Final Season / The Last Stand

By the time the fifth season of `Alias' came onto the airwaves, the fans knew something was up: Jennifer Garner had suddenly become a box-office actress (and a soon-to-be mother), J.J. Abrams had his hands full with `Lost' and `Mission Impossible 3,' and the series was finally starting to show signs of its age (which included...
Published on July 30, 2006 by T. Stewart

versus
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Real Alias
If you are considering purchasing the 5th Season, you're probably just trying to complete your Alias collection, right? So if that's the case, please do, but if not, you may want to reconsider. Alias is one of my all time favorite T.V. series, and during the first two seasons, it was arguably the best show on television. But, with season 5 we have to put it in context of...
Published on December 30, 2006 by Chris D. Conway


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124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually 4 1/2 Stars, July 30, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
The Final Season / The Last Stand

By the time the fifth season of `Alias' came onto the airwaves, the fans knew something was up: Jennifer Garner had suddenly become a box-office actress (and a soon-to-be mother), J.J. Abrams had his hands full with `Lost' and `Mission Impossible 3,' and the series was finally starting to show signs of its age (which included a rather large dip in the ratings), and it came to no surprise really when Abrams and Garner jointly announced that the show would not return pass its May Finale.

Despite the fact that the show now had an expiration date (and the episode order was cut from 23 to 17), Garner and company seemed to get really into these last episodes, giving them everything they had and actually brought the quality back to the early years. Early in the season the regular cast went through a large overhale, getting rid of two older characters and bringing in four fresh-faced rookies... And with the new cast (and the storyline of Sidney growing up and becoming a mother) brought some much needed new blood into the series.

In the form of a plot this final year focus's mainly on Syndey Bristow growing up and learning about all the responsibility's that come with life. She was thrown a heavy and heart-wrenching curve in the first season, and throughout the entire season she feels the repercussions from it, realizing that she is not invincible, she isn't as young as she used to be, and that her actions affect more people than just herself. So Sydney kinda moves into a mentoring position training and working with two new members to APO, and essentially passing the reigns off to them (it was mentioned that if the show had gone to a sixth season, Garner would have left the show and these characters would have become the main focus).

Since this is a final season, that means that included is not only the series finale, but the 100th episode as well. With only 17 episodes, the 100th episode was the fifth from the last and essientially served as a `reboot' for the series taking the story from the first 12 episodes and bringing it into the home stretch... especially by bringing back old foes and friends including Sark, Anna, Will, and a few other 'surprise' returns... while the final 4 episode successfully tied up 99% of the loose ends left throughout the series, by the final episode the audience was still left a little confused, but I think in a good way, because if this show proved anything it was that nobody really understands what is going on in their own life.

Season five, while not as strong as the first two season's is definitely a step-above the third and fourth seasons, and highly recommended. Note also that on the same day a "complete series" set will be coming out, so if you don't have any of the episodes, that might be the way to go...
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58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Real Alias, December 30, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
If you are considering purchasing the 5th Season, you're probably just trying to complete your Alias collection, right? So if that's the case, please do, but if not, you may want to reconsider. Alias is one of my all time favorite T.V. series, and during the first two seasons, it was arguably the best show on television. But, with season 5 we have to put it in context of the circumstances going on outside of the show: Jennifer Garner (Sydney) was dating Michael Vartan (Vaughan), and after breaking up, she married Ben Affleck-- and became pregnant with Affleck's child. This was devastating for Alias Season 5. Firstly, because of this Vartan (Michael Vaughan) the crucial co-star left the show...some reports had it that Affleck didn't want him working with Jennifer- but who knows the real story, perhaps it was too difficult working with his ex-Jennifer while she was pregnant with another's child-- it wasn't as if he left the show to go do another project. Secondly, the action scenes for Sydney Bristow's character were severely limited due to Jennifer's fully pregnant figure, causing another crucial aspect of the show to vanish as well. Thirdly, Greg Grunberg, who plays Agent Weiss, left the show to pursue another opportunity and was written off, and Ken Olin, the primary Director for many of the classic Alias episodes directs only the first episode of Season 5, his last one-- most likely to kick the season off on a good note at least. Add to this mess the fact that creator of Alias and core spirit of the great first two seasons, J.J. Abrams, was preoccupied with his new projects Lost and MI:3, and you have the essential causes of what happened to Alias in Season 5, which is a complete unravelling of the great show.

