Alias: The Complete Second Season

Those who might despair over the beginning of creator J.J. Abrams' third season of Alias only need look at the first handful of episodes in season two, in this six-DVD box set, to realise that everything is going to be fine. After all, this spy show has always taken a slow pace out of the gate in order to rope in new viewers to the serialised plot goings-on. For newcomers, season two is the show's best (so far) and is essential viewing for fans of Jennifer Garner, of well-written television, of spy tales or for anyone who likes supporting underdogs. As season two opens, Sydney Bristow (Garner) works as a double agent with her father (Canadian actor Victor Garber) at a secret terrorist organisation. Over the course of the season, Abrams completely revamped this underlying premise twice — once in a mid-season Super Bowl episode and again at the season's conclusion. In between, we find primarily a lot of parental issues for Bristow, as she deals with loyalty issues of her presumed-dead, potentially evil-organisation-overseeing mom (Lena Olin). In addition to 22 episodes of gripping television, this DVD set offers some interesting behind-the-scenes looks at how a low-budget mid-range ratings show keeps itself afloat, including an extensive making-of for the show's season finale. To that is added a featurette on "The Look" of Alias (mostly Garner's hair and outfits), deleted scenes, radio interviews, blooper reel, and select episode commentaries, most of which map out for newcomers the bread crumb trail necessary to keep track. A prime opportunity to catch up with one of the best shows on television, already in progress. Plus: DVD-Rom, making of the video game featurette, TV spots, more. (Buena Vista)