Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action TV > 24 - Season Four

24 - Season Four


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Episodes: B



In the 1960s when there was an Action or even Superhero genre, they knew how to get on with it.  This meant making the characters and situations exciting upfront and then maybe dealing with their past and origins later.  Since the 1980s, the tendency has been to do the origins first and sometimes harp on them too much, which has held back event he best of such franchises.  In the case of the series 24, since it is done in chronological order, they have had no choice.  But now, after getting through the introductions, drug addiction, family melodrama and even some clichés of intelligence work, the series is stronger than ever.  Season Four is the strongest season yet, bringing Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland in one of his career peaks) to his Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) after being dismissed and seemingly never to be seen again.


This time, the current Secretary of State (William Devane) and his daughter are the targets of an Islamic Terrorist plot that includes a family as part of a four-year long sleeper project.  This is not apparent at first, but then this particular season has upped the ante and is running at a faster speed now expecting the audience can keep up if they have got this far.  This also means a few clichés have been trashed, amounting to the best season of American Espionage TV since Martin Landau and Barbara Bain’s last season on the original Mission: Impossible, high complement indeed.


We will not go into why the 1988 revival of M:I failed, but after spoofs and attempts to emulate the Roger Moore Bonds (A Man Called Sloan), this might not be an outright Spy show, but it is close enough to the genre to qualify and has the right combination of character and story development to be worthy of that long legacy.  At this point, 24 is a bona fide classic and that is something we see more rarely on TV of any kind these days.  Sutherland has so become the Bauer character that it is a marvel to watch and like no action hero in recent years, audiences can identify with him strongly.  He is a great character and Sutherland is such a fine actor, as he always has been.  He just keeps getting better.


So why is this show so great, so strong?  For one thing, it is not politically correct, yet is not on some ideological Right of center tirade.  Furthermore, the villains are as complex as the heroes and as three-dimensional.  The idea of human nature and a moral center is more realistic as a result and you never know how human behavior will cause someone to decide to do the right or wrong thing, which will affect secrets, plots, lives and an already superior storyline.  The human variables are never contrived and once all is set, especially in this season, you get action, action, action.  You should still start with the first season and work your way form there, but Season Four is amazing and how they are going to follow this up is more suspenseful to me than finding out who shot J.R. or any other cliffhanger you can think of.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 images for this fourth set is not quite as clear as the last one, though it has its moments, the Video Black is sometimes on the weak side for whatever reason.  Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 is again offered and is not bad, though not as punchy or as detailed as the last set either.  Good bass still continues to show integrated presence and the soundfield much more naturalistic.  The performance is fine overall, if just missing the peak mark of the last set.


Extras here include 39 deleted scenes, 12 audio commentaries on at least one episode on each of the first six DVDs, leaving the seventh again devoted to supplements.  Those 39 deleted scenes are repeated on the last disc with commentary options, Fox Movie Channel Making A Scene segment, Breaking Ground: Building A New CTU featurette, two more featurettes, cell phone promo, DVD-ROM of the new video game for this show, a Music Video, and prequels for this season and a new bridge between this and the next season, which will arrive in 2006.  We can’t wait for that either.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com