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Alias: The Complete First Season (2001)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: "Truth Be Told" -- Writer/director/creator J.J. Abrams and actor Jennifer Garner Rating:10.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Agressor on February 9th, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
Excellent commentary! J.J and Jennifer turns out to be a great match-up and they tell us everything anybody could've possibly have wanted to know about filming an episode of Alias. But it's not just informative, I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through and, as they come from different positions on the show; J.J being behind the camera and Garner in front of it they have slightly different experiences and that makes for good commentary.
Reviewed by Agressor on February 16th, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
Well this was a quite a step down from the first commentary. Though the three contributors here are well acquainted and seem to get along nicely with one another it doesn't translate into good commentary. They joke around and reminisce quite a lot about the shooting but most of it is uninteresting. The stuff that I found somewhat compelling was when they noted how differently they do things "now" (they were working on the second season when they recorded the commentary) compared to when they shot the episode, like how they would've never let the scene with Sydney picking the lock on the suitcase go on for that long and also how they learned the hard way about things like staging fights on location. Other worthwhile mentions were how they used lightning to set the mood for different locations, giving Sydney a cozy feeling at home and a cold uninviting sense at SD-6.

At one time Sarah Caplan mentions how, when they are old and have Alzheimers they can look back at this show and remember their life at that point, which, although I found the comment to be in slightly bad taste, is kind of profound. Even for a follower of the show like me (who've watched it all the way through twice) it does bring back nostalgic memories of when I first watched it. Combined with the observation they make in the commentary that they wouldn't be able to shoot at an airport "today" like they did in this episode (hinting that 9/11 happened in between the episode being shot and the recording of the commentary) it puts the series in a firm historical place. I appreciated how a throwaway line like that can make me reminisce about times past. For that alone I award the commentary an extra point. Other then that though, there's not much here to recommend.
Commentary 2: "So It Begins" -- Director Ken Olin, producer Sarah Caplan and cinematographer Michael Bonvillain Rating:3.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Agressor on February 20th, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
I mistakenly posted this review in the "truth be told" episode column, so I'll repost it here in the correct episode column. Unfortunately that of course means there is now a duplicate post of this review.

Well this was a quite a step down from the first commentary. Though the three contributors here are well acquainted and seem to get along nicely with one another it doesn't translate into good commentary. They joke around and reminisce quite a lot about the shooting but most of it is uninteresting. The stuff that I found somewhat compelling was when they noted how differently they do things "now" (they were working on the second season when they recorded the commentary) compared to when they shot the episode, like how they would've never let the scene with Sydney picking the lock on the suitcase go on for that long and also how they learned the hard way about things like staging fights on location. Other worthwhile mentions were how they used lightning to set the mood for different locations, giving Sydney a cozy feeling at home and a cold uninviting sense at SD-6.

At one time Sarah Caplan mentions how, when they are old and have Alzheimers they can look back at this show and remember their life at that point, which, although I found the comment to be in slightly bad taste, is kind of profound. Even for a follower of the show like me (who've watched it all the way through twice) it does bring back nostalgic memories of when I first watched it. Combined with the observation they make in the commentary that they wouldn't be able to shoot at an airport "today" like they did in this episode (hinting that 9/11 happened in between the episode being shot and the recording of the commentary) it puts the series in a firm historical place. I appreciated how a throwaway line like that can make me reminisce about times past. For that alone I award the commentary an extra point. Other then that though, there's not much here to recommend.
Commentary 3: "Q & A" -- Executive producer John Eisendrath and supervising producers Alex Kurtzman-Counter and Roberto Orci Rating:8.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Agressor on February 20th, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
This was a really solid review and a welcome improvement from the last one.

As producers (and Kurtzman-Counter & Orci being sometimes writers as well) they have insights into most aspects of the production and in this review they explain many of the hurdles they had to overcome to make the show. For starters this episode was a "clip-show" containing flashbacks to earlier episodes to give new viewers a chance to catch up. What I didn't know however was that an alternate motive was that they'd overrun their budget and needed to make a cheap episode to save money.

The commentary is loaded with revelations about J.J's work method, story structure and abandoned plots. Moreover they find humor in the fact that Victor Garber who plays Jack hated shooting action-scenes which is funny considering the amount of action he gets to partake in and Jacks grim character.

This was an informative and sometimes funny commentary that I would recommend to any Alias fan.
Commentary 4: "Almost Thirty Years" - Actors Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Victor Garber, Bradley Cooper, Carl Lumbly, Ron Rifkin, Merrin Dungey and Kevin Weisman Rating:6.0/10 (2 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Agressor on February 23rd, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
Wow, what a mess. This commentary suffers from the usual "too many cooks" syndrome of people babbling without any coherence and everyone fighting to get their humorous quip in.

Intermittently someone tries to bring some sort of structure to the proceedings but is soon led astray by someone explaining how to use a razer or congratulatory remarks about how good the other actors are when they are on screen.

There are some humorous moments with the actors poking fun at each other, with Victor Garber being especially targeted.

Still, this is not one I recommend.