As for season 5's shows themselves-- consider, also due to Vartan's and Grunberg's departure (Vaughan and Weiss), were the additions of characters Agent Rachael Gibson and Thomas Grace, who were brought in to fill the Character Void of Weiss and Vaughan, and to add a new romance aspect back into Alias replacing that of Weiss/Nadia, and Sydney/Vaughan. The fan base was not very receptive to these new characters and the replacement is hollow, falling far short of the original cast and storyline that Alias fans had grown to love. We do not feel for these characters at all, and instead of enjoying them, they're a constant reminder of the characters who aren't there. To cap it off, Season 5 was cut short by 5 or 6 episodes by producers, the proof in the pudding, causing the orignal planned series ending and storyline to be significanlty altered for the worse. They were forced to try and tie things up too quickly, and what we the fans are left with, is an unsatisfying, poorly wrapped up swansong for the great series. After the first two seasons, and good but not great seasons 3 and 4, this Season 5 debacle is not how Alias deserved to go out!

Now not looking at it so critically, there is enough of the true Alias in Season 5 to make it enjoyable for most viewers-- for all it's troubles it's still better than most shows, and I would even say so for the long time fans of the show as well, albeit just a shadow of its former self. For me who loved the show, it's just too big of a disappointment in a lot of ways (many mentioned above). Alias was a great Spy World created by J.J. Abrams, that had me fully enraptured, and it could very easily have turned into one of Television's All Time Classics, with overpowering potential and calling to be spun into feature films. But Alias turned into a Has Been, and that is a shame.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alias, like "Rambaldi", goes on forever ( in our hearts), October 11, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
As an addicted Alias fan, I can say that I have watched every episode of all five seasons (some numerous times), and I do not find some of the incongruities in season five that others have commented on. For example, how can any of us forget Sydney's tirade to Vaughan in the beginning of season 3, when she tells him that if he had been the one that had "died", she would have waited and believed? From that moment on, anything that happened to Vaughan (such as his supposed death in season 5)or Sydney could not be considered out of reach for this show. I mourned for Sydney's loss of Vaughan like anyone else, but I was not disappointed for the way it was handled. Michael Vartan could not be replaced in this show any more than John Ritter could be replaced in "Eight Rules". Yes, I found that Rachel Nichols and Balthazar Getty added little to the show, but that wasn't their fault. They were treading in shoes that could not be filled by other characters. I LOVED the SPYGRANDPA Jack moments, such as when watching his baby granddaughter (and in his usual deadpan)saying "Apparently I'm funny". David Anders "Sark" was underused in season 5 but was fabulous when he was used. He showed a glimmer of humanity after his tryst with a certain agent. Loved that! Through all the twists and turns, Alias always stayed true to the family dynamics, (skewed as they were in this show). If the show had revealed Irina or Sloane different than the way they ended up, those would have been incongruous plot twists. I absolutely recommend season 5, all seasons of Alias are by far the best of the best shows on television. You must watch them all, in order preferably! Thanks to all of you involved in Alias for providing great, high quality entertainment!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad End to a Wonderful Show, March 22, 2007
By 
Jason Rinka (Wilmington, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
I've been an Alias fan since the first episode. I loved the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seasons, and was looking forward to a graceful, satisfying wrap up to the overall story of the series. No such luck.

Season 5 is a mess from beginning to end. It's still Alias- there are still glimpses here and there of what the show used to be- but it's as if all imagination and life has been sucked out of it.

I don't know how much of it was due to Garner's pregnancy (the entire storyline of which is unbearable for multiple reasons which I won't go into here because of the spoilage factor). I don't know how much of the failure stemmed from the fact that, like some are speculating about Lost, Abrahms and company are great at starting stories but not so great at ending them. It never feels like there's a clear direction anywhere in this season. The plot twists, for lack of a better term, are cheap and manipulative in the extreme. One particular moment, about halfway-2/3rds through the season, sent me digging into the DVD case, convinced I'd missed at least an entire episode. Nope, I hadn't. I almost stopped watching then and there- it was one of the most egregious betrayals of a viewer's trust as you're likely to see.

The bottom line is, I wouldn't hate this season so much if I didn't love the show and care about the characters. In retrospect, I wish I'd have done what I would recommend any other fan do that hasn't made it this far- let it end with Season 4 and good memories.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alias, the Fifth and Final Year: Disappointing but Satisfying, August 18, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
Warning: This review contains references to very specific plot points during the season. These could be considered spoilers to those of you who've not yet watched this season and wish to remain unaware of what happens.

