The Good

At all times this show is taking entertainment up a notch.

The Bad

The extra features were only okay.24: Season 7 is a 6 disc set that gives viewers a run for their money in every single episode. In this new season we are given a fallen Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). Four years have gone by, Bauer's base of operations, CTU, is no longer around, and our hero is standing tall before the Senate subcommittee regarding his actions in the War On Terror. To paraphrase the Martin Sheen character from Apocalypse now, "Arresting someone for murder in the war on terror is like giving out speeding tickets at the Indy 500." It is clear that Bauer has broken many laws, but they were in the interest of national security and they ultimately had good aims. Apparently, none of this matters... or does it?

Bauer is suddenly enlisted by the FBI because there is a massive terror plot set on taking place in Washington, DC. Bauer is placed in the hands of some old friends with the mission objective: protect the US at all costs. This isn't as easy as it may seem since old friends are now enemies, enemies suddenly look like friends, and Bauer has his own agenda pending as well. Every moment that passes pressing decisions have to be made and it appears like our hero must resort to his old ways. However, this seems to be the price that needs to be paid for liberty prevail.

While 24: Season 7 is at times whimsical, outrageous and over the top, it prays upon our deepest fears in the most entertaining way. There is a richness to every episode and while the plots seem to get more and more heightened, it is great to see Jack Bauer prove that there is indeed a way out of every bad situation.

Features

Deleted Scenes

These deleted scenes are mainly intriguing if you are really big fan of this show. I must be honest, I wasn't too excited about seeing this because I haven't followed any of the other seasons. That said, when I sat down and went through this release I was really intrigued by just how insane the storylines are for this show. In regards to the deleted scenes, I don't think that viewers are getting anything here that will illuminate anything more about the show itself. This thing is so tightly created and put together that I am amazed that they had as many deleted scenes on this release as they do.

Audio Commentary Tracks

The Fimucite Festival Presents: The Music of 24

I normally am not to interested in featurettes that focus on music. This isn't a diss on composers at all. I love music, I love symphonies, I love soundtracks, etc. However, when it comes time to sit down and find out how this art was created, there are many other things that I would rather watch instead. Forgetting all of this, it was cool getting to look at the music of this film. Since television has multiple hours to get the stories across (instead of just 2 or 3), the audio really becomes another dimension. It is used to spotlight characters, scenes, emotions and many other things that often get lost when one simply watches a movie. The way the audio is used in 24 eas in the best way, and the fact that we get to see how the soundtrack for the show has evolved over almost a decade is nothing short of fascinating.

Hour 19: The Ambush

The Making of Season 7

Out of all the extra features on this release this is the one that left me wanting the most. Yes, it is in HD but it simply felt like the people that created it were merely going through the motions. They do their best to bring people up to speed with what is happening in Season 7, which for me was good because I was so late to the party with this show. Then the actors and other members of the creative team discuss the making of this show, the characters, the storylines and pretty much at that point I turned this thing off. There is only so much paint by numbers that one can stomach when there are so many other things for them review.

Video

Widescreen - 1.78:1. Having seen portions of these episodes when they aired on regular TV (I have friends who watch this show religiously so naturally I am going to get some spillover), I can honestly say that they look even better on Blu-ray. At times things looked almost 3-D-like which I am not sure if that's good or bad. The image itself almost comes off as too clear. The actors look like they are simply standing in front of a set because everything is so rich with color texture. Is this a bad thing? Does the viewing experience suffer because of this? I wouldn't go that far but I will say that I do wonder how much further they can go with high definition photography. This release seems to be, image-wise, as good as it gets.

Audio

English - 5.1 DTS-HD - Master Audio. English SDH. Subtitled in Spanish and French. This 50GB dual layer disc sounds really good. On Blu-ray, even only using the speakers on my TV, I was quite impressed with the fullness and fatness of the audio. I can only imagine how engrossing and nerveracking it must be if someone has speakers set up all around them. Fox has done an excellent job making it so users can hear all the little intricacies of the audio. From the sounds of gunshots, to gun-shells dropping on the floor, to the soundtrack for the show itself, I found that once I got things to a respectable audio level, the 6 discs in this set all played quite uniformly. There was some alterations for the extra features but that is to be expected.

Package

Kiefer Sutherland, holding a gun and poised to kill, takes up this front cover with a shot of the White House behind him. The back features a cast picture, critics quotes, a well written description of what happens on Season 7, a Special Features listing, and technical specs. The 6 discs in this set are very economically stored in one Blu-ray case. Overall, Fox deserves a lot of credit for allowing users to collect this show without having to deal with the bulky packaging of Standard DVD releases.

Final Word

Okay, 24 is one of those shows that I have gone out of my way not to watch on television. Like Prison Break before it (though 24 seems ultimately more plausible), I just have a hard time wrapping my head around Bauer saving the world from impending doom in every episode. It would seem to me that the best way this show could really get its point across is if it killed off Kiefer Sutherland's iconic character. I know, I know... this idea has been bandied about before, but after going through this season I really don't know that there isn't anything but an upside.

First of all, Kiefer Sutherland could die and they could get somebody else to replace him. While this might seem like sacrilege now, I am sure that if fans were given enough time to get used to the person they would embrace him. Secondly, we should remember that 24 as a show had a rough patch in it's opening few seasons. You couldn't pay people to watch this show. Fox kept shoving it down people's throats and voila! Suddenly, we have a hit that has become "an international sensation." Thirdly, as this show has shown in the past just because you die that doesn't mean that you are gone. We could always kill of Jack Bauer and if the ratings go in the dumper, they could either bring back that character, or bring him back in the form of a twin brother. In fact as I write this, the never-ending story ideas are ticking off in my mind.

Lastly, I would like to talk about the release pattern of 24: Season 7. If I am not mistaken this show came out on Blu-ray disc about a week after the season finale aired. That is amazing that Fox was able to get it out so quickly. This must mean that they were compiling the assets for this release while the show was still airing (most likely as it was shooting). That things look so good here isn't what I am so intrigued by. Was this season released so quickly because they wanted to keep it in the spirit of 24? It moves at such a breakneck pace that they wanted this show to follow that? Or, is this all part of the network and the studio's plan to see how sales are when viewers aren't given a moment to forget about the show?

Whatever the case, 24: Season 7 on Blu-ray disc is a welcome edition to the TV on DVD lexicon.