Alias-Season 2 (2001)

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Released 6-Jul-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers And Cast - Four Episodes
Featurette-Making Of-'The Telling'
Featurette-The Look Of Alias
Deleted Scenes-7
Outtakes
Featurette-KROQ's Kevin And Bean Radio Show Interviews
TV Spots-7
Featurette-The Making Of The Video Game
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 870:47 (Case: 1029)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jeffrey Abrams
Jeffrey Abrams
Daniel Attias
Guy Norman Bee
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Jennifer Garner
Ron Rifkin
Michael Vartan
Bradley Cooper
Victor Garber
Merrin Dungey
Melissa George
Carl Lumbly
Greg Grunberg
Kevin Weisman
David Anders
Lena Olin
Case ?
RPI $99.95 Music Jeffrey Abrams
Jeffrey Abrams
Michael Giacchino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Icelandic
Spanish
French Titling
Spanish Titling
French Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Icelandic Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    If you are unfamiliar with the pouty Jennifer Garner and her hit show Alias, then you have obviously been living under a rock. Love it or hate it, this show is one of the best things going on TV and has caused a sensation or two both here and in the US.

    The plot of Alias is both complex and simplistic. It revolves around Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), recruited into the elite covert unit of the CIA known as SD-6 as a freshman only to discover that SD-6 is part of an alliance of rogue intelligence operatives worldwide serving their own interests through terrorism. Choosing to become a double agent for the CIA in order to bring down SD-6, she continues to conduct missions for SD-6 while passing intelligence on to her handler, CIA Agent Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan). Also working at SD-6 is Jonathan ‘Jack’ Bristow (Victor Garber), a long term friend of SD-6 head Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), and Sydney’s partner Agent Dixon (Carl Lumbly). In her private life, Sydney hangs out with her long time friend and investigative reporter Will (Bradley Cooper) and lives with her best friend Francie (Merrin Dungey).

    Alias: Season 2 picks up at the exact same moment it left off in the first season, hits the ground running and never lets up. Season 2 goes together as follows:

Disc 1

1. The Enemy Walks In (41:51)

    Just who is The Man? And is Vaughn really dead?

2. Trust Me (41:52)

    As Sloane is made a full partner of the Alliance, Sydney must decide whether to trust her long absent mother, Irina.

3. Cipher (41:50)

    Jack comes face to face with his wife, while Sydney tries to defeat Sark’s plans to launch a tracking satellite.

4. Dead Drop (41:51)

    Jack takes it upon himself to intervene to prevent Sydney getting to close to her mother.

Disc 2

5. The Indicator (41:41)

    A hunt for a new form of weapon reveals a more deadly secret. Sloane brings Jack into his confidences about his wife.

6. Salvation (42:54)

    A rift forms between Sydney and her father, but both are forced to work together to get hold of a deadly virus that Sydney and Vaughn were possibly exposed to.

7. The Counteragent (41:26)

    With Vaughn’s life in the balance, Sydney must make a deal with Sark to set up Sloane.

8. Passage: Part I (40:50)

    In order to prevent nuclear weapons falling into rebel hands, the Bristow family must travel to India.

Disc 3

9. Passage: Part II (41:48)

    Lost in enemy territory, Sydney has to keep her parents from each other’s throats while still succeeding in her mission.

10. The Abduction (41:18)

    A counterintelligence operative is brought into SD-6 to investigate blackmail threats against Sloane. And Marshall is sent on a mission with Sydney to the UK.

11. A Higher Echelon (41:15)

    With Jack the prime suspect in the SD-6 counterintelligence investigation, Sydney and Dixon must track down Marshall and prevent anybody else accessing the CIA’s intelligence network.

12. The Getaway (40:48)

    Jack seeks Irina’s help to find Sloane’s blackmailer, while Sydney is hunted by SD-6 as a means to her father.

Disc 4

13. Phase One (41:22)

    Is this the end for SD-6 and the Alliance? Or is something more afoot?

14. Double Agent (41:51)

    When a CIA agent is killed in Germany, her lover is the prime suspect. But is he really who he says he is?

15. A Free Agent (41:26)

    Sloane kidnaps a scientist’s family to help with his Rimbaldi crusade. And Dixon confesses to his wife the truth about what he does.

16. Firebomb (41:50)

    Sloane makes a deal with terrorists to get what he needs. When Sydney and Vaughn track a connection to a church in Mexico they unwittingly get placed in the middle of Sloane’s plans.

Disc 5

17. A Dark Turn (41:50)

    Jack decides to use Irina and a Rimbaldi manuscript as bait to capture Sloane.

18. Truth Takes Time (41:01)

    As the CIA closes in on Sloane, a tragic accident will shape the course of life for many involved in the Rimbaldi crusade.

19. Endgame (40:53)

    Sydney and Vaughn try to rescue Sloane’s kidnapped scientist against Jack’s wishes.

20. Countdown (39:38)

    With Dixon out of control, Sydney must decide how much she trusts her partner in order to track down a killer with the key to Sloane’s whereabouts.

Disc 6

21. Second Double (41:38)

    All the evidence in a leak from the CIA points to Sydney’s friend Will. Can she find the evidence to clear him?

22. The Telling (40:47)

    Will Sydney clear Will? Can she save her father from Sloane? And will she discover the traitor hiding right under her nose? One of the best twist endings for a series...
 

    Man, what a season of TV. Sure, this does not explore more than the most basic themes (predominantly family and relationships), and even then only on a fairly thin level. But this is an action series first and foremost, and on that front it really delivers. All kinds of things get blown up, shot up, smacked down and knocked around. People get pummelled, shot, stabbed, bashed, drugged, and tortured (often). Everything else in between only serves to set up the next action sequence, and the producers aren’t shy in blatantly rushing through those interceding sections.

