A great show and a DVD worth buying due to the wealth of extras.
I'll pick LOST over 24 cause the show is dry when it comes to acting and character development.
24 is a show that I have serious mixed feelings about. In fact I never got into it in the beginning, but actually kind of hitched along as it grew in popularity. The best thing about the show is its concept, and I can pretty much guess that the concept was thought up before the story ever was. 24 is an incredibly sharp show that moves at a breakneck speed and never lets up. So, who do you thank for that? Well, it's definitely not the writers. Thank the brilliant creative team that makes this show what it is. The visual style, the editing, and the cinematography all make 24 an exciting watch.
In this season we see President Logan take the position of Commander In Chief. So, how do you stop a terrorist when he is the president? Jack Bauer, that's how! Kiefer Sutherland does a great job in this show, in fact he is the only good actor in this show. I'm not sure whether to blame the writing or the acting, but most of the lines delivered in the show are so stilted and wooden. I think the writing has some part to blame, but everyone definitely overacts beyond belief, and it really hurts it. Another thing that hurts the show is that there is no character development. You can gasp and hate me all you want for saying this, but it's true. The show relies on editing for its entertainment, the pacing is perfect. However there were a few emotional scenes this season that simply did not evoke emotion from me. I'm not a hard boiled person either, I love it when films and tv shows can make me cry or have the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I have a friend of mine who I argue with constantly about 24 vs. LOST. Without a doubt, LOST is the best drama on television. 24 is high up on the list, but it's not quite there. Let me explain.
24 has pretty much the same structure as a video game, each hour is a new level in the game for Jack Bauer to complete. Only in a video game can the body count get as high as it does in 24. I mean, I think there is an official count somewhere for this season and Jack kills well over 100 people in only 24 hours, kind of farfetched. Anyway, the character of Jack Bauer reminds me a lot of video game characters like Sam Fisher and Solid Snake. The plot it action based but really there is no character development, just character interaction if that makes any sense. LOST on the other hand is the best drama on television for one reason, and that is emotion. LOST knows that it's a television series and it takes advantage of that by dedicating time into building the characters so that we know them. LOST has made me cry every single time a character has died, and you know why? The show has a sense of human emotion and can incorporate that into the situation of the characters. Love, hate, fear, sadness, happiness are all expressed in the show and with the brilliant acting can convey that to the audience. I never got anything like that from 24, I was on the edge of my seat on several occasions but that was just because of the scene structure not the characters. A good friend and fellow MovieWeb writer, Aaron Steven, told me that 24 is a show that does not have time for character development. A good point considering that 1 season takes place in 1 day, how can you have emotional development with so much going on in 1 day? He's right, you can't, it's impossible. Then I say this; the whole point of film and television is that it's an illusion of time. Have you ever seen another show or film do realtime? No, the whole point of visual entertainment is to create illusions of time so as to only focus on the most important aspects of a creative story. In LOST we will leave a character now and then and go into a flashback and what may be 10 minutes of screen time will actually only be a few seconds of thought for the character.
I say this in conclusion, I like this show. I think 24 is a unique and fresh breath of air, but in all honestly it's not a smart or involving show. It's nothing but a simple to follow plot that involves lots of shooting. If Michael Bay made a concept for a TV show, 24 would be it, I'll enjoy a Michael Bay movie anytime but always find something to point out that wasn't good. How 24 won the Emmy for best Drama is beyond me, it certainly deserves the nomination but not the win.
Season Six Prequel:
In this enticing featurette we see the last few minutes of the season and then the first few minutes of the next season where it shows Jack being rescued from China, or does it? Nice little teaser for fans.
Season 6 Trailer:
A short TV spot for the season 6 premiere in January.
This is a great featurette on the guest stars and the secondary characters of the show. The one thing you learn is that guest star basically means you get killed off. If you haven't seen the season then don't watch this till after since spoilers are revealed. An interesting and troubling fact here in this featurette is that all the actors talk about how they are left in the dark in terms of plot points, that the show is basically play as you go. That also directly touches on the writing which sort of says something about how the episodes are conceived.
Unsung Heroes- The Camera Department:
This is the best featurette on the set and honestly one of the best featurettes on any DVD in a long time. This is a very detailed and lengthy featurette on the cinematography and visual style of the show. Director Of Photography Rodney Charters sits down and talks extensively about how cinematography on the set works. Film enthusiasts and students will want to check this featurette out. They go through the lighting process, the loading and placing of cameras, film stock, checking the gate, lense control, dollies, and working with the cameramen. It's a great technical featurette that I really enjoyed.
Music By Sean Callery:
Here we come to another aspect of the show that I despise, and that's the music. Sean Callery is a pretty much no talent composer who thinks he is the man when it comes to electronic synthesizer composition. Hans Zimmer is the sole pioneer of incorporating synth sound with orchestral music. Sean Callery is pretty much a Harry Gregson-Williams wannabe. In the featurette he does something interesting but with the wrong idea. He takes one scene and throws different types of music over it to show how music changes the scene completely, which is true. However, he chose the worst scene you could because the emotion of the scene is done through the acting and when he changes the cue it just sounds stupid and doesn't change the emotion. The best composed show is again Michael Giacchino's work on LOST.
An interesting featurette on production design and how the sets are dressed in an cheap and efficient manner.
Extended & Deleted Scenes:
An incredible wealth of deleted and extended scenes make this set even more impressive. We have selections from every episode with optional commentary.
100th Episode Reel:
Pretty much a montage of clips from the past seasons that show how far the show has come.
24: Behind The Scenes Book Sample:
A short introduction and promotion for a new book that's coming out that compiles pictures from the sets. A few sample pictures are shown.
Overall these are excellent special features that I enjoyed watching. They were interesting and to the point while containing a mountain of information. Definitely a model that all TV sets should follow.
20th Century Fox went cheap and didn't send a retail copy for me to review. I only got a screener disc with the special features. So, I cannot accurately review the video quality. I can tell you that the show is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and that it should be on par with the previous season sets.
Again, nothing to review. Expect a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that should be of high quality.
Once again, no package to review. Expect the same thing you've been seeing in the past.
24 is sharp and exciting television that relies more on plot points than characters to drive the show. Fox is not known for having character driven shows and this is the best drama the network has. This season was quite a watch with plenty of guest stars like Sean Astin and plenty of tense sequences. It's an entertaining watch without substance.