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24: Season 7(TV) (2009)
The clock is ticking and the suspense mounts during this season-long depiction of "the longest day" in Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) life. Each episode is an hour in a very busy day for CTU agent Bauer in this revolutionary series that keeps audiences white-knuckled throughout. In Season 7, Jack is assisted by the FBI and covert operatives when the firewall for America's federal computer infrastructure is breached by the same people responsible for a conflict in Sangala. Jack must then uncover who is corrupted within President Taylor's administration, which has allowed for the Sangalans to raid the White House and capture Taylor.
For more about 24: Season 7 and the 24: Season 7 Blu-ray release, see 24: Season 7 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on May 20, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Dennis Haysbert, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard, Elisha Cuthbert, Cherry Jones
Directors: Jon Cassar, Milan Cheylov, Bryan Spicer, Stephen Hopkins, Ian Toynton, Tim Iacofano
» See full cast & crew
24: Season 7 Blu-ray Review
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, May 20, 2009
Debuting less than two months after the September 11th terrorist attacks brought the nation to a standstill in 2001, Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran's real-time espionage series, 24, gave anxious Americans the opportunity to exorcise their fears through startlingly relevant, serialized fiction. More importantly, it experimented with the traditional format of an ongoing television drama and influenced countless films and series to come. Never mind the criticism the show has endured in seasons since over its depiction of torture and human rights violations, never mind the countless accusations of insensitivity and sensationalism that have been leveled at nearly every episode, 24 has managed to capture the imagination of millions, has achieved worldwide notoriety and acclaim, and continues to enthrall viewers to this day. Oh yeah... did I mention it's a lot of fun?
After a weak and aimless sixth season left viewers wondering if 24 could ever rebound from such a creative black hole, Season Seven kicked in fans' doors and left them eagerly anticipating an eighth outing. Series mainstay Jack Bauer (the ever-brooding Keifer Sutherland) is back once again, this time yanked out of a congressional hearing to battle another threat to the stability and security of the United States. To reveal much more would risk giving away some of the story's finer plot twists -- after all, half the fun of watching 24 is getting caught up in its branching storylines -- but, suffice to say, a former friend makes an unlikely return from the grave and aligns himself with the enemy, a securities expert (John Billingsley) is kidnapped and forced to repair a device that can hack the nation's mainframe computers, a Sangalan prime minister is placed in danger, a private corporation attempts to acquire chemical weapons, the latest president (a spry Cherry Jones) has to contend with the mounting crisis, and a new agent (Annie Wersching) is paired with Bauer. Along the way, analyst Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and former CTU head Bill Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) attempt to help in any way they can, FBI agents Larry Moss (Jeffrey Nordling), Sean Hillinger (Rhys Coiro), and Janis Gold (Janeane Garofalo) work to solve problems of their own, and former Secretary of Defense, now Chief of Staff Ethan Kanin (Shawshank's warden, Bob Gunton) approves his own brand of justice. Can Bauer and his new cohorts avert certain doom? Can he save the country yet again?
The answer to both questions (as it is every season) is fairly obvious from the get-go: Jackie Boy will save the day, he'll do it in style, and everyone who threatens our blessed 'Murica will get what they deserve. The real question is this: how far will 24 drag its audience off the beaten path before it reaches its inevitable destination? Season Seven is more restrained than its splash-n-dash predecessors; its slowburn pacing enhances the tension of each and every encounter, while its meticulously crafted web of corruption and deceit unravels with the methodical maturity of a well-conceived summer blockbuster. The show doesn't abandon its guilty-pleasure charms or penchant for offing characters without warning, but it does grow up a little, leaving little doubt that its creators' fresh vision for the series is a strong one. Best of all, its clean-cut corp of new agents and freedom fighters are a welcome addition to the roster. Jones is the best president the series has pushed around since Dennis Haysbert started peddling AllState insurance, Wersching could anchor the entire show as far as I'm concerned, and newcomers Nordling, Coiro, and Garofalo (yep, even Garofalo) help breathe life into the all-too-familiar conventions of the series.
Of course, Season Seven suffers from the same problems that have dogged the series from the beginning. Bauer is practically a bulletproof demigod, his enemies are too calculating and precise, and his friends and colleagues are more expendable than the toasted oat pieces in a box of Lucky Charms. At this point, the fact that Bauer somehow finds his way into the midst of so many cookie-cutter crises is starting to grow old fast. Had he been killed two or three seasons in and replaced with an equally magnetic hero (played by an equally renowned actor), 24 would be the most unpredictable show on television. It doesn't help that the rhythmic nature of the twenty-four hour setup has made each season's twists and turns increasingly easier to spot. Fans like myself have always shrugged off these issues -- screaming the words "suspension of disbelief" anytime our love of the show is called into question -- but they're legitimate criticisms that will continue to push viewers away with each passing season.
