Film:
DVD:

Series Created by: Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Sarah Wynter, Sarah Clarke, Elisha Cuthbert, Xander Berkeley, Dennis Haysbert

Features:

  • Original extended version of the series premiere
  • Cast/crew running audio commentary on selected episodes
  • 44 branched deleted scenes with optional commentary track
  • Featurettes: “On the Button: The Destruction of CTU”; “Making of an Episode: Production”; “Making of an Episode: Post-Production”
  • Multi-angle studies: Scene 1, Scene 2

Released by: Fox.
Region: 1
Rating: NR (some violence may be unsuitable for young audiences)
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Own it.

Jack Bauer (Sutherland) has been out of the counter-terrorist business for about a year now. He got out of said business because one of his fellow agents killed his wife while he was trying to save president Palmer’s (Haysbert) life. Well, this particular morning, the NSA has uncovered a plot to detonate a nuclear bomb over Los Angeles sometime before the end of the day. Jack Bauer’s life gets a lot more complicated when the president requests that he be re-activated as an agent to head up the field work for this investigation.

What a great show. I had not seen a single episode of this show until I got this DVD to review and I now regret having missed it the first time around. I immediately wanted to find out when it was playing on Fox and start watching it religiously. However, it’s the kind of show that you have to watch from the beginning and have some kind of investment in it. The idea that each episode takes Bauer through a one-hour segment of a twenty-four hour period really works. This premise alone creates a sense of dramatic tension the likes of which I have never seen on a television show. However, you really have to suspend your disbelief in order to keep with the idea that there is a big cliffhanger ending at the end of every hour to this day. Still, if you can get beyond that, the show moves along at a very rapid pace and it makes for some great television.

Sutherland is outstanding as Bauer. He is equal parts bereaved husband, concerned father, and relentless government agent. Cuthbert is great as his daughter and she is equally as good when placed in her own difficult situations. Haysbert is one of the best television or movie presidents I’ve seen in a long time. He plays the role with mixed respect and enjoys the fact that the writers don’t give him writing that is political in nature (or at least overly political). Speaking of the writing, that’s also very solid. Every situation is believable and they really take the time to not lose touch with reality too badly. For example, when Jack has to travel somewhere, they actually take into consideration travel time.

This DVD set is absolutely packed with bonus material. There are several audio commentary tracks with members of the cast and crew on a few selected episodes scattered across all of the discs. For the most part, all of these are worthwhile and filled with the type of information you really want to hear from such things. The rest of the special features are equally interesting. On the last disc of the set, you’ll find the meat of the them. It starts out with a look at the demolitions expert working on a bomb explosion critical to the story. One of the most interesting things discussed is the fact that the special effects designers have to take into consideration that for the rest of the year, the debris from this explosion will remain pretty much in the same place as they shoot the rest of the season’s episodes. It’s well worth watching.

There is an excellent two-part featurette that goes into detail on the preparation and shooting of the last two episodes of the season. It starts with the preproduction meeting and goes all the way through post-production. Each part of the featurette is about forty-five minutes long and fantastic in its level of detail. There are interviews with the cast and crew, and plenty of behind the scenes stuff like fight choreography rehearsals and stunt preps as well as lots of shots of the director’s interaction with the actors. Every minute of it is worth watching. Next up is the multi-angle viewing of the interrogation scene from Episode 6. It’s not always the most exciting of viewing, but there are some moments that are very exciting to see from the other camera angles.

If you have never seen this show, I would tell you to seek this out and try it immediately. Warning, though: you will get addicted.

Buy it from Amazon.