|Alias - The Complete Fourth Season
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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 addictive 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.
True to form, at the beginning of its fourth season J.J. Abrams' Alias proceeded to reinvent itself yet again--and the results looked quite a bit like the first season, but with a decided twist. Super agent Sydney Bristow (Emmy nominee Jennifer Garner) found herself once more working for a covert secret-ops group that was "off the books" and headed up by Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin) as she was partnered with... Hey, wait, wasn't Sloane a bad guy before? Well, yes, he was, but having been "rehabilitated" from his evil ways, he's now Sydney's new boss--nevermind the fact that he's trampled all over her life in more ways than one--and head of the CIA's new super-secret division, APO (for Authorized Personnel Only), which also includes all of Sydney's old friends, as well as her dad (Victor Garber) and love interest Vaughn (Michael Vartan). But as Sydney and Vaughn struggle with their budding relationship in the wake of his wife's death, and Syd also comes to realize her father may have had quite a bit to do with her mother's abrupt disappearance, a few monkey wrenches are thrown into the works. There's the emergence of South American agent Nadia (Mia Maestro), who's Syd's half sister--and the daughter of Sloane; the reappearance of Syd's nasty nemesis, Anna Espinosa (Gina Torres); a Sloane doppelganger (Joel Grey); and a mysterious cabal intent on harnessing the power of the legendary Rambaldi device.
Alias was definitely all over the map during its fourth season, and a few off-screen factors managed to take their toll onscreen as well. The end of a real-life relationship between Garner and Vartan gave Sydney and Vaughn's scenes a lack of romantic spark, but at the same time a decided tension, as the two warily circled each other and deepened their relationship; they clicked best in the episode "Welcome to Liberty Village," in which the duo infiltrates a Stepford-like suburb as a picture-perfect couple. And the absence of Lena Olin, as Syd's mother, was definitely felt, as her character became a looming presence despite little screen time. Where Alias succeeded this year was in the dramatic impact individual episodes had: "Nocturne" was a captivating tale of Sydney in the throes of deadly hallucinations; "The Orphan" affectingly fleshed out the enigmatic Nadia's background; "In Dreams" (directed by Garner) probed the subconscious of bad guy Sloane, who wasn't as evil as you might think; and "Mirage" forced Sydney to impersonate her mother in her father's fevered dreams. Don't worry, there was plenty of action--especially in the season's final episodes, which prominently featured a deadly Sonia Braga--and despite its ups and downs, Alias remained one of the most intelligent, compelling dramas on television. --Mark Englehart
- Mama's back, and that's a good thing!
After the disapointment of Season Three (not that it was horrible, just a bit of a letdown after an awesome Season Two), Season Four came back strong with some interesting twists and great storylines. While Sloane as the head of a CSI Black Ops division was a little hard to swallow, you do have to admit that it made for an interesting work environment... The always amusing dysfunction of the Bristow family continued in fine form (although the idea of Irina and Sloane together gives me nightmares) with the involvement of Nadia. The finale, with the clash of Derevko sisters Irina and Elaina could only have been improved if they'd managed to bring in Katya as well. The interactions of Jack and Irina alone makes this a season worth watching, and the cliffhanger at the end with Syd and Vaughn was really well done! Now if they could just manage to get Lena Olin to sign on for more episodes and find a way to get Irina to be a permanent part of APO, we'd really have the makings of some messed up family/work relations! Come on, JJ... You can do it... I know you can......more info
- The demise of a decent show
Have no fear, this review contains NO spoilers.
Obviously whether or not you like a television show depends heavily on your taste, but for fans who have seen the first three seasons and are considering buying the fourth I have this to say...
While I found the first three season of Alias to be exciting and fun to watch, I had to wonder what happened to season 4. Somewhere during this season, the show crossed the line from an intriguing spy drama with lots of fantastic plot twists to a cheap thrills action series with plot holes through which one could drive a truck. While the show was always obviously fantasy, this season really tested (in my case, broke) the viewer's ability to suspend disbelief.
