I love Jack Bauer. He’s the uptight, ultra-patriotic, counter-terrorist psychopath who’d be absolutely no fun at a party, but really useful if you wake up one morning and found Osama Bin Laden tearing up your Oval Office.
Matter of fact, if you did invite him to your party, he’d likely be forensically testing the cocktail sausages for complex poisons while waterboarding the asshole who left a turd on a plate in the fridge. (It’s where the term Party Pooper comes from, but I digress).
Which brings me to the highly anticipated release of the 24: Complete Season 7 Box Set: lovers of Jack Bauer’s ultra-tense realtime thriller will be itching to get their hands on this baby. It’s been months since the series aired here in the UK, and I know I need to refresh myself on the finer details of the story. All I know is that I lost count of Tony Almeida’s defections after the first five episodes, and that Jonas Hodges is a very bad man.
In a nutshell, Jack starts Day 7 facing trial for the various human rights abuses he committed daily as part of his job. Forgoing the use of a lawyer, he snarls at the feeble bureaucrat in front of him that the American people will judge him at the end of the day. It reminds me a little bit of Tony Blair’s hand of history speech, or was it George Bush…
Anyhow, the trial never takes place, because Jack is co-opted by the FBI to help out with a national emergency. And from the minute Jack steps outside the courtroom, the pace picks up, with the usual multitude of plotlines running in parallel. There’s plenty of double-crossing and hidden agendas to drive the action, and even when you think the terrorists have been vanquished (thanks to Bill Buchanan for taking a bomb in the face for his country, have a medal or something), the real antagonist suddenly emerges to be evil businessman Jonas Hodges, played with gleeful abandon by the venerable Jon Voight AKA Angelina Jolie’s daddy.
And to cap it all off, Jack sucks in a lethal dose of an airborne toxin meant to kill off one of America’s larger urban centres. You know, as a warning to the people – “buy our product or we’ll kill you” – a very effective sales technique that is surprisingly little-used. And even by the end of the final hour, there’s a massive cliff-hanger that’ll have you wondering if Bauer will be back for another series of terrorising terrorists!
Season 7 of 24 was actually my first taste of the series, so I was unprepared for the awesomeness of it all. After each week I’d be bouncing around in my seat cursing that the episode ended where it did and wondering what’d happen next. Now I know why the DVDs are so popular – some people apparently wait until the DVD release to watch the whole series in a couple of big blocks.
I took the time to nosey through the extras, which are spread out across all six disks in the collection. They feature deleted scenes with optional commentary from the producers. There are 21 ‘scenemaker’ segments showing the production of 24, audio commentaries and three featurettes that are really worth a viewing. For us UK fans, we get the UK only feature – “24 in 24”.
My only complaint was – not enough Keifer. In fact, I’d have liked to see more interview footage with the actors. Although it was fun to watch Janeane Garofalo explaining how she memorised all the techno-speak she had to use for her role as Janis Gold.
The DVD Box Set was released today on Blu-Ray and DVD (£64.99 and £49.99 respectively, RRP), both coming in 6-disc sets. And I hear quite reliably that there will be massive box set containing every season of 24 (that’s 1-7) plus the Redemption episode . It’s likely to retail at £209.99, but for people like me who have 168 hours worth of catching up to do, that’s almost a bargain.