Alias: The Complete Fourth Season

Alias: The Complete Fourth Season

  • 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

Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Ron Rifkin. Women in tight clothing, martial arts action and lots of explosions; television rarely gets better than that. In season 4 of the cult phenomenon, agent Sydney gets even deeper into the tangled web of conspiracy and lies as she joins a rogue Black Ops agency in hopes of finding answers, but all she comes across is trouble. 22 episodes on 6 DVDs. 2004-05/color/15 hrs., 23 min/NR/widescreen.

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3 thoughts on “Alias: The Complete Fourth Season

  1. 23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Likeable season with a split personality, January 15, 2006
    By 
    Danno (NY, NY) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    I’m an admittedly big fan of “Alias,” so you’ll probably have to take some of my comments with a grain of salt. Season Four, for the most part, is likeable and fun, suffering only in comparison to the heights the series reached in its first two years. Even though “Alias” creator J.J. Abrams seems to have run out of ideas regarding the series, he’s established the characters and situations well-enough so that series can continue on sheer momentum for a while.

    This season, like every other season, focuses on the adventures of a small group of CIA agents who work together. Despite the opening credits’ insistence on the importance of series star Jennifer Garner, this season is more a team effort than ever before. There’s Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), who’s a multilinguist and a master of disguise. There’s her love interest Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan), a decent straight-arrow of an agent troubled by his recent past. There’s her father Jack Bristow (Victor Garber), who is alternately grim and emotionally unavailable, and her step-sister Nadia (Mia Maestro). They’re led by the enigmatic Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), a former CIA agent who turned into both a terrorist and a criminal mastermind similar to a James Bond villain and now claims to have been reformed. Sydney has a long history with Sloane, as does the rest of her team. As if to prove that you don’t have to be part of Sydney’s inner circle to work for the CIA, the remainder of the team (all in subordinate roles) include a geeky comic relief computer genius named Marshall, a strong experienced backup agent named Dixon, and a formerly occassional guest character promoted to series regular named Weiss, who serves mainly as comedy relief as well as Nadia’s love interest. The cast is uniformly strong; as Nadia, Mia Maestro does the best she can with a character that isn’t all that well-developed.

    Abrams constructed the first third of the season to consist of self-contained episodes with a minimum of character development and next to no continuity. I’m assuming that this was intended to make it easier for new viewers to become interested in the series. These episodes reminded me a lot of the 1960s “Mission Impossible” series so perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that Abrams is working on the latest MI movie. I enjoyed these episodes a lot although I was disheartened by both the lack of continuity and absence of an overall story arc.

    All this changes with the remainder of Season Four, in which Abrams not only returns to the extended story arc of earlier seasons, but also revives the Tomb Raider-meets-DaVinci Code obsession Arvin Sloane has for the Renaissance megalomaniac named Milo Rambaldi. We are treated to a series of implausible but hugely entertaining vignettes involving radiation poisoning, a woman from the past manipulating Nadia’s feelings, an Arvin Sloane imposter nicknamed “Arvin Clone,” and a Rambaldi doomsday scenario that would not seem out of place in a George Romero movie.

    Why can’t I rank this DVD set higher? It’s tough to follow the ending of the season if you aren’t already a fan, for starters. If you are a fan, you’re likely to be annoyed at the seemingly endless succession of stand alone episodes at the beginning of the season. You’ll also be disappointed in the revisionist treatment Abrams thrusts upon the occassional “guest villains” from earlier seasons, as well as the almost total lack of big-name guest stars in comparison to earlier seasons. You’ll wonder why Abrams does next to nothing to further the Sydney-Vaughn relationship, and marvel at the almost total lack of chemistry between Nadia and Weiss.

    Season Four of “Alias” has all the high-tech espionage, stunning stunt coordination, excellent music, and top-notch cinematography as previous seasons. (Indeed, it’s far more enjoyable than most of the recent 007 films!) It’s lacking much of the emotional impact of the first two seasons however, and I strongly suggest you begin your “Alias” obsession elsewhere. This isn’t bad TV by any means; it just isn’t up the the earlier seasons’ standards.

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  2. 15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    The road to recovery, August 3, 2005
    By 
    E. Kutinsky “ekutinsky” (Seattle, WA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    An amazing thing happened in the last minutes of Season 4’s penultimate episode “Search and Rescue”: I had a feeling flood over me that I hadn’t felt watching Alias since it was revealed Lauren was evil at the end of season 3’s “Full Disclosure”: I was hooked. It had been so long since Alias was the vital, nail-biting show of high excitement and high melodrama that I almost didn’t recognize it anymore. Now, here was Lena Olin exibiting the full capacity of her greatness – equal parts loving mother and twisty snake, Jack was at the edge of his wits, Sydney was frantic and focused, and Nadia, thankfully, wasn’t that important except to earn welcome gooeyness out of Olin. How exactly did this happen?

    Season 3 was widely viewed as a disappointment at the time, but at the beginning of season 4, it seems fans like me were nostalgic for its chaos and ambition. To say the format for the season stretched the limits of credibility does a disservice to the limits of credibility. A top secret CIA agency under the control of Arvin Sloane despite his so recently having been sentenced to death for treason?! One with the lamest acronym in the history of acronyms (that being APO: Authorized Personnel Only)? No amount of Rimbaldi-artifact-transferring makes that swallowable. And the theoretical reconfiguation of the show, while noble, only made matters worse – a covert-op-of-the-week sameness took over in an ostensible attempt to make this look like season 1 again. But as this opened the door for plotlines that ranged from ridiculous (a Russian Stepford Village of secret uber-spies) to embarrassing (umm, vampires?), any number of us long time fans were about to give up. There was brief reprieve in “Detente,” a masterpiece exploiting Sydney’s seething distrust of Sloane, climaxing in a cunning monologue about Sloane by an undercover Sydney to an insignficant baddy on a boat – it’s one of the finest hours of Jennifer Garner’s acting career. Still, it seemed like an aberration – the plots never got past their high predictability. And Nadia, as played by the gorgeous Mia Maestro, I’m afraid, is too much of a cold fish – her woe-is-me mommy issues are grating, and her unconvincing flirtation with Weiss – tv’s most sexless and sparkless romance – seems there just to create a Weiss-Vaughn buddy repartee that’s uninteresting to a fault.

    Then came “Tuesday” – Sydney’s buried a live, APO’s locked down, and for some contrived reason Marshall’s the only one who can save the day. In the process, he resurrects the show. From there, everything works – a cunning Derevko nemesis arrives and the world actually feels in danger again! Joel Grey as a second Sloane! Jack’s near-fatal attempt to save Sydney! Vaughn as a rogue agent (a far more convincing meltdown than his yeah-right freak out over Lauren in season 3)! And no amount of words can convey the greatness of seeing Olin as Irina again. Combine that with the show’s cliffhanging car crash – a fall out of your seat moment to match Sydney’s Hong Kong wakeup at the end of season 2 – and we find Alias in full addictive mode again, even accepting that it may never again reach to its unmissable stride of the second season.

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  3. 7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    What a load of crap, January 19, 2014
    By 

    I’m not talking about the show. I’m talking about amazon! Alias was on the list when I signed up for Amazon Prime and now that I’ve paid for the year it’s no longer available in prime.

    OK now I see how you do business, BS.

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