Without going into spoilers, I will simply say that if you've been watching the show to this point, don't bother buying this set- rent it. You will not watch them a second time....more info
- same old, but new twists help
By the 4th season you may not get thrilled seeing Sydney in a wild wig, skimpy clothes in a night club. The addition of Nadia, Sydney's sister helped a lot to keep the series fresh. Although season 4 was not as consistently good as 1 & 2, I found it entertaining with enough Sloane good/evil conflicts to keep the plots rolling. I still find 'Vaughn' the weak link since the actor has one facial expression and don't miss him at all in season 5. ...more info
- Very entertaining; a real thrill
An excellent follow-on to the previous seasons. Absolutely captivating, you won't stand up before finishing the last episode. Can hardly wait the fifth season!...more info
- We love Alias season 4!
Our entire family enjoys watching Alias. We have 3 teenagers and it is great fun to have something to watch on family night that we all enjoy. The Complete Fourth Season was brand new and absolutely perfect....more info
- Great Show that doesn't have a woman as the victim
I love Alias just for the fact that it is generally the man who is in need of rescue. It is nice to see a strong female lead on television. The entire ensemble is great. I love thet way they play off each other as if they have been together for a very long time. This was a great season, but the season finale was a little more sci-fi than I felt necessary....more info
- Alias- The complete 4th season
Expectacular, you can not leave the TV. Iam a 63 y/o lady and now I understand why my grandchildren get addicted to those video games. This serie is so intriguing that happen the same to me with it; staying watching it until late night....more info
- Of Unevenness and a Certain Nuclear Core
`Alias' continues to be a fun show this season. One should, however, keep in mind that fun in the form of cool gadgets, imaginative scenarios and creative stunts was always complementary, if not peripheral, to the compelling relationships, and their implications on and revelations pertaining to the plot's characters, during the first three seasons, and ask if that was the case this time.
Arvin Sloane, Irina Derafko and Jack Bristow keep things interesting. They're nicely ambivalent characters whose actions, decisions and words always detract from any expectations that the show's audience is tempted to settle on at the risk of simplifying their motivations and the psychology behind their choices. Four seasons in, and even up to that concluding moment when Sydney seems to finally allow herself to hope for something good in Sloane, the idea that Sloane could have become a simple father figure just screams `diminution of character' inside my head.
Lauren was a disappointment in the third season. Naturally, when new characters are introduced, the audience almost instinctively becomes suspicious of them - the result of some clever hardwiring on the part of the writers. However, all manner of intrigue about Vaughn's wife was promptly extinguished as a result of the writers and directors simply turning the tables too hard on us. Sloane becoming a dubious philanthropist was a surprising and subtly suggestive, but ultimately opaque, change of predicament for the show's signature villain, and genuinely kept you guessing at his end game (which, I might add, Season Four still reveals almost nothing about explicitly). Lauren, however, quickly became bland when she was revealed to simply be a dominatrix, seemingly harmless in desk-job office wear - a match in treachery to Julian Sark, whose enigmatic winsomeness and shady elusiveness her character couldn't emulate, rendering her all the less interesting.
Nadia in Season Four suffers the same fate for a similar reason: All manner of possibility and tension about her, built up in a riveting close to the third season and an excellent opening half to this, was defused by way of some frustratingly convenient turns of plot. It would have been utterly gripping if Sydney and Nadia had, in fact, confronted each other over Jack Bristow and his supposedly murdering their mother. However, not only does Jack tell Nadia the truth in a scene of incredibly flat revelation, but, also, what do Sydney and Nadia ultimately fight over? In the words of Eleanor, `a bit of tap water'. There was no meaningful cause to that conflict (which, by the by, was lazily choreographed in my opinion - Francine's clone was, no doubt, more formidable), and all the anticipation generated from Sydney's discovery of what her mother knew became lost - just like that.