    The performances this season are better overall as well, with Jennifer Garner less annoying and more slinky (if that’s possible), and Ron Rifkin who, as Arvin Sloane, is clearly having a lot of fun being so devilishly bad. The addition of Lena Olin to the cast as Sydney’s mother Irina Derevko also gives the show a whole new depth – in the acting department, anyway.

    This isn’t The Sopranos or The Shield, nor is it Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. The writing is like a cheap paperback thriller with more twists and turns than you can keep count of, each endlessly trying to trump the other as more preposterous, and plenty of unresolved sexual tension that is worthy of a trashy romance novel. Alias is truly spy thriller pulp fiction at its absolute finest – a definite must.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this transfer is great.

    The image is outstanding, with fabulous detail and only some faint background graininess in more shadowy sequences to mar the overall experience.

    Colours are fully saturated and expertly balanced. Skin tones, stubble, and even facial blemishes are well reproduced.

    Shadow detail is likewise outstanding, although you can catch some mild film graininess if you look closely.

    There are no MPEG artefacts and only minimal transfer artefacts. Most notably, straight edged metal tended to exhibit aliasing when under strong light. This was generally present on the metal grilles and trimmings of various vehicles in direct sunlight. However, also check out Rutger Hauer’s glasses in Phase One. Sydney’s suit in Cipher does a strange shimmer thing, but this would appear to be a one-off related to the make up of the fabric.

    There was some very minor dirt on the stock footage used, but otherwise this was a pristine transfer in terms of film artefacts.

    There is an extensive list of subtitle options here: English for the Hearing Impaired, regular English, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish. They appear as white with a grey/black border and are easy to read. Whether the foreign language titles reflect the actual dialogue, I would need a translator to tell, but the English subtitle track is fairly accurate.

    The dual-layer pause is in between the episodes, with two episodes per layer on all discs.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The English 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is, as with the predecessor, awesome.

    The dialogue is always crystal clear, with no audio sync issues. You can hear the sound of wet lips smacking together if you listen close enough in some of the quieter scenes.

    There is an abundance of surround sound information coming from every direction. A lot of the time it is subtle, but every now and then you get an explosion coming in behind you or bullets flying past your head.

    The range is also excellent, with big chunky bass and delicate and detailed treble. The punches have an extra gusto to them that was missing on the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer DVDs which were only mixed in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

    The subwoofer gets plenty of use with all the explosions, gunshots and rib-breaking punches. Sometimes it’s like a slap in the face. Nice stuff.

    Audio is also available in Spanish and Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital. These alternate audio tracks lose ambience in the overdubbing process, but they do the job if you can’t be bothered with subtitles.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This new season, as with the opening season, has a long list of special features. Once more, nice job Buena Vista.

Menus

    All menus, including sub-menus, are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with a 2.0 Dolby Stereo track with various themes from the show.

Booklet

    As far as I am aware, the original packaging includes a booklet – however, as I was not given the packaging to review I cannot tell you what this booklet contains.

Audio Commentaries

    All commentaries are presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo.

Disc 6

Documentary - The Making of The Telling (45:18)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a documentary about the making of the season finale. A very in depth look, covering everything from scripting to acting, to FX and stunt sequences.

Featurette – The Look of Alias (11:59)

    Also presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a short featurette looking at costumes and makeup design – particularly Jennifer Garner who undergoes a costume change every 15 mins or so per episode.

Deleted Scenes

    There are 7 deleted scenes:

    All scenes are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio. The picture is quite good, although not as glossy and finished as the actual show. The audio is acceptable, but dialogue is unfinished and so sometimes a little hard to hear.

    The scenes come with a 33 second introduction by J. J. Abrams.

Season Two Blooper Reel (4:21)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a collection of dialogue stuff ups and silly behaviour caught on film. Not half as funny as the blooper reel from S.W.A.T..

TV Spots

    There are 7 TV spots, one each for the following pivotal episodes:

and a general promo entitled Looks Can Kill (0:32)

    All TV spots are presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio.

Featurette: The Making Of The Video Game (4:26)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio, this is a look at how the cast and crew were involved in the making of the video game based on the show.

Featurette: KROQ’s Kevin and Bean Radio Show Interviews

    This feature is audio only with a still background, presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo with an accompanying 1.33:1 still frame. It is a series of radio interviews with cast members looking at the show. The first three commentaries were done with regards to the second season, while the last was done as promotion for the first season:

    These interviews are done by phone and so are not of the best quality.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 release of this set includes:

    Otherwise, both are largely identical. The R4 release gets an Italian 5.1 audio plus a few more subtitle options instead.

    If this feature matters to you, go for the R1 release. Otherwise, choose with your wallet or your language barrier.

Summary

    Alias – Season 2 is amazing – and even better than the first. And that twist at the end is enough to do your head in.

    Video is outstanding and will keep even the most ardent fans pleased.

    The sound is again a highly active 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that has a virtual cinematic quality.

    There are plenty of extras that will provide you with a couple of hours of frivolous entertainment.

    Overall - an almost flawless transfer making for an excellent buy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, November 19, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
This show is complete and utter rubbish - Michael H (wish my bio were here)
Bad imitation of a much better series -
Well I for one love this show. - damndirtyape182 (You want a Bio, I'll give you a Bio.)
La Femme Nikita -
Outstanding video quality from an NTSC transfer?? - MichaelCPE
Booklet -
Re: Booklet -