"24: Season One - Special Edition" 7-Disc DVD Review
June 11, 2008 by James Harvey
The first season of 24 remains one of the best seasons, of any series, in recent memory. We're thrown into this huge premise, tackling countless cliffhangers, dealing with a wide range of plot-lines (both good and bad), and breakneck action. This is, without a doubt, one of the best shows on television, even today, and now Fox Home Entertainment has gone back to the first season to give fans some incredible new special features as we wait for the newest season of this great series. So, just how did this series start off and, well, does it hold up? Well, the short answer to that question is "yes," but I'll go into more detail once we get the synopsis out of the way.
Relive the entire first nail-biting season of one of the most electrifying and innovative television programs in recent history when 24: Season One returns with an all-new Special Edition DVD from Fox Home Entertainment. Season One of this precedent-setting television series began as Agent Jack Bauer, played by Keifer Sutherland, is informed of a threat against U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate David Palmer on the day of the California Primary. As Bauer attempts to unravel the mystery and ensure the safety of Senator Palmer, new conspiracies begin to emerge that threaten CTU, the country and his family. With incredible supporting performances from Elisha Cuthbert, Carlos Bernard, Leslie Hope, Sarah Clarke, Eric Balfour, and Mia Kirshner , as well as cameos from Lou Diamond Phillips and Dennis Hopper, this will truly be a day that none of them will ever forget!
This first season will forever be known for its groundbreaking and stunning series finale, when Jack rushed into CTU only to find out . . . wait, I'll skip that. There's still a chance that a good portion of this audience has yet to experience 24 and I definitely do not want to ruin what is, arguably, one of the biggest moments in television history. So, instead of that, let's backtrack a little but and take a nice, if brief, overlook of the first season of television's top-rated action-drama.
I remember the controversy this show riled up even as it began. The show was set to open with the dramatic explosion of an airplane. Naturally, given the uneasy atmosphere after 9/11, the show reshot the entire sequence, and, as a result, many critics stated that many audiences stayed away from the series during its initial season since the viewing audience just wasn't in the position to watch such a show. However, as the series continued to air, season after season, the audience for the series grew and became fiercely loyal. And now, as we wait for the next season to start, Fox Home Entertainment has given us the privilege to look back in a great new DVD release.
And, unsurprisingly, this is such an amazing show. Now, I'm not saying that as a die-hard 24 fan, not at all. I'm saying that as someone who can't help but appreciate what was created here. The excellent action sequences and enjoyable plot, coupled with superb actors and stunning twists. The complex characters and the stunning surprises - surprises you can only really do once in a show. And this show nailed them all. Yes, this season did have a couple weak points, namely a subplot involving Teri later in the season (which I won't spoil, but to those who pick up this season for the first time, you'll know what I mean as soon as you see it) and the inexplicability of Kim's thought process, Kim being Jack Bauer's daughter. Seriously, when you see some of her decisions, you will just . . . well, you'll just be absolutely astonished. Not in a good way.
At the end of the day, 24 is one of the best thrill-rides on television, and season one is just the best of the bunch. The series had had a lot of good points, and a few rare lulls, but this season was the first time for everything, introducing us to the 24 mythos for the first time. For those who havenít had a chance to check out the first season of 24, there's no better time than now to do so. To those who have already given it a spin, why not give it another right now as we wait for the next season of the series to arrive later this year (in the form of a TV-movie in late 2008, with the start of the next season in January 2009). 24 comes Highly Recommended as one of the most enjoyable shows on television today, no doubt about it.
Fox Home Entertainment has really given this 24: Season One - Special Edition a very snazzy make-over. The collection, seven discs in all, arrives in steelcase packaging, with an actual digital 24-hour clock on the front (which you can turn on by opening the case and pressing the button on the inside lid). On the back you'll find a sheet of paper attached to the case, with info on the set. The case definitely looks sharp, although it seems to be very easily damaged, so be cautious. Inside you'll find a host of inserts and booklets, with all seven discs placed inside a cardboard book, each disc in a separate sleeve. Overall, it's a very impressive and very classy presentation from the first season of 24.
For those wondering about the presentation for this collection, I have some disappointing news for you. This new collection seems to be using the exact same transfer as the original 24: Season One release, meaning that, again, the "previously" recaps are missing. The audio and video transfers for this set are great, don't get me wrong, but I would have preferred it if Fox actually went back and restored the entire first season as completely as possible. Oddly enough, Fox has also kept the original "Season One/Season Two" introduction on the first disc, as well as the bonus alternate ending with commentary. In fact, save for a few new extras, it seems that discs #1 - 6 are exactly the same as the previous discs, save for a handful of new commentaries scattered here and there.
The seventh disc is when all the new content kicks in, including an abbreviated commercial for the upcoming seventh season ("Coming Soon," Fox tells us), among other trailers. Once we get past the trailers, the new bonus content kicks in and, much like previous sets, there's quite a lot to choose from. It's not as well-handled as previous sets, but you can't argue with the amount of content included here. Now, before I go further, I just want to mention that the first and final episode of the season have new audio commentaries included on their respective discs, so don't forget to check those out before continuing on with disc seven.
As for disc seven itself, we get nearly 27 minutes of deleted scenes, the alternate ending (included on the original "Season One" DVD release), a 25 minute featurette called "The Genesis of 24," exploring the origin of the series, and two "The Rookie" vignettes sponsored by Degree. Now, that's not a lot of extras, but the deleted scenes and new featurette are definitely worth checking out, along with the new audio commentaries. All the extras are put together quite nicely and should have some interest bits of info for the casual or hard-core 24 fan.
Overall, for hardcore 24 fans, you need to ask yourself just how much of a fan you are. The new set is available for an affordable price and, well, the new casing is just really excellent and a great incentive to buy the first season again. For the die-hard fans, I Highly Recommend it. For casual fans, you may want to rent the set before opting to purchase it. For the few who have never seen this show, this is a great time to check it out, and I can't recommend it enough. True, you may be able to find the original release of 24: Season One for a low sticker price, but this one, with the extras is what you want. And why? Because once you're done watching the season, you're going to want to learn more about the series, no doubt. 24: Season One - Special Edition is a great refresher for the die-hard fans and something new fans should consider picking up.
24: Season One - Special Edition is now available on DVD.