What I found to be the weakest link to this season, ironically, was the leading lady herself. Whereas she was energetic and very convincing in her performance in the first three seasons, alternating competently between vehemence and vulnerability (especially when she cried - went all the way, you could tell), here the second half of the season was an exhibition of plain lazy acting on her part (yes - we find ourselves in a room with a nuclear coil, and we say, `Yeah - it's getting a little hot in here.'). She showed a great deal of promise in the first half actually - I thought she did `hapless' and `distraught' very well when she was under the influence of that suspicious substance that messes with your perception - but everything went downhill from `Nightingale' onwards. She didn't deserve that Emmy nomination this year. Trust the Academy to overlook understated talent from Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin (the latter did the hypnotisation scene wonderfully - a yearning for some manner of peace done without self-consciousness, thus making Sloane, for a moment, somehow smaller, yet sympathetically so). Really it's the old timers that keep the show from tumbling into vapidity.
I had an issue with pay-offs from this season as well. There comes a time, the producers must realise, when the danger in situations conceived doesn't become convincing anymore - somehow, someway, our favourite characters always manage to get away. It takes creativity, therefore, and the writers' trademark, inspired sense of originality to consistently create a genuine sense of danger. They still managed that through Season Three, but there were a lot of letdowns in this one. They could have done so much with `Liberty Village' but settled for a deux ex machina sort of ending that saw one small device conveniently blowing up the sole (read: ONE) helicopter that came for Sydney and Vaughn. And while Sydney did `paranoid gal' very well - `It's my father - I think I killed him'? Nah - didn't buy into it one moment.
But you see I have a soft spot for `Alias' (damn you J.J.). I love the camerawork in this season and the treatment of the film - brooding noir-ish tones that embrace shadows and eschew the slick psychedelia of previous seasons, giving Number Four an apposite, unnervingly languid mood for what still is a potent tale of espionage. Michael Giacchino's score seems to have found a similarly inspired turn, and this season's soundtrack attains real form as a proper (well, almost at least) body of work, instead of a patchy collection of themes.
This season really pushes the envelope of otherwise inconceivable, Bond similarities - situations that would be ridiculous in another show, gadgets too sophisticated to be available so easily - but the cast, somehow, still manages to pull off the outrageous premise and make it work (or, at least, make me buy into it). In a sense it works like that other J.J. Abrams baby `Lost' - that everyone escapes with only mild cuts and scratches is unbelievable, but he quickly reminds you that that's not the point.
And, of course, one might say that this whole season is worth owning for its last few moments alone. Again, I thought there'd be a bigger pay-off from stopping Eleanor's plot (we all see the rather indiscreet parallels to `Dawn of the Dead' here - giant red ball and sanguinary idiots instead of animate zombies), and it's precisely because of that that I really, really hope that the Rembaldi storyline doesn't end just like that (Sydney - the only one who could stop `true evil'? Didn't feel like that great a triumph to me). But for a while I thought this could be the cliffhanger that dwarfed all the others before - brilliantly executed (both technically and in terms of the emotional modulation), and so unnerving again because it's a revelation made so matter-of-factly and calmly, which makes its disruption all the more abrupt and rude (who's to say, really, that it was an accident?).
So yes - I'm still staying for Season Five. But with you-know-who's death, Garner better do `hapless' and `distraught' well enough to carry the next season. ...more info
- Back to basics.
The fourth season of Alias is very much back to the basics. It is very similar to the first season in the regard that pretty much every episode has its own finished story-line....more info
- Back on Track
Things are once again changing in Sydney's world. She has been recruited to join a new black ops unit of the CIA. Called APO (short for Authorized Personnel Only), Syd's thrilled to be part of the exclusive team. Until she meets her new boss. Sloan has not only been pardoned, but he's in charge of the new unit. On the plus side, all her friends are part of the team, which means she'll have lots of help making sure Sloan is really on the up and up. Also joining them is Sydney's half sister Nadia. Their missions, while dangerous, seem fairly routine, until hints begin to emerge that there is a greater danger afoot. Is Sloan up to his old Rimbaldi tricks? Or is someone from Sydney and Nadia's family tree behind the trouble?
