Alias - should I buy complete set blindly?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jay_B!, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    I have seen a few Alias episodes here and there on TNT and on ABC and kinda liked it, but of course, I was lost since I know it's a Buffy/Angel/Lost (another show I am going to blindly check out in a few weeks when season 2 comes out, I'll get 1 and 2 together) vein series where it's a serial where you'll be lost if you don't see every episode bookending it.

    I figure if I check the show out, this would be the best bet, and since it's limited edition, I need to get it asap. What do other Alias fans here think?
     
  2. David Allen

    David Allen Stunt Coordinator

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    Netflix seasons 1-3, don't watch anything from season 4 & 5 unless you like jumping over sharks.
     
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Can't say. Some people only like one and two. Others like one and two, hate three, and think it came back in the last two seasons. And, some don't like three and four. As for me, to paraphrase Red Steagall: "What do I like about Alias one through five? Every damn thing, hoss, I like 'em all!"
     
  4. CherylJ

    CherylJ Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a huge Alias fan, watched since the Pilot, but I think only seasons one and two are worth owning on DVD. I wouldn't pay for the whole set, but of course that's a matter of personal preference.

    TNT is airing it in reruns. Check your TiVo/TV Guide, wait for the pilot ("Truth Be Told"), and start watching from the beginning. You will know pretty quickly whether this is the show for you. And seasons one and two are absolutely fantastic imho. The pilot is one of the best pilots I can remember.
     
  5. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    TNT no longer airs it in daily runs tho, do they? Which is sick because they air Charmed twice in the afternoons and nearly half of that series is unwatchable IMO
     
  6. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    Loved the show.

    I think it is the sort of show made to own on DVD.

    And while some didn't enjoy seasons 4 and 5, I actually enjoyed those seasons quite a lot.
     
  7. CherylJ

    CherylJ Stunt Coordinator

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    I have no idea of the schedule, but TiVo seems to find a lot of episodes very quickly. I always have a bunch of Alias eps piling up in my suggestion list. It airs on TNT and it's also syndicated on a local station twice a week, iirc. So one of your local stations may be airing reruns also. It shouldn't be a long wait for the pilot to come around again.
     
  8. Ollie

    Ollie Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm inclined to "ditto" this sentiment. I loved 1 & 2, liked 3, and gave up on Season 4 after halfway through disk 2. I never watched it on TV, I discovered it on DVD which was a great way to watch it...no commercials, no waiting for the next week. I rented them from Netflix. i would by no means pay money to own 4 & 5.
     
  9. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Seasons 1 and 2 are great, and I enjoy the rest (although I haven't seen 5 yet - we've almost finished season 4 here in NZ).

    Yes, there is a real decline in quality after season 3, and it is really rather dumb and blatantly obvious that they're just making it all up. But it's still a lot of fun, they still have some great action scenes, and in my view is still worth watching simply because it's got an astonishingly great cast. Garner and Vartan do good work in the lead roles, but the supporting stars (I'm thinking of Rifkin and Garber in particular, as well as Lumbly) are so great that I will forgive a million faults in a show just to watch them work.
     
  10. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    when people say 3-5 of Alias are weak. Weak in the sense that season 6 and 7 of Buffy are weaker than the earlier seasons, but still good. Or weak as in the Rose McGowan seasons of Charmed that are unwatchable compared to the Shannen Doherty episodes?
     
  11. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I think they're very watchable and enjoyable. Many people hate three because they hate a new character, but we're *supposed* to hate her. She starts out as an annoyance to Sydney, and the audience relates to that. Also, things were pretty shaken up, but change is good. I think the bottom line is there's no way to gauge how you will react to the show. You'll either need to take the risk or rent.
     
  12. ElijahS

    ElijahS Supporting Actor

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    I suggest watching all five seasons. While most of season three, the majority of season four, and the first part of season five are weaker than the phenomenally strong first two seasons, they're still better than most of what aired on television during their respective seasons.
     
  13. Bill>Moore

    Bill>Moore Second Unit

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    I pretty much agree with that. Seasons 1 and 2 are outstanding. Season 3 isn't quite as good (boy, is that new character annoying!!), but still quite watchable and entertaining. I've happily enjoyed watching the entire series and own it all on DVD. Season 5 when it comes out as well.
     
  14. Chris Roberts

    Chris Roberts Stunt Coordinator

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    I've only seen this show on DVD and definitely recommend it that way due to all the cliffhanger endings. I really enjoyed S1+2 although I felt the second half of S2 started going downhill. I don't want to go into the specific reasons because that would spoil things.
    I heard bad things about S3 before watching, but I felt it was on par with the second half of S2 after seeing it. It wasn't outright bad, but it wasn't as good as the first season or showing any signs the series would get better. I stopped watching after that as I just wasn't interested in the story anymore at the time.
    Recently I tried re-watching the first two seasons. They didn't replay well for me. I love the soundtrack, a lot of the acting is good, the action scenes are good, and the story is still technically good but it also loses something the second time through. At least it did for me. Another reason I'd recommend it as a rental first.
     
  15. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    I've watched all seasons of the show...

    I think the first two seasons of "Alias" were sort of like the first to seasons of "Lost." Everyone seemed to like the "cliffhanger" endings and were wrapped up in the Rambaldi mythology.

    What happened is that folks quickly figured out that "Alias" was a case of "they're making it up as they go along."

