Monday, September 29, 2014

TV on DVD Review: 24 - Live Another Day



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Jack Bauer.  Need I really say more?
Cons: A few familiar plot points still rear their heads
The Bottom Line:
Heart stopping action
Condensed into half the time
Will still thrill the fans




"It Was Great Seeing You Today.  Just Like Old Times."

Some ideas are just too good to die.  That’s why, four years after 24 ticked out its final second, it came back.  No, we didn’t get a full 24 hours (although a full day is still covered).  Instead, 24: Live Another Day consisted of 12 episodes.  This show still knows how to get your blood pumping.

Just like it’s been four years for us, it’s been four years for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).  During all that time, he’s been in hiding, trying to avoid the Russians who are out to get revenge for his behavior in season 8.  However, he resurfaces in London, and his first act is to break Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub) out of CIA custody.  Chloe has become a wanted hacker, disillusioned with the government and fighting to reveal the secrets they are trying to hide.  Jack needs Chloe’s skills and her new friends in his effort to stop a terrorist plot.

Yes, even on the run, Jack has managed to get intel about Margot Al-Harzi (Michelle Fairley, a terrorist who is plotting to take over drones and kill President Heller (William Devane).  Heller is in London at the moment, to sign a drone treaty, along with his daughter Aubrey (Kim Raver), who Jack still loves, and Aubrey’s new husband Mark (Tate Donovan).

Of course, breaking Chloe out of the CIA doesn’t go unnoticed (especially with Jack’s lack of subtly).  Soon he has CIA location chief Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) overseeing his capture with agent Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) hot on his trail.  Only Kate isn’t so sure Jack is the man they should be hunting.  Can he gain any allies in his efforts to stop the terrorists?  What will happen before the last second ticks out?

The producers claimed that this season was going to be different because it was shorter.  Heck, they famously promised that the show was going to dump us in the middle of the action.  I will admit the premier episode was definitely more ramped up than some of the old premiers, but they still took the time to explain all the new relationships and the set up for the season.  There was just more action going on in the background.

I will give the producers this – I don’t think there were any wasted sub-plots this season.  You know, the sub-plots we never cared about but were there to fill up time as characters moved from one spot to another.  While one or two sub-plots seemed unimportant, they eventually tied in better to the overall story than the sub-plots did in the full seasons.

However, there are clichés on 24, and many of them were still evident.  If you watched this without knowing there had been four years in real time between season 8 and this run of episodes, you wouldn’t know by any fresh plot twists.

But you know what?  That truly doesn’t matter.  As the season progressed, I was on the edge of my seat multiple times with my heart racing and the blood pumping hoping Jack could manage to save the day yet again.  The show has always been a thrill ride, and this season is absolutely no exception.  And there were one or two twists I didn’t see coming.

And the acting is still top notch.  Four of the actors from the show returned (although it has been a couple of seasons since we’d seen now President Heller and Aubrey).  They slipped right back into their characters as if no time had passed.  The cast of new actors were absolutely wonderful as well.  I do have to give a special shout out to Yvonne.  I loved her on Chuck, and it was great to see here again here.

This season is available on either DVD or Blu-Ray.  Either way, you get all twelve episodes in wide screen and full surround.  Both sets include deleted and extended scenes as well as a featurette on shooting in London, one on how they used headlines to shape the season, and finally one on filming while staying green.  If you buy the Blu-Ray set, you also get an extension to the season.  With the price difference between the two sets not being that great, if you have a Blu-Ray player, that’s definitely the set to go with.

There are rumors that the producers are open to doing another event series like 24: Live Another Day.  With how they left Jack, I’d say they absolutely need to do that.  If it does happen, I’ll be back on the 24 roller coaster for every second.

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