After season three, I was hoping the show would get back on track, and with this season it did. The set-up feels a little too much like they were trying to recreate the first season magic, and that's just not going to happen. But they did do a good job of telling great stories over the course of the season.
Many fans didn't like the first third, which were mainly stand alone episodes with hints of a plot thread moving through them. Personally, I found them just as engrossing as the regular episodes. By the mid point of the season, things are beginning to gel with the storyline about Vaughn's father taking the forefront. The last third was another can't miss thrill ride that ended with the end of the world - almost - and the best cliffhanger of the series. Although I really wish they'd dump the Rimbaldi storyline already. That's the one aspect of the show I've never liked.
This six disc set continues the great season DVD sets this series has already been given. All twenty-two episodes are presented in full surround and wide screen, looking better then originally aired. Four episodes get commentaries by members of the cast and crew, which are always fun and informative. There are the usual deleted scenes and bloopers as well as a profile of new cast member Mia Maestro, an interview with Jennifer Garner, director's diary, info on Marshall's gadgets, and other behind the scenes featurettes.
While I don't think this show will ever regain the magic of its first season, this season was still well worth watching. In many ways, it could stand alone, although watching from the first episode would certainly help understand all the relationships and nuances. This is still one of my favorite TV shows currently on the air....more info
- One of the best seasons of Alias
I'd rank Season 4 of Alias as being the third best season of the show. It's better than Season 3 (which was also great) and just a couple of steps behind Seasons 1 and 2.
I think the season started out a little bit slow...but maybe I'm saying that only because the first couple of episodes were more self-contained than most Alias episodes usually are. They were still VERY good episodes, but they just seemed a little different than what we'd seen before.
If anything was missing from the start of the season, it quickly came back with a vengeance. Episode after episode, Season 4 was like a rollercoaster of thrilling adventures, mysteries, intriguing characters, etc. It's everything you'd want it to Alias to be - and more.
I was weary at first of the idea of Sydney suddenly having a sister, but I quickly grew to like the character of Nadia. Plus, the storyline towards the end of the season involving Syd and Nadia's mother - wow!
If you were a fan of the first few seasons, then you absolutely can't go wrong with watching Season 4. VERY good television, indeed!...more info
- Lack of characterization
This season was a disappointment for me. All I can think about is how much potential there was within the story and characters and these things were seemingly abandoned. The season as a whole lacks in the strong characterization the series had in its first three seasons. Sydney, who was a such a great character is very flat in this season and the same goes for the rest of the characters. I think maybe there were too many characters this season and so not a lot of attention could be paid to any of them individually.
The first half of the season is episodic and really disappointing. The episode ending cliffhangers which I loved so much over the first three seasons were gone which left every episode a bit flat. I learned later that the network asked for the episodes to be stand alone and cliffhanger-less to appeal to new viewers. The season premiere, which I was excited about after the cliffhanger at the end of season three, was disappointing because I felt like it didn't make sense with what I saw at the end of season three and I later learned this was retconned, I assume because maybe they had some problems getting some actors to reappear. This I think ruined Sydney's character arc for the season. The second half of the season gets better as the story arc is resumed and there were some great moments in these episodes, but it took far too long to get to them and still the characterization remained flat. The story arc could have used a lot more build up and had more of an impact on the characters themselves. The season finale was good, but I think it should have been great.
I still highly anticipate watching the fifth season....more info
- Best season eva and season 5 spoilers!!!!!!
Okay, season three was good, but it wasn't as good as the first 2 seasons, but season 4 is when Alias finally unlocks its true potential as a hit show! Love all the characters (Nadia is sooo cool) and this season has the great family drama but is in balance with the best action currently on tv (24 is runner up). The cast is great together and the acting is superb. Best Episode: Welcome to Liberty Village- Sydney and Vauhn go undercover in a Russian village training agents to infiltrate America as a... well... typical couple. This episode has cool action and is mildly amusing in the innocent village with gunfights thing (like when Syd and Vaughn and another couple have to kill each other to get a car!) All of the episodes are excellent. You gotta have this dvd, fan or not.