Alias has been my favorite show since it started in 2001, and up until its very last moment, I would have cancelled any meeting or skipped any class to make sure I got to watch. Its fun marriage of spy thriller action and serialized family drama (plus the unique addition of Rambaldi, the mysterious 15th Century prophet whose works play a key role in characters lives) was a perfect combination, and the show got so many things really right. And, as illustrated during this season, a few things really wrong.

In retrospect, Alias lost sight of The Bigger Picture after season two, but it continued to entertain and move forward, always leaving some hope that answers were on the way and mysteries would be solved. As long as the show had a future, I remained annoyingly optimistic that the writers would find a satisfying way to tie everything together: The Rambaldi mystery, Irina's role, the missing two years and fulfillment of The Prophecy, etcetera. With season 5, the time had come for the show to make good on its promising potential...or not.

Season 5, the final season, is by far the weakest of the show's run. The first handful of episodes all struggle to illustrate even mediocre stories and ideas. Perhaps this is because the writers, even knowing this to be their final year, unwisely decided to introduce three new main characters in order to divert attention away from Garner's real-life pregnancy (read: Garner/Sydney's inability to don sexy outfits and jump off the roofs of 30-story buildings). The most offensive of these additions is the character of Rachel Gibson, played by the banal and boring Rachel Nichols. Her character was meant to be a parallel of Sydney, a smart and capable spywoman who finds her entire spyworld is backwards, wrong, and evil. Instead of honoring the image of Sydney, however, Rachel only reminds viewers that there is only one Sydney Bristow and only one actress to play her.

The list of wrongs committed extends from there. The new characters constantly distract from the original premise and character dynamics of the show. At one point, the writers actually attempt to take Sydney out of the center of the plot and put Rachel in her place (skanky dress and all). For the best illustration of this, see episode "Solo." Balthazar Getty's character matches the blandness of Rachel's, and he adds no intrigue or interest to any of the stories in which he is involved. This becomes painfully clear during the last half of the season as we are introduced to an "Agent Grace (Getty) has a dark secret and mysterious past" plot that eats up massive amounts of valuable time. The only addition that merits any praise whatsoever is Elodie Boucher as Renee Riene, a beautiful and attitudinal outlaw, and who it is revealed was a longtime friend and collaborator of "Michael Vaughn." Of course, Boucher's character is severely underused, leaving viewers to wonder what the point of having her around was. Had they written more for her and ignored the Blonde Boob (Rachel), things would have been much better.

In addition to throwing useless characters into an already complicated (some might say "convoluted") story, the writers commit sins across the board. Among the chief offenses:

1. Killing off "Michael Vaughn" just to bring him back (through flashback/fantasy and through "Gotcha! We fooled ya! He wasn't really dead!"-type storylines) due to fan demand and the realization that Sydney needs her soul mate.

2. The writers come up with the astoundingly exciting and well-fitting idea of using Project Helix to clone Sydney (with ANNA ESPINOZA as the procedure's (un)lucky volunteer!!!) in order to fulfill the Prophecy. However, they obliterate the arc before it even has the chance to play out. Such a disappointing climax on so many levels: No Prophecy fulfillment, no battle between Syd and EvilSyd (as foreshadowed in Season 3), and no battle period...Just a few easy bullets to kill the best story idea the show had all year).

3. Though it was clear they were trying, the Rambaldi resolution was less a resolution and more of an unclear, bogged-down headscratcher.

4. We were fortunate enough to see Lena Olin (Irina) pop up throughout the season, and while all of her scenes were incredible, I find that the writers' ultimate handling of her character (read: demonizing of) was tasteless and illogical.

5. Ignoring Nadia (could she not have stepped in to fill the role of "sexy spy" in place of newcomer Rachel?). Bringing her back just long enough to kill her (a highly offensive end to an unfortunately underused character).

6. 17 episodes. You'd think since I'm here writing about the diminished quality of the show I'd be glad the season was shortened. However, the smaller batch of episodes is, in my opinion, a huge detriment to what could have been a better season. With 5 less hours to explain and tie everything up, viewers can definitely feel the rushed quality of the story arcs. The pacing of the season is ruined, with a strong (mostly) second-half attempting to balance out a slow, uninspired first-half.

