24: Season 7 (2009) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Action / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller|
|Fox || NR - 1051 minutes - $69.99 || May 19, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-12|
Writer(s): Robert Cochran & Joel Surnow (created by)
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Cherry Jones, Jeffrey Nordling, Carlos Bernard, Colm Feore, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Janeane Garofalo, Sprague Grayden, James Morrison
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All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, apparently they’ve never met Jack Bauer, the hardest working government agent (on and off the books) in the history of man! Even though the series has advanced 13 years or so, Jack has got to be a bit tired after saving the United States now seven times and come back from the brink of death nearly every time.
The seventh season of “24” begins with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) in front of a Senate hearing about torture and Jack, being the unrealistically responsible government agent that he is, admits to his involvements over the years. Just as questioning, by Senator Mayer (Kurtwood Smith) gets intense, Bauer is subpoenaed by the FBI to come in and help capture his old – and long thought dead – buddy, Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), who the Feds suspect of being a terrorist.
Meanwhile, at the White House an international crisis is brewing for recently elected Madam President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). The President feels she has an ethical obligation to invade an African country where hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered with more to come as the standing government becomes unstable. With forces at the ready to invade, Colonel Ike Dubaku (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) threatens to attack the United States if The President does not stand down.
How does he do this? Well, even if you never had seen the series, you know the two situations (Bauer/Tony and the crisis) are connected: it seems Tony’s association with this terrorist group involves a device that can hack into the security infrastructure with the ability to take control of planes and other sensitive facilities.
In typical “24” fashion, the story doesn’t end there... There are more people behind this conspiracy. As the season unfolds, the White House comes under siege, someone within the President’s inner circle may be a traitor, someone within the FBI is certainly a traitor, Jack Bauer goes from good guy to bad to good to bad guy and then back to good, and family issues come into play as Jack’s daughter (Elisha Cuthbert) returns and the President brings in her daughter (Sprague Grayden) to help in her administration (she was behind digging up dirt on Noah Daniels during the campaign).
From the perspective of someone who has only watched “24” off and on throughout the years, I cannot tell you how it compares to previous seasons (many fans feel season 6 was fairly poor and I only managed to catch maybe half that season) but I found this seventh season to be entertaining if not if a bit erratic with what seemed like 3 or 4 season finales (when one “villain” goes down, another pops up). But that’s probably what makes this season compelling. When you think one person is the big baddie, he (or she) is taken down and another one sprouts up and takes you by surprise. In that fashion, the show is realistic as really when one bad guy goes down, there’s another right there to take their place.
As for the characters, as Jack so often states “There isn’t enough time!” The show has to speed along at a brisk pace so there’s little time to take a break for some character development. Sure, Jack Bauer must face his own flaws because of his past actions, but the hour-by-hour complications take precedence over everything else (when one crisis is apparently adverted and characters can get some much needed sleep, something else happens).
In any case, “24: Season 7” is entertaining even with some bit outlandish plot developments, but I’ve come to expect that from the show. At this point you know there will switched allegiances, plot twists, and all that good stuff but the difference is, it at least makes for compelling and exciting television and you can’t ask for much more, and “24” delivers.
One thing I will say, the producers certainly know how to cast. Along with the series regulars Kiefer Sutherland, Carlos Bernard (making a return after “dying” in season 5), Mary Lynn Rajskub and James Morrison (along with Elisha Cuthbert), but you’ve got Cherry Jones, Colm Feore (one of my favorite supporting actors), Jon Voight, Tony Todd, Bob Gunton and so many others makes the series stand apart from other dramas.
“24: Season 7” comes in a thick Blu-ray case, probably the thickest one I’ve come across, and is about the width of 2 standard BD cases holding six discs.
Although the set doesn’t have an enormous amount featurettes, it makes up for it with 12 episode commentaries from members of the cast and crew:
“8:00AM - 9:00AM”, Producer/Director Jon Cassar and Actor Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida)
“10:00AM – 11:00AM, Exec Prod Manny Coto, Co-Exec Prod Brannon Braga and Bernard
“12:00PM – 1:00PM”, Producer/Dir Jon Cassar and Actress Annie Wersching (Renee Walker)
“4:00PM – 5:00PM”, Exec Prod David Fury and Actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Ike Dubaku)
“5:00PM – 6:00PM”, Exec Prod Coto, Co-Exec Prod Braga and Wersching
“7:00PM – 8:00PM”, Co-Exec Prod/Dir Brad Turner and Actor Tony Todd (General Juma)
“8:00PM – 9:00PM”, Co-Exec Prod/Dir Turner, Composer Sean Callery and Actor James Morrison (Bill Buchanan)
“9:00PM – 10:00PM”, Exec Prod Evan Katz, Co-Exec Prod Juan Carlos Coto, Wersching and Bob Gunton (Ethan Kanin)
“1:00AM – 2:00AM”, Exec Prod Howard Gordon, Bernard and Jeffrey Nordling (Larry Moss)
“5:00AM – 6:00AM”, Exec Prod Katz, Mary Lynn Rajskuto (Chloe O’Brian) and Glenn Marshower (Aaron Pierce)
“6:00AM – 7:00AM”, Exec Prod Fury, Co-Exec Prod Alex Gansa and Marshower
“7:00AM – 8:00AM”, Exec Producers Howard Gordon and Jon Cassar
Only downside is Kiefer Sutherland is MIA, though he did do a commentary on the 24: Redemption TV movie. Speaking of which, Fox did miss an opportunity to release the movie in this set (in HD); would’ve been a nice bonus.
The Filmucite Festival Presents: The Music of 24 (13:05; HD) featurette covers the ‘24’ score by Sean Callery with behind-the-scenes footage of the composer doing what he does best. No talking or comments, just footage of Callery at work. Personally, I enjoy his scoring, but I can just turn on my iPod and listen to it (I own the two soundtracks available).
Hour 19: The Ambush (12:46; HD) featurette covers the making of the big ambush scene during episode 19. Interesting for the technical aspects but only for that...
14 deleted scenes (26:00; HD) with optional commentary by Co-Exec Producer Stephen Kronish and Producer Paul Gadd, most of the scenes, if not all, were cut due to time and really, none of them were that great.
24: The Untold Story (15:48; HD) is basically a ‘making-of’ (from the writers perspective) the seventh season which goes through the trouble of coming up with a story and even admitting the shortcoming (and bad press due to the amount of torture) of the previous season. This featurette was refreshingly honest about the tensions between the writers plus the writers’ strike came along.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“24” makes its debut on Blu-ray in 1080p high-definition (1.78 aspect ratio) and overall, it’s not a bad looking transfer but given the source is from film it’s no surprise that there’s quite a bit of noise especially during darker scenes. Black levels looked good even when the picture itself was a tad soft in places. Having not watched this season live on FOX HD, I can’t really compare but I assume it looks probably about the same if only slightly better.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 also wasn’t overly impressive but still is a solid track with very clear dialogue, good sound effects and just an all around nice sounding track. All five channels are used fairly effectively although my subwoofer didn’t get that much use.
“24: Season 7” probably doesn’t stand up with the best (season 2) but from I’ve heard/read, it is a step up from the sixth season. There seemed to be four or five different (but connected) stories going on but the show was still quite entertaining and with Kiefer Sutherland’s ever intense screen presence and some compelling storylines, “24” is still a show to reckon with even after all these years.
This Blu-ray release is a nice collection. Outside of maybe including a couple more featurettes, I was impressed with the number of commentaries and the picture/video qualities were pretty good given the source. If the set is at a good price (right now it’s only around $15 more), it’s well worth picking up.