    Personally, I think aspects of Season 4 were very strong. There were some great eps during that season (anyone remember the one involving Marshall and the spork?") There were some other episodes that standout as well.

    You have to remember that mediocre "Alias" is better than most programs that air on television.

    In my opinion, the very, very strong cast took cheesy, action, James Bond-ish schlock and gave it credibility on the entire run of the show.

    The cast makes the show worth watching.

    I enjoyed Season 5. Sure, the new cast members weren't nearly as good as past cast members, but it is one of the few cases of me actually thinking the change of pace was good on a long-running show.

    I think a lot of people held the show to very high standards after the first season (expectations that probably were impossible to meet). They tried to shake up the show to expand the audience. It never really happened.

    However, in the universe of television shows on DVD, this is one series that I'd highly recommend.

    It does offer closure at the end. The series does have a beginning, middle and end (even if picky fans didn't like how it got there).

    I will agree that one character in Season 3 was annoying, but she was supposed to be annoying.

    Still, though, it is a very solid show.
     
  16. David Bixenspan

    David Bixenspan Stunt Coordinator

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    Season 1 and 2 are both excellent. Well worth your time and money.

    Season 3 is probably the weakest overall, as yes, it becomes obvious that nobody had any idea where they were going, but it's still a lot of fun and all of the non-Melissa George actors do a fine job.

    Season 4 feels different from the rest due to the batch of (mostly) standalone episodes in the first half of the season that ABC asked for. The Season 3 cliffhanger being retconned as part of making the standalones is a major annoyance. Still, it's an improvement on Season 3 and generally everything is pretty solid beyond the stretch to believe that certain characters of wildly varying nationalities are related at all.

    Season 5 starts out pretty weak, with a pretty mundane resolution to the Season 4 cliffhanger and just generally feeling off as the new characters were introduced to help out during Garner's pregnancy. Around the middle of the season, things REALLY pick up and it hits the best stretch of shows since Season 2, and continues on until the finale, which kinda sucked.

    If you have the money and think you'll enjoy the show, then go for it.
     
  17. CherylJ

    CherylJ Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL.

    Just to clarify my earlier point, I enjoyed every season of Alias. Jennifer Garner is great, and Victor Garber is perfection as badass SpyDaddy Jack Bristow. (And Vartan is very easy on the eyes, and the other non-Melissa George supporting cast is good, too.)

    So I think every season is "worth watching" if only for the great cast, but I have a pretty high standard for buying a TV show on DVD. I don't want to buy a whole set just for "completeness" or whatever, and I won't buy a show on DVD unless I will enjoy rewatching again and again. So for me, that means seasons one and two. But definitely, if you are new to the series, watch the whole thing, in order, from the beginning. Every season has good stuff.
     
  18. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    Well...I think that is definitely the conundrum that many collectors face.

    For example, I watched Season 1 of "Prison Break" this week. I really love the show -- thought it was a well-done and well-crafted show perfectly suited to DVD.

    However, the question is whether or not I'd watch it "again."

    Personally, I think that can be a tough question to answer. It is sort of like "24" or "Lost" -- two heavily serialized shows.

    While I might not want to immediately want to watch those shows, I also understand that in a couple of years, I'll probably pull them out again.

    Two of the most satisfying shows I've watched on DVD have been "Veronica Mars" and "Prison Break" -- two shows I'd never seen before.

    At around $40 a pop for a season (which is roughly the cost of two movies on DVD), I thought it was a good investment -- even if rewatchability had turned out to be low.

    I think the same is true for "Alias." In my mind, it'd be a more enjoyable experience watching the show without having to deal with all of the time slot changes and mid-season breaks.

    Seasons 3-5 are very watchable. Obviously, the "mythology" was abandoned for more straightforward spy storylines. Many people disagree with that strategy.

    It is a very likable show.

    I am a TV on DVD junkie, so I like to purchase and watch a lot of shows.
     
  19. Jonathon M

    Jonathon M Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally, I never dug the show.

    In addition to that, of the approx. 6 episodes I have seen, if Quentin Tarantino's woeful acting skills can be on a par with the rest of the show, its evidence that something ain't right...
     
  20. BrandonJF

    BrandonJF Second Unit

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    That isn't what happened. Is what happened was ABC kept wanting the show re-tooled. You'll find that the show changes more than once. Never good for a show to have the network continually dictate changes. Fans who liked it as it was get shellshocked and it rarely succeeds in brining in new fans.

    First, it was rebooted in the middle of season 2 with the "Superbowl" episode. The structure of the show changed.

    ABC also wanted the cliffhangers (one of the coolest things about the show) to stop. You'll see that once the axe had fallen, they were allowed to come back, which is partially why Season 5 ended on a higher note.

    The show was retooled again with Season 4. APO was created, the show was much more episodic with a "sprinkle" of mythology thrown in here and there.

    The driving goal at ABC was to continually try to dumb down the show. It's original serialized nature was thought to prevent the show from ever attracting new viewers (you'd think 24 would've proven that wrong by this point). Season 4 is barely the same show. It feels like an Alias spin-off.

    Alias was never a hit show. It's high point was when it was given the post-Lost slot (despite the show being at it's lowest, creatively). The fact that ABC let it run for 5 years is amazing in this day and age. I think they kept waiting for Garner to become a huge star and people would flock to their tv. Instead, she got Afflecked, Elektrafied, and pregnant.
     

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