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24 – Season Six

Unlike most fans of 24, I only started watching last year on DVD. Starting with Season Five gave me an interesting perspective in that I was introduced to Jack Bauer in his uncompromising glory. He was no longer saddled with love and fear of losing his wife. That was ancient history. Day Five on DVD got me hooked on the series, and I actually caught Day Six on television earlier this year.

Taking a look back at Day Six on DVD, I’m left curious on how they are going to top things (and if they’ll have a chance with the ongoing writer’s strike) next year. For the sixth excursion into CTU, Jack is sprung from a Chinese prison as a negotiating tool for terrorists. And this is a good thing, too, because when the inevitable double-cross comes, Jack is the only one with guts enough to save the day… again and again throughout the season.

Watching any season of 24 on DVD is different than seeing it on a week-by-week basis as it’s broadcast. The flaws of the show, especially in the timing and believability of the premise, works so much better in smaller chunks. But there’s definitely a joy to having a 24 orgy on the weekend and enjoying the entire seasons in one sleepless sitting.

Ultimately, though, you’re not watching this show for believability. You’re watching to see where it will go and how the story can shock and excite you. In Day Six, things are taken farther than ever, with devastating terrorist attacks, family drama and the ups and downs of torture. Certain things are wild and crazy, like Wayne Palmer looking more like a spokesman for Michael Jordan’s cologne than the President of the United States, but most are forgivable. And that adds to the fun.

My favorite part of 24 – and it’s very apparent in this season – is how gray of a show it is. Even in the midst of black and white morals, nothing is sacred, and our emotions are almost always conflicted. Loyalties will spin on a dime, and no one is protected from being a stat in the body-count list. Even as stories come to a close, there are plenty of loose ends, which happen in real life.

All 24 episodes are kept on the first six discs, with the seventh reserved exclusively for bonus features. They range from the promotional (e.g., a Season 7 preview as well as a preview for Prison Break: Season 2) to the minutia (e.g., webcast diaries and DVD-ROM exclusives). There’s also a funny bit with Ricky Gervas’ cameo, and if you care to search for it, you can find the Easter egg featuring Bart Simpson crank calling Jack Bauer.

The standard features are also there, including extended and deleted scenes as well as featurettes on shooting the opening scene, make-up effects and the technology of the series. If you can stomach the preachy global warming PSA with Kiefer Sutherland, you can make it to the mobisodes which show Jack’s debriefing after the day is over. One of the most interesting features to me was the sit-down in the writers room where the lead writers discuss the development of the scripts and what might be in store for future episodes.

Grade: A

The Upside: Bart Simpson’s prank call is hilarious.

The Downside: Only serves as a reminder that we may not have a complete Day Seven.

On the Side: Kiefer’s doing great in prison.

Release Date: December 4, 2007
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 1050 minutes
Number of Discs: 7
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Gregory Itzin, DB Woodside, William Devane
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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