It's just after midnight at the Bauer home. They're getting ready for bed when Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) gets a phone call asking him to report to work at the Counter Terrorism Unit in Los Angeles. There he's briefed on a plot to assassinate Presidential candidate David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), the first African American candidate with a real chance at victory. Meanwhile, Jack's daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) has snuck out of the house to meet some guys who are a whole lot more trouble then she realizes. His wife Terri (Leslie Hope) is out searching for Kim but in a world of trouble all her own. Both women are merely pawns in the hands of the villains out to destroy Palmer and Jack. Meanwhile, Palmer is facing a crisis as well. Something in his family's past he didn't even know about is about to surface and could destroy his change at the oval office. It's going to be a long day for everyone.
Recommend this product?
This thriller series is innovative. Each episode represents just one hour in the same day with events occurring in real time. I wasn't sure the writers could pull if off, but they managed to keep all the plots going and make the gaps between seeing characters believable.
The story starts a little slowly while they are establishing characters and setting up the situation. The first few episodes didn't grab me, but they held my interest. That changed quickly, and it soon turned into a weekly addiction that had me glued to my seat and dreading commercials more then normal. Some of the plots lose steam in the afternoon, but it builds up tension again for the climax, which was the best hour of television that season, period.
The characters do suffer. One reason that it took me a few episodes to get into the story was because it took me that long to care for them. As with most thrillers, the focus is on the story. But if you give them a disc, you'll really care these people.
What really makes the series work is the acting. Yes, the series was inventive. Yes, it was plot driven with little character development. It was the actors who took the potentially stereotypical roles and made them full people. Even when a few plots drifted into the absurd in the afternoon, the actors still did the best they could with the material.
Unfortunately, this set wasn't all it could have been. They removed the "previously on 24" recaps, which are very useful if you just want to pop a random disc into the machine or it's been a few days since you last watched an episode. Ironically, they also don't have a play all feature, which would go well with no recaps. The worst thing, in my opinion, is the lack of chapter breaks in each episode. The season 1 intro (on the last disc) is ok and includes a mention of the second season. The best feature is the alternate ending. While (to my surprise) I prefer the real one, it's nice to see what might have been. As you would expect, the picture and audio quality on the six discs are top notch.
The first season DVD set was rushed out to help build an audience for season two. Subsequent seasons have had better extras, so I'm willing to forgive the lack of them here. But the lack of the recap & chapter breaks really bothers me. Still, it's a good set of a great show worth using to catch up or remember this innovative program.
Other 24 Reviews:
Season 1-3 Pack
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