Actually 4 1/2 Stars
T. Stewart | Santa Cruz | 07/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Final Season / The Last Stand
By the time the fifth season of `Alias' came onto the airwaves, the fans knew something was up: Jennifer Garner had suddenly become a box-office actress (and a soon-to-be mother), J.J. Abrams had his hands full with `Lost' and `Mission Impossible 3,' and the series was finally starting to show signs of its age (which included a rather large dip in the ratings), and it came to no surprise really when Abrams and Garner jointly announced that the show would not return pass its May Finale.
Despite the fact that the show now had an expiration date (and the episode order was cut from 23 to 17), Garner and company seemed to get really into these last episodes, giving them everything they had and actually brought the quality back to the early years. Early in the season the regular cast went through a large overhale, getting rid of two older characters and bringing in four fresh-faced rookies... And with the new cast (and the storyline of Sidney growing up and becoming a mother) brought some much needed new blood into the series.
In the form of a plot this final year focus's mainly on Syndey Bristow growing up and learning about all the responsibility's that come with life. She was thrown a heavy and heart-wrenching curve in the first season, and throughout the entire season she feels the repercussions from it, realizing that she is not invincible, she isn't as young as she used to be, and that her actions affect more people than just herself. So Sydney kinda moves into a mentoring position training and working with two new members to APO, and essentially passing the reigns off to them (it was mentioned that if the show had gone to a sixth season, Garner would have left the show and these characters would have become the main focus).
Since this is a final season, that means that included is not only the series finale, but the 100th episode as well. With only 17 episodes, the 100th episode was the fifth from the last and essientially served as a `reboot' for the series taking the story from the first 12 episodes and bringing it into the home stretch... especially by bringing back old foes and friends including Sark, Anna, Will, and a few other 'surprise' returns... while the final 4 episode successfully tied up 99% of the loose ends left throughout the series, by the final episode the audience was still left a little confused, but I think in a good way, because if this show proved anything it was that nobody really understands what is going on in their own life.
Season five, while not as strong as the first two season's is definitely a step-above the third and fourth seasons, and highly recommended. Note also that on the same day a "complete series" set will be coming out, so if you don't have any of the episodes, that might be the way to go...
The End of One of TV's Best
Buffy | 08/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five seasons is a good amount for a TV show, but I wish this final season hadn't been shortened and was instead the full 22-24 episodes that a show normally gets. I also think a show like "Alias" could've gone on longer, but I'm very pleased at the way they wrapped things up. It seemed like an impossible task with all of the history and loose ends this show accumulated over five seasons. I give them credit for the wonderful job they did. The last few episodes of the show are excellent. I loved the finale, even though my absolute favorite character died. What a way to go, though--out with a bang! I also loved the way Sloane finally got what he deserved--in a way I never imagined, and that enough of the story was left open so that we could still imagine what our favorite characters would be up to if the story continued. All in all, a great final season for a wonderfully creative show that was so well-written and well-acted. Sydney Bristow will always be one of the best female characters in television history. She is so much more than just a kick-butt female spy. Her strength is not in her ability to fight, but in her intelligence and grace and the way she always followed her heart. That's what makes a truly heroic character."
Not The Real Alias
Chris D. Conway | valjean | 12/31/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you are considering purchasing the 5th Season, you're probably just trying to complete your Alias collection, right? So if that's the case, please do, but if not, you may want to reconsider. Alias is one of my all time favorite T.V. series, and during the first two seasons, it was arguably the best show on television. But, with season 5 we have to put it in context of the circumstances going on outside of the show: Jennifer Garner (Sydney) was dating Michael Vartan (Vaughan), and after breaking up, she married Ben Affleck-- and became pregnant with Affleck's child. This was devastating for Alias Season 5. Firstly, because of this Vartan (Michael Vaughan) the crucial co-star left the show...some reports had it that Affleck didn't want him working with Jennifer- but who knows the real story, perhaps it was too difficult working with his ex-Jennifer while she was pregnant with another's child-- it wasn't as if he left the show to go do another project. Secondly, the action scenes for Sydney Bristow's character were severely limited due to Jennifer's fully pregnant figure, causing another crucial aspect of the show to vanish as well. Thirdly, Greg Grunberg, who plays Agent Weiss, left the show to pursue another opportunity and was written off, and Ken Olin, the primary Director for many of the classic Alias episodes directs only the first episode of Season 5, his last one-- most likely to kick the season off on a good note at least. Add to this mess the fact that creator of Alias and core spirit of the great first two seasons, J.J. Abrams, was preoccupied with his new projects Lost and MI:3, and you have the essential causes of what happened to Alias in Season 5, which is a complete unravelling of the great show.
As for season 5's shows themselves-- consider, also due to Vartan's and Grunberg's departure (Vaughan and Weiss), were the additions of characters Agent Rachael Gibson and Thomas Grace, who were brought in to fill the Character Void of Weiss and Vaughan, and to add a new romance aspect back into Alias replacing that of Weiss/Nadia, and Sydney/Vaughan. The fan base was not very receptive to these new characters and the replacement is hollow, falling far short of the original cast and storyline that Alias fans had grown to love. We do not feel for these characters at all, and instead of enjoying them, they're a constant reminder of the characters who aren't there. To cap it off, Season 5 was cut short by 5 or 6 episodes by producers, the proof in the pudding, causing the orignal planned series ending and storyline to be significanlty altered for the worse. They were forced to try and tie things up too quickly, and what we the fans are left with, is an unsatisfying, poorly wrapped up swansong for the great series. After the first two seasons, and good but not great seasons 3 and 4, this Season 5 debacle is not how Alias deserved to go out!
Now not looking at it so critically, there is enough of the true Alias in Season 5 to make it enjoyable for most viewers-- for all it's troubles it's still better than most shows, and I would even say so for the long time fans of the show as well, albeit just a shadow of its former self. For me who loved the show, it's just too big of a disappointment in a lot of ways (many mentioned above). Alias was a great Spy World created by J.J. Abrams, that had me fully enraptured, and it could very easily have turned into one of Television's All Time Classics, with overpowering potential and calling to be spun into feature films. But Alias turned into a Has Been, and that is a shame."
Alias, like "Rambaldi", goes on forever ( in our hearts)
AliMama | Midwest | 10/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an addicted Alias fan, I can say that I have watched every episode of all five seasons (some numerous times), and I do not find some of the incongruities in season five that others have commented on. For example, how can any of us forget Sydney's tirade to Vaughan in the beginning of season 3, when she tells him that if he had been the one that had "died", she would have waited and believed? From that moment on, anything that happened to Vaughan (such as his supposed death in season 5)or Sydney could not be considered out of reach for this show. I mourned for Sydney's loss of Vaughan like anyone else, but I was not disappointed for the way it was handled. Michael Vartan could not be replaced in this show any more than John Ritter could be replaced in "Eight Rules". Yes, I found that Rachel Nichols and Balthazar Getty added little to the show, but that wasn't their fault. They were treading in shoes that could not be filled by other characters. I LOVED the SPYGRANDPA Jack moments, such as when watching his baby granddaughter (and in his usual deadpan)saying "Apparently I'm funny". David Anders "Sark" was underused in season 5 but was fabulous when he was used. He showed a glimmer of humanity after his tryst with a certain agent. Loved that! Through all the twists and turns, Alias always stayed true to the family dynamics, (skewed as they were in this show). If the show had revealed Irina or Sloane different than the way they ended up, those would have been incongruous plot twists. I absolutely recommend season 5, all seasons of Alias are by far the best of the best shows on television. You must watch them all, in order preferably! Thanks to all of you involved in Alias for providing great, high quality entertainment!"