Okay, there is good news and bad news. Good: The final half of this season is going to be the end to end all ends. Bad: The show got cancelled. Now, i know some of you are probably shaking your head and asking yourself why. Her follows a short list in order of importance, least to greatest (thank you Entertainment weekly for 2 of the reasons.)
1) No more cliffhangers- the network asked the crew to drop this due to it being inconvienant for reruns, thus causing some people to start letting easy endings make them stop watching.
2) Too much Sci-fi- Rambaldi and such started to overpower the plotlines making Alias gain a bit of a science fiction tinge. Since it was usually a hardcore realistic show, many fans started to pass on this show (the same thing happenned to Dark Angel between seasons 1 and 2)
3) Cast recall in season 5- This may be considered drastic on my part, but it's true. Plus, their replacements were no name actors Rachel Gibson (Fox's The Inside), Balthazar Getty (the WB's Charmed), and Elodie Bouchez (trust me, you wouldn't know any of her things.) They replace Weiss, Nadia, and my final reason...
4)They incorporate Jennifer Garner's pregnancy into the show-...but first I'll talk about this. If they could've been patient enough to wait the extra few months to let her have the kid, then they wouldn't have to have this annoyance around. Now Sydney can't go and whoop toosh in the feild and has to let the others complete missions. Now, Rachel Nichols is pretty, but not as hot as Nadia or Sydney using what Irina gave 'em to distract some idiotic guards. Also, the extra time period would've given Mia Maestro (Nadia) time to finish shooting the Ten Commandments and Posiedon (which I can't wait to see.)
5)VAUGHN DIES!??????- this was the final nail in the the coffin. They dug their own graves on this one. All I can do is bow my head in shame at the people who did this.
*MORE SPOILERS ALERT*
But on a higher note, there is some good news in the rest of this. Following is a list of good things to come this season
1) Weiss returns!
2) Irina Derevko (Syd's mom) returns.- Also, we find out she was the leader of the covenant
3) Vaughn isn't really dead?!!!!!!- it has been reported that he'll return for the series final episodes.
4) The questions will finally be answered- we can finally learn what was up with the whole rambaldi stuff.
5)Sydney has the baby- So now we don't have do deal with having to watch Sydney spoon feed Nichol's and Getty's characters what they should do via com.
Now I hope that any new Alias fans have been convinced and are logged off and running to their nearest store.
For the fans,
Since you'll now have an extra hour on your tv lineup, TiVo, or dvd player here are some shows I like (similar to Alias or not) to waste your brain on
1) 24-now airing and dvd
2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer-dvd
3) Charmed-final six episodes now airing and dvd
4) Dark Angel-dvd (now only at Best Buy)
5) Firefly-dvd (Serenity is also the official movie)
6) Angel-dvd and broadcating on TNT
7) Supernatural-now airing
1) American Idol (even though I know that you already watch it)- now airing
2) Deal or No Deal- now airing
3) The Closer- Returns this June and dvd comes out in May (on TNT for those of you who aren't cool enough to know)
4) Hell's Kitchen- returns this June
5) Lost (another show I know you already watch)- now airing and on dvd
6) Tru Calling- Just by both of the dvd's 'cause you'll love it and it needs to be brought back from cancellation.
1) The Simpsons- now airing and on dvd
2) Family Guy- #1 comedie now airing and on dvd
3) Invader Zim- on dvd
4) Spongebob Squarepants- you can't dislike this show that's now airing (on nickelodeon and nicktoons netwrork) and on dvd
5) Family guy- this isn't a mistake, it's that good!
This is Preteen, out! ...more info
- Way up in places...but also waaaaaaaaaay down!
Just like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, the season's good parts were very very good, and the bad parts were horrid! I'm a fan so I had to buy it, but oh! It was so uneven....more info
- Losing steam
Alias is gradually losing momentum in the fourth season. There are still some good moments, but Rambaldi stories become more and more painstaking. The end is just laughing stock. After this series, I stopped watching Alias....more info