Alias - Complete Season 5  -
Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):
Season starts sluggishly but goes out with a wallop! : If you haven't seen the earlier seasons of Alias then I recommend that you go back to the first one, and watch them all the way through. We have enjoyed them so much that we actually bought all five seasons on DVD. It would've been cheaper to rent them, but we voted with our wallet in this case.
Alias was created by JJ Abrams who has gone on to great success with films (Mission Impossible) and more mainstream TV (Lost). Alias is where he honed that craft, and developed his style made up of all-action, shock-reversals and utterly incredible plot twists.
The final season of Alias has all of these things. It also has a fair dollop of unwelcome sentimentality; something which the series has always suffered from, to be fair. The opening epiosdes are awash with soppiness, which doesn't sit too well with the series' usual themes of high drama, spy-thriller action. That's why it's only four stars, not five.
Once the simpering is brought under control, the series get immensley better. The star, Jennifer Garner, was pregnant for the first half of the season so is supported by several new cast members who take on the high-kicking, shoot-em-out stuff. Even so, the pace is pretty fast and the plot threads develop in a typically Alias way -- wildly unbelieveable but thoroughly enjoyable.
Alias has always been a cross between the 007 movies of the 1970s, Mission Impossible and Charlie's Angels, and this season is no exception. That description is a bit unfair, maybe; Alias is also better than all of those series and has kept our attention and kept us on the edge of our chairs for five years. Good trick!
The final half of the final season was awesomely enjoyable. Cast members get killed off! Cast members get resurrected! We finally get to understand whattheheck it was Rambaldi's prophecy was about!
If you enjoyed the earlier seasons then you can buy or rent this one with confidence. Grit it out through the opening sentimental episodes, and enjoy the wild ride at the end.
I'm really pleased this series went out with a planned, considered finale. So much more rewarding than those tv programmes which just fizzle out (or worse; drag on when they should've been shot!).
Is there a doctor in the house? : Because I have a question. How many times does someone have to be shot in the chest before they actually die? In Alias, the answer appears to be infinity, and this for me totally ruined this season. Without mentioning names, various characters get shot multiple times in the chest and yet they can talk, get up, walk and - after a little medical attention - make a full recovery.
There are plenty of other examples of Alias falling further into farce this season, with unbelievable storylines (and I don't mean that in a positive way). If that doesn't bother you, and hasn't already annoyed you in seasons 3 and 4, then you will probably enjoy this season because there is a lot of action, new developments, some good new characters (particularly Amy Acker, coming over from Angel) and a lot of plot twists. The series is very well made and very dramatic, so there is still a lot to like and admire.
I just wish they'd consulted a doctor.
The name's Bristow, Sydney Bristow... : It's a question of credibility. Even in the early days, `Alias' was always over the top, even as it managed to be completely convincing. No matter how often you felt the urge to jump on a plane and enlist in the C.I.A. just on the slim chance you'd be called upon to don a red wig & cat-suit in order to battle Russian terrorist bespectacled super villains- some part of you knew (hopefully) that this was all just too incredible, too exhilarating, just too good to be true really. But after four seasons of Vaughn's puppy-dog eyes lingering longingly after Sydney, how many `Alias' addicts could ever swallow the notion that Michael Vaughn might in fact be a double-agent named Andre Michaux? After years of insidious, ego-maniacal wrong-doing in his pursuit of the portentous teachings of Rambaldi how many loyal Bristow devotees could believe that some day soon Sydney, Jack and Dixon could all have forgotten about his ruthless murder of their loved ones so completely, as to allow him to continue to work beside them at A.P.O.?
That's the preposterous opening to season 5 and of course by the end of the season things have been turned upside-down and inside-out more times than you can count, but still...that's a lot of hokum early on for any fan of the show to reconcile with what we all know to be true of these characters and how we expect them to react in any given situation. On top of that there are three new characters inserted into the cast in this fifth and final season; all of whom are able, but non of whom possess the same credibility and gravitas of Garber, Vartan, Rifkin and Garner. But I think the moment that best sums up how low `Alias' sinks in this season is with the opening to episode 2- `...1...' which begins with Sydney discussing her pregnancy with her doctor, who encourages Syd to share the emotional burden of her pregnancy with friends & family and then cuts to Syd in the parking lot as she stares meaningfully at the ultrasonic picture of her unborn baby...and that's it! Cue `Alias' theme-music. Not a car bomb, hidden sniper, or intriguing flash-forward in sight! There's no easy way to break it to you...`Alias' has become ...a soap opera!
But of course it's not all that bad, because in the ways that matter this still remains `Alias'. While the first eight episodes are on a par with the mediocre fourth season, the action hots up nicely and the surprise guests materialize unexpectedly and continuously for the next four episodes, episodes that for first time seriously attempt to address Sydney's pregnancy and what significance it bears on the greater `Alias' landscape. This fantastic run begins with the enthralling episode 9- `Horizon', which was very reminiscent for me of my favourite-ever episode of the show (from season 3)- the surreal `Conscious'. But following those four gems, maddeningly there's another lull in the action from episodes 13 to 15 (with only two more epi's left ever!!). And except to say that the final two episodes are very good, that's where I'll be ending my review, because no matter how much I want to discuss the conclusion to one of the most intense, addictive and intricately-plotted drama's I've ever had the pleasure to view there are just some pleasures that can't be denied and this is one that every fan of the show must gasp in horror at and replay over and over for him or her self without any foreknowledge of what's to become of this well-loved group of characters. Landmark television gripping to the last.
A slightly disappointing conclusion to TV excellence. : Having been a dedicated follower of "Alias", I was of course disappointed to hear Season 5 would be the last, and eagerly awaited the final installment. Don't get me wrong, it's by no means bad, but with several regular characters leaving in the first couple of episodes, and the introduction of Balthazar Getty's character, it smacks of slight desperation to keep viewers interested. Jennifer Garner's real-life pregnancy being written into the script just didn't work, and the action sequences, although never exactly believable, now seem totally contrived. Let's not kid ourselves, anyone who watched the first 4 series is going to purchase this one, if for no other reason but to find out how the story ends. But, although entertaining, it lacks an inexplicable "something" that was evident in the previous series.
A fitting end : I was really sad to hear Alias was being cancelled but after being addicted to the first 4 seasons I couldn't let the grande finale go without seeing how it all finished....even if season 5 got criticized for falling short of that old Alias magic. Granted there were stories that seemed to go nowhere but every episode had something to hook you so it wasn't like you were left with a cliffhanger only for it to go nowhere. It wasn't like Bobby walking out of the shower after a dying or anything.
There was still that old Alias formula of story, stunts, love, betrayal and with all the old characters back in play I was happy with how it all turned out in the end. My favourite character has always been Julian Sark and seeing the handsome, yet evil one back in action always warm the heart!
I'm sad to see Alias end but am glad I saw 5 brilliant seasons. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all......!
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