So, you may wonder, then why the high rating? Well, simply because I couldn't bring myself to rate it less. Though there are some plot holes to leap over, some characters to ignore, and some resolution left wanting, this is still an integral part of the series. And it is not without its strengths. In the last hour of the show the writers get several things right with respect to Sloane. Sydney revenges the deaths of Danny and Francie as she fires her gun empty into a maniacal Sloane. Though his death is short-lived, his ultimate fate is even more appropriate. I get chills when I think of GhostNadia walking out to leave him alone for eternity. The previously mentioned storyline of EvilSyd was pure genius while it lasted. The show's big Episode 100 (the brilliantly titled "There's Only One Sydney Bristow") was among the best they have produced, with great returning favorites (Will and Anna Espinoza) and a humorous, action-packed story.

At its worst, Alias is a confused but still entertaining show with good intentions. At its best, Alias is thrilling, shocking, moving and innovative. Season 5 illustrates both sets of qualities, and gives a decent, though not totally satisfying, closing to a show that I will sorely miss every Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, at 9, 8, and sometimes 10 p.m., respectively. I wonder where we'd be if ABC had treated it even slightly better...
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44 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of One of TV's Best, August 6, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
Five seasons is a good amount for a TV show, but I wish this final season hadn't been shortened and was instead the full 22-24 episodes that a show normally gets. I also think a show like "Alias" could've gone on longer, but I'm very pleased at the way they wrapped things up. It seemed like an impossible task with all of the history and loose ends this show accumulated over five seasons. I give them credit for the wonderful job they did. The last few episodes of the show are excellent. I loved the finale, even though my absolute favorite character died. What a way to go, though--out with a bang! I also loved the way Sloane finally got what he deserved--in a way I never imagined, and that enough of the story was left open so that we could still imagine what our favorite characters would be up to if the story continued. All in all, a great final season for a wonderfully creative show that was so well-written and well-acted. Sydney Bristow will always be one of the best female characters in television history. She is so much more than just a kick-butt female spy. Her strength is not in her ability to fight, but in her intelligence and grace and the way she always followed her heart. That's what makes a truly heroic character.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It Just Doesn't Work, December 20, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
First off, I guess I should address what a few others have already mentioned -- yes the box is incredibly ugly. When I first saw it a couple of months ago, I thought it was just a promotional poster. But no, sure enough, they used this awful design for the box. I can't complain about the smaller size because at least the height's the same as seasons 3 and 4, and there is only 4 discs in this collection as opposed to the typical 6.

Now to my original observation, it just doesn't work. I found myself watching the first half of this season thinking, "Why did they do this to this show?" Anyone who's watched ALIAS up to this point knows that the first two seasons were absolutely fantastic, season 3 was a disaster, and season 4 was all but pointless. More of the same from season 4 here. New characters introduced who have an interest factor of zero. I enjoy Balthazar Getty as an actor, but by episode 6, I realized I still had no idea what his character's name was. Perhaps worst of all, the Irina Derevko plot line was down right insulting to any faithful follower of the show down the years. How do you just change a character's persona like that when you were clearly shooting for the exact opposite in previous seasons? Sometimes "shock value" has a price.

There are many other dynamics I'd discuss but I don't won't to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen the fifth season. Some may like it, and it does semi-redeem itself post-episode 100. But to me, all in all, seasons 3 through 5 never lived up to the first two installments and that's a shame because those two years were TV at its finest. Too bad J.J. Abrams moved on to LOST and MI: 3. He had some magic with this show.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disastrous, December 16, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
There is absoluting nothing redeeming about this season. It has become a pale shadow of the great, great first and second seasons, and collapses into unintentional selfparody.

This is partially due to circumstances: Michael Vartan leaving/not leaving the show makes a mockery of the emotional throughline, Jennifer Garner's pregnancy means that she is no longer available as action heroine for a part of the season. Unfortunately the characters brought in to 'replace' her (partially) are dull and shallow (with the exception of Elodie Bouchez) and we never get the opportunity to become emotionally attached to them.

The new evil organization Prophet 5 falters towards the end, the Sloane saga becomes completely ridiculous, and Irina Derevko is back - but they'd better kept her out of the series, because her actions make no sense and cheapen a fascinating character.

