Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Sarah Clarke, Dennis Haysbert, Elisha Cuthbert, Penny Johnson, Carlos Bernard, Reiko Aylesworth, James Badge Dale, and Mary Lynn Rajskub
- Running audio commentary tracks on six episodes; particpants include creator Surnow; actors Sutherland, Clarke, Rajskub, Aylesworth, Bernard, Dale, & Riley Smith; writers Howard Gordon, Evan Katz & Robert Cochran; producer Tim Iacofano
- Deleted scenes
- Season 4 teaser and promo
- Featurettes: “24: On The Loose,” “Biothreat: Beyond the Series” and “Boys and Their Toys”
- Mutli-Angle Study
Released by: Fox Home Entertainment
Rating: NR (some violence).
My Advice: Rent it.
This show just keeps getting stronger every season. Somehow, the writers are able to keep the show feeling current and topical even with a show that takes an entire season just to present a day of action to us. It’s stunning. It’s one of those shows where, if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, you will be taken on a ride. Ironically, Fox has created a show where it is actually better to watch on DVD than it is to watch it on TV. I hope they don’t get pissed at me to say that. Even if they do, it’s true. Every episode leaves you with another cliffhanger where one of the major character’s life is in danger. It’s just the perfect show. Sutherland is perfection. He is at times a hardcase and at times a caring individual, but he is always a hero. The rest of the cast is perfect in their support of his journey through this one day in his life.
The DVD sets are always excellent. The featurettes are in-depth and the discussions with the cast and crew are always topical and never boring. Each of them deals with a different aspect of the show: action sequences, shooting the show in general, high dollar effects shots (there’s a great sequence with real-life F-18s), and, of course, bioterrorism. I will warn you, this last one is a doozy. They really don’t hold anything back. It starts out kinda small with interviews with a virologist and moves into the effects of various types of viruses and how they can be turned into weapons of mass distruction. In short, this one is outstanding; this featurette alone makes the DVD worth the purchase price.
There is also a multi-angle scene study which is interesting, but only if you don’t already know that they shoot most action shots with multiple cameras rolling. This feature allows you to switch back and forth between the two cameras with raw footage. As far as deleted scenes go, because we’re dealing with an entire season here, the DVD set is full of them. However, when they title the scenes things like “Kyle Looks Worried” and “Chase Asks Chloe to Make Changes to His Cell Phone,” you can pretty much see right off that we’re not dealing with anything that would have added more to the season. The commentary they’ve provided for these scenes is nice to have, but a bit pointless.
There are also commentary tracks scattered throughout the six other discs that makeup this set. For the most part they are good, but not as good as getting the in-depth discussion from the cast and crew as you already get from the featurettes listed above. In the commentary, they’re looking back on the episodes and their distance from the completed work is very apparent. They just lack the excitement of the featurettes. There is also a feature on some episodes that allows you to go to an alternate or deleted scenes by hitting “enter” on your DVD remote when a “24” icon appears on the screen. This is pretty neat, but I think it would be better to have the option to choose between the show as it originally aired or the show with these alternates and deleted bits edited back in place. It would just make things run a little more smoothly and it would give audiences a better opporutnity to see why these scenes were deleted or alternated in the first place. And I wouldn’t have to lunge for my DVD remote each time.
If you have never seen this show, I suggest renting it. Even if you didn’t start from season one, there’s no reason you can’t start with this one. But the whole thing is worth checking out, regardless.