24: Season Two DVD Review


This review is without spoilers (if you've seen season one.)

The show is presented in 16:9 anamorphic video. The picture is crisp and clear, though some of the darker scenes reveal film grain. Each episode runs about 43 minutes. Except for the first episode, which actually runs longer than the rest, each episode starts with a quick recap of plot points leading up to the episode you're viewing.

Each DVD in the six DVD set of "24 Season One" starts off with the FBI/INTERPOL warning, then the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Logo, then a disclaimer about commentaries, then the "24" animated logo. Eventually, we're at the simple main menu, with the theme music running rather dramatically in the background, which presents the four episodes on the disc as a range of time in hourly intervals.

24 season 2 menu example

Selecting a menu item brings us to a submenu, which is both a plus and a minus for this boxed set over season one. As with all the menus on these discs, the music runs dramatically in the background.

The sub-menu contains the following: Play Episode, Scene Selection, Special Features, Language Selection, and Home.

24 season 2 sub-menu example with, in this case, a non-spoiler image

What did I mean by "minus?" Well, you may want to, after selecting an episode, close your eyes and press select on your remote control to skip the sub-menu when you hear the theme music, because the sub-menus seem to contain the occasional spoiler image for the episode. Very poor design.

Scene Selection has a selection of twelve chapter stops.

Language Selection has these choices: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Dolby Surround, Subtitiles: English for the Hearing Impaired, Spanish, Off, Main Menu, Resume Episode.

Selecting Special Features brings up another sub-menu. This option is not available for every episode, but is there for three of four episodes per disc. The sub-menu contains one or both of the following: Deleted Scenes & Alternate Takes, Commentary.

24 season 2 Special Features menu example

Deleted Scenes & Alternate Takes will let you press the select button on your remote control when the "24" icon pops up. This will then branch to a deleted scene or alternate take, then will return to the program where you left off.

Commentary tracks pair up two actors, or an actor and producer, or an actor and director. They're generally unprepared for a commentary and won't have much interesting to say. Sometimes they'll blurt out spoilers like what kind of scenes a character has through the rest of the season.

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is a counterterrorism agent embroiled in a plot to nuke Los Angeles.

Jack Bauer, counter-intelligence agent

This show has some of the most engaging drama I've seen for a TV show lately. The hook is that the plot unfolds in real-time, and the 24 episodes represent 24 hours of time. The characters are very engaging. Nearly every show leads to the death of a major supporting character, so the twists the story takes will often leave you wondering what will happen next, and who is really the good guy and who is the bad guy.

I guess the writers had to throttle up the stakes and twists in the show in order to keep your interest after season one. There are many moments that made me go: "What the..." just because I couldn't picture a character actually doing the things they did. Kim Bauer seems to get into a lot of trouble unrelated to the plot, just to pull on your emotional strings, or maybe so that teens can relate to a character. But, it's all part of the dramatic ride if you allow yourself to buy into it.

As with season one, you'll have to overlook, if you're a techie like me, how technology works. Technology is more of plot devices in the show, than a representation of how things work. For example, authorities don't need a connection between cell phones to trace the location of a person. That person's proximity to a cell tower will do the trick. And newer cell phones have GPS locators built-in. But, the scene I'm thinking of, is more to set up the dramatic confession between characters.

There is a seventh disc in this boxed set with Bonus Features. There are five features on the disc: a documentary behind setting up and executing an explosion, a two part documentary following various production aspects behind the last two episodes of the season, comparison of two camera views of an interrogation scene, and deleted scenes with optional commentary. The documentaries made for interesting viewing because they went into a lot of reasonable detail a viewer doesn't know about behind the making of the show.

Howard Gordon (executive producer) and Jon Cassar (producer/director) watch a cut, and we see camerawork and work on a camera -- 24-style panels.

Overall, 24 season 2 is very engaging, and would be a good demo for a home theater.

Click here to purchase 24 season 2 at Amazon.com.

Contents by Vitas Povilaitis
email to vitas@GracefulBoot.com