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Alias - Complete 3rd Season Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   9/10
Extras:   6/10

Love JG
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
10/04/2004

SD-6, the secret organization controlled by Arvin Sloane has been destroyed by the CIA, though Sloane was never caught. Sydney and her father are now free to be fulltime agents for the CIA instead of the double-agents they were before. The end of the second season saw Sydney wake up and discover that she's missing 2 years of her life, and the third season picks up right where the second left off. What's happened to her father? Who's in charge of the CIA? What's Sloane up to? Where has she been for the past 2 years?

The third season wasn't loved by all the fans; message boards were buzzing about how the show went down-hill, and people wondered if Abrams had lost his touch. I didn't have a problem with it; the show was just a bit different from what we were used to in the first two seasons. Abrams says that season 3 was a transition for many of the characters, and something that will set up season four.

The packaging
The packaging for the first and second seasons were quite similar; 6 discs in 3 double-disc cases contained in a slipcase, but Buena Vista has changed the packaging for season 3, and the fans aren't very happy about it. Season 3 comes in plastic slipcase, with the discs being held in 6 individual trays. I'm not sure why they decided to change the packaging since Popular and Felicity (which were released after Alias: Season 3) both use the old Alias packaging.

Video

These DVDs contain an anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer, which is a treat for viewers that are used to the regular 4:3 broadcast. The transfer is a thing of beauty; the only problems are a couple of specs of dust (a couple specs total in the entire season), a bit of grain and slightly poor looking stock footage used in a few episodes. I'm tempted to stop watching the show when it airs on TV and just wait for the DVDs. Chapters are set after the opening of the show (which is about a 1/3 of the way into the episode) and the discs feature a "play all" option.

Audio

Alias: Season Three features a rockin' Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Music, sound effects and dialog sound great on this set. The ambient effects are subtle, but well-placed in the sound field. Expect your sub to get a nice workout, especially when the action kicks into high gear. Everything about the sound on this set is great, so crank it up! The release contains English and Spanish subtitles and closed captioning.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary Tracks
While all the commentary tracks are great, I liked the fan commentary because it's interesting to hear the opinions of people unconnected to the show.
"The Two" - Fans Erin Dailey and Jennifer Wong
"Conscious" - Jennifer Garner, Melissa George and Ken Olin
"Full Disclosure" - Lawrence Trilling, Jesse Alexander and Scott Chambliss
"Facade" - JJ Abrams, Jack Bender and Greg Grunberg

The Museum of Television and Radio - Creating Characters (9:37)
A very short featurette taken from a panel hosted by the MR&T. JJ Abrams, Matthew Reeves, Jennifer Garner and Keri Russell appear on the panel.

The Animated Alias (7:25)
This short animated segment explains the events that happened the two-year gap is Bristow's life.

Alias Up Close (56:06)
Broken up into six segments, this featurette explores the world of Alias, and the people that help put it together. The segments are: "The Guest Stars," "The Assistant Directors," "The Stunt Team," "The Effects Team," "Creating Props" and "Set Dressing." This is excellent bonus material.

Burbank to Barcelona (9:32)
How do they create locations from all over the world in LA? This featurette explains how it's all done. I found this fascinating.

Blooper Reel (7:29)
Oh yeah, the Alias blooper reel! Gotta love this stuff.

Deleted Scenes (7:19)
7 deleted scenes from the third season.

Team Alias (3:48)
Two clips can be found in here: "Monday Night Football Teaser" (1:17) and "Michael & The Stanley Cup" (2:31).

Summary

I love this show, and I think this is another great set; well worth owning. The extras on the set are superb (once again), though I thought the animated piece would be a bit cooler than it was. What can you do? "Alias Up Close" was very cool, and I liked it almost as much as 'The Making of "The Telling"' documentary from the second season set. I hate that we have to wait until January for season 4, though it'll give non-fans some extra time to catch up with the DVDs if they haven't been following the show since the start.

Alias fans should also take a look at JJ's new show, Lost, which airs Wednesday nights on ABC. Totally different premise from Alias, but I think you'll like it.


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