Anyone who knows me understood that calling between 9pm and 10pm on Monday nights would result in a phone without answer. The truth is I’m a bit of a Jack Bauer nut and after jumping into the series during its third season (and subsequently back peddling to watch the first two), I’ve become quite the 24 aficionado. I have a couple t-shirts, one of the figures produced by McFarlane Toys, the soundtracks, obligatory CTU ringtones on my phone (as well as a few others) and, of course, each of the seasons on DVD (and now this eight). I really just love the show and while it definitely became a bit of a shadow of its former self (the first few seasons really felt grounded in reality, while the final ones have taken on more than a few ridiculous scenarios), there’s no denying that it managed to set you on the edge of your seat like no other show on TV. Unfortunately the series is now over; only to be enjoyed by those fans dedicated enough to own the sets on DVD/Blu-Ray.
Day 8 of the “24” saga is set in New York City, when a tired and jaded Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is drawn into an assassination threat during a peace-treaty conference between U.S. President Allison Taylor and President Omar Hassan of the fictional Islamic Republic of Kamistan. Bauer learns that Kamistani extremists intend to assassinate President Hassan and strike at America directly with the assistance of the Russian mob. In a suspenseful, real-time struggle, Jack Bauer must use his skills to infiltrate the plotting organization and prevent the start of a third world war!
That last line in the synopsis above just sounds so cheesy—Bauer is relegated to once again stopping a war and this time it’s…well, it’s business as usual. No one listens to him despite the fact he’s been right every damn time in past seasons (it actually would’ve been a refreshing twist to see if he was wrong for once…but that wouldn’t have been satisfying for the viewer) and this season gets especially ridiculous with how President Taylor (Cherry Jones) acts throughout most of it; although it is, once again, a great study of ones character in how they act over the course of a day. Her morals slowly begin to bend in the first part of the season and it becomes harder and harder to extradite herself from her copious lies and dirty dealings. And when she turns her back on Jack it really gets crazy…
At first there’s a lot about this season to enjoy. We see Jack fairly happy for the most part, especially with Kim popping up with his granddaughter and he’s once again reluctantly pulled into the fray. He does kick and scream quite a great deal bit more this time, but when former flame Renee Walker comes into the picture things get complicated and he stays to help protect and guide her since she kind of “falls off the rails,” so to speak, as she encounters various villainy from her past. There’s a nice parallel drawn between her and Jack’s characters this season and how similar they are, although once again Jack can’t get close to someone without them getting hurt which leads to some of the most intensely emotional scenes all season (and quite possibly the entire series).
While Jack has come “unhinged” in past seasons, he really never went quite as far as he did in this. President Logan returns once again to stick his nose into business that he really shouldn’t be meddling in and when Jack finds out how much of the misery and sorrow he caused during this eight and final day, he goes understandably ballistic. There’s a moment deep into the season (in the last few episodes) where Bauer kidnaps Logan in perhaps the most bad ass moment he’s ever been involved in—it topped even the axe-to-the-chest kill in the season premiere. It really was basically Jack dressing up like Batman and kicking all kinds of ass…truly fantastic. Plus the look on Logan’s face was simply priceless.
Admittedly this final season wasn’t the high note it could’ve gone out on (*cough*Season 5*cough*) but all in all this is a series I’ll never forget. This season definitely had some of the highest and lowest moments (as well as the most annoying characters—seriously, Katee Sackhoff should’ve disappeared much sooner…although her eventual removal from the show was incredibly satisfying) of the entire series but in the end it’s still a Recommended outing. Seasons one and five may have been nothing but pure icing, but all the other seasons were the necessary cake that filled us up and made us appreciate the grandiose moments that the series gave to us in such copious amounts that much more.
The 24 set continues past presentations of DVD seasons by arriving in a standard width amaray DVD case that houses all six discs inside that reside on viva multi-pak trays. A glossy slipcover is included to help it blend in with the “boxier” look of past seasons. Moving onto the video and audio elements of the show, they’re comparable to past seasons. This season has some great audio mixing going on for the surround elements and on more than one occasion we get a full and immersive experience. Video quality varies depending on how much grain trounces along the screen, which the series is well known for, but even then it’s clean for the most part. This is certainly a beautiful show to watch on DVD, even in standard definition, although with so much grain and crushed blacks during night time sequences some would question the beauty of it…but for me it’s part of its charm and realism.
Extras are…sadly quite pathetic. I hope we do get a movie to round out the series at some point because I really can’t believe this final season has no commentaries and no retrospective look at the whole thing. I mean, really? One of the biggest shows this past decade and we get nothing to wrap it up? That is extremely disappointing. Especially considering they announced the release of this (and the Complete Series set) back in May, they certainly had a ton of time to work up some goodies. The full extras list includes:
Seven Extended Episodes
Scenemakers on 21 Episodes – behind the scenes looks at individual episodes productions, running approximately 2 – 3 minutes each
The Ultimate CTU – tour of the new CTU set, approx. 13 minutes
Deleted Scenes – spread across the set, six total, approx. 10 minutes
Virtually New York – featurette on how New York was inserted into Los Angeles streets, approx. 9 minutes
There are a handful of other extras to look at if you get the Complete Series set, but they released all of those extras online already in some form or another so in the end we really have no reason to get the complete series set and these final season’s on Blu/DVD are just…desperately disappointing. The extended episodes were cool bonuses, but not nearly enough to make up for the lack of commentaries and the copious amounts of deleted scenes we usually get. With how poorly this eight season was treated I can’t help but think we’ll see it re-issued whenever the movie eventually happens. It has to…because quite frankly as is this season is worth only a Rental unless you own past seasons already. It’s just that pathetic of a set.
24 – Season Eight is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.