Add to this not a single memorable action scene, clumsy plotting, bad special effects, idiotic behavior by the lead characters (time and time again), an unsatisfactory ending to the Rambaldi legend, and you are left with a barely watchable mess. Small wonder ABC didn't want to sign off for an entire 22 episode run. Alias started out on an all-time high, and gradually started a downward slide which turned into an avalanche. And all because the strength of the original concept was lost along the way: an everyday girl-next-door is actually Jane Bond. The mixture of (good) soap and outlandish spy capers, with the promise of an huge epic story unfolding in the background (the mystery of Rambaldi and the shadowy organization(s) chasing down his legacy) made Alias special. By almost completely jettisoning the 'real' part of the series (Syd's daily life and non-spy oriented concerns), it lost its true spark of genius.

Extras on this set are sparse (four commentaries and about an hour of uninteresting featurettes). Most of the more indepth extras about the season are to be found on the extra disk in the limited edition set.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You and I have gotten pretty good at impossible", August 1, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
Michael Vaughn consoles Sydney in the series finale, and truer words have never been spoken. Since the series' debut 5 years ago, Alias has defied expectation, shattered gender roles, and made us all believe that anything is possible.

This season, especially, is a true testament to the genius of these writers and actors. Going into year 5, the show had something huge to prove - that they could work with Jennifer's pregnancy and still produce riveting, exciting, and exceptional stories. And they did. Better, even, than the previous two seasons had.

The story arc for season 5 revolves around the agency behind the death of Vaughn's father... and Vaughn's own murder. Prophet Five - a global terror network with dealings close to those of SD-6 and the Alliance. Over the coarse of 30 years, Prophet Five has based their organization on the texts of a 15th century prophet, and now, they have embedded themselves with 12 worldwide government agencies.

With Vaughn gone, Sydney (along with new recruits Rachel and Tom, and Vaughn's old collaborator, Renee) must discover this group's endgame, and learn how to destroy them before it is too late. Not only are they ruthless and violent, they are smart. Everywhere Sydney goes they have men... even inside the CIA. Amy Acker joins the cast, and provides an Anna to Rachel's Sydney (funny, because Anna also turns up as an agent of Prophet Five).

Jack is weary of Sloane throughout the season. Sloane, who has cut a deal with Prophet Five in order to obtain Nadia's cure, begins to discover that his Rambaldi-obsession may not be over after all. And the consequences of that weigh heavily on one character especially...

As the season comes to a close, Prophet Five's endgame becomes clear. Characters series-spanning agenda's finally come to light, and betrayals and murder from the past seem like nothing compared to what is happening now. Will returns for the fantastic and playful 100th episode, "Theres Only One Sydney Bristow" (written as a tribute to both Jennifer and her character), as Sark and Irina both appear in several episodes throughout the season.

Season 5, and the series as a whole, clearly has its faults - but in the end it triumphs. This set is for sure a must-have for all fans, and I highly recommend the series to anyone who has not yet seen it. The characters are real, and the situations are exciting and fresh... Alias rocks.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars for the season, 2 stars for the dvd release, December 9, 2006
This review is from: Alias - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
"Alias" is one of my favorite shows - even in its weakest it was excellent compared to nearly every other show on broadcast television. The fifth season, while reinventing the show again, is highly entertaining, exciting, and thrilling, and I recommend that anyone watch it.

However, I have serious, serious problems with this DVD release. I do not actually own it, because I bought the far superior Rambaldi box complete collection (all five Alias seasons in one). But I have seen the season five release and it's terrible. Out of all five DVD releases, it is the ugliest box. The promo picture is horrible, the green cover doesn't go well at all with the other seasons, and the big words "FINAL SEASON" is simply tacky. The box is nowehere in size to the other releases either, it's what feels like less than half an inch thick. This has been a major problem for me as well, with Alias - Buena Vista changes the packaging for each season. It's very annoying.

Also, the special features are nothing. A few interesting features, but overall the supplements are very weak for the final season. The entire thing feels rushed and botched, like no one CARED that this was the last season of such a beloved series.

If you can afford it, I highly urge you to invest in the complete collection. It's very well done and put together (although it DOES have it's flaws) and has a bonus disc of extras that are very informative and fun to watch. However, only 40,000 are being made so supplies are limited.
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Alias - The Complete Fifth Season
Alias - The Complete Fifth Season by Jennifer Garner (DVD - 2006)
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