But you know what? I don't care. It doesn't matter that I could sense what was waiting around most of Season Seven's many corners. It doesn't matter that I haven't wondered if Jack was going to live or die since 2003. And it certainly doesn't matter that 24 has more moles and traitors per capita than any other show in television history. Truth be told, there isn't an episode that goes by that doesn't earn my affection (at least in some capacity) and leave me begging for more. I've grown fond of Bauer's every last misadventure in counterterrorism, the series' go-for-the-jugular mentality, and the ever-evolving cast's commitment to so many challenging roles. Exuding more energy, intensity, and visceral thrills in an hour than most shows pack in an entire season, 24 can continue to count me among its faithful few until Fox decides to rip it off the air.
24: Season 7 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Bristling with rough-hewn grain, abundant and aggressive source noise, and overblown contrast, 24: Season Seven's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer may strike some newcomers as an unattractive, uncomfortable assault on the eyes. However, fans will rightfully identify the presentation as an at-times stunning, technically sound representation of the series creators' intentions and shaky, unpredictable visuals. Watching Bauer disappear into the shadows, emerge moments later in the stark light of an overcast afternoon, then chase a suspect into a dismal underground tunnel may be a jarring (and frequent) experience, but the transfer's blacks are deep and well-resolved, its skintones are consistently accurate and effortlessly handle each episode's lighting changes, and its delineation is surprisingly natural and revealing. Likewise, the camera flicks from character to character with sudden zooms and rapid turns, but motion blur isn't a significant issue, texture clarity is crisp and reliable, and crush and ringing are kept to a minimum. In fact, compared to the show's HD broadcast, the Blu-ray transfer is a godsend; a substantial improvement upon what was already a solid television presentation. Depth and dimensionality is more convincing, detail is more refined, and the image is much cleaner. And how, you ask, does the standard DVD edition stack up? Honestly, I took one look at its murky, blocky picture and laughed myself all the way to the eject button.
Still, 24: Season Seven isn't flawless by any means. Noticeable bursts of compression artifacts still disrupt drab backgrounds and bright skies several times per episode, detracting from the integrity of the image, drawing attention away from the positive aspects of the transfer, and distracting the viewer from the story at hand. It doesn't help that minor banding and aliasing occasionally show up and spoil the fun as well. Ultimately, longtime fans will be swept away by the technical quality of the presentation, but more stringent videophiles may wish Fox had added two more discs to the set and given all twenty-four episodes more room to breathe. Regardless, I'm a happy boy.
24: Season 7 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
24: Season Seven may not boast the perfect video transfer I was hoping for, but I'm pleased to report that its potent, hard-hitting DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a top-tier television revelation. Despite all the gunfire-n-splosions Bauer and company unload into the mix, dialogue is impeccably prioritized, hurried conversations are dynamic and intelligible, and muffled com chatter comes through without a hitch. As for the manic series' raining bullets and expanding fireballs, a pulse-quickening dose of LFE oomph accompanies every roaring engine, steel-rending wreck, hollow punch, and anxious shout. Moreover, the rear speakers never shut up. Gold's workspace is surrounded by a bustling soundfield of activity, cityscapes sound as crowded and chaotic as they should, and action sequences make it clear that the wizards at Fox were determined to staple your jaw to the floor. On the technical front, pans are slick and smooth and directionality is remarkably precise. Granted, the show's sound designers are a tad overenthusiastic on occasion, bombarding the listener with everything they've got, but such a heightened reality actually works well within the stylized world of 24. Make no mistake, Fox's lossless monster takes every opportunity it gets to sink its teeth into Season Seven's various trials and tribulations. Slide in any one of its six discs and prepare to be wowed.
24: Season 7 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of 24: Season Seven delivers the same supplemental package as its standard DVD counterpart. But while there's plenty of material to explore -- a half-dozen commentaries add serious value to the release -- I was disappointed that Fox didn't devise any meaty exclusives for the series' high definition debut (Picture-in-Picture tracks, interactive experiences, or any number of BD-Live features would have been a nice touch). Ah well, at least this six-disc set will keep diehard Bauer fans busy for a few weeks.
24: Season 7 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Seven seasons in and still going strong, 24 rights the wrongs of previous outings and gives its characters something new to do for a change. I know it will strike some of you as the television equivalent of Die Hard 11: Yippee-ki-yay in Space, but I'm an addict. Thankfully, the Blu-ray edition proves to be a fantastic release. With an excellent video transfer (that bests both the standard DVD and HD broadcast), a pitch-perfect DTS-HD Master Audio track, a chunky collection of special features that includes twelve commentaries, and an astonishingly low price point, 24: Season Seven is an absolute steal. If you have any love of the series, any affection whatsoever, this six-disc set should already be in your hands.
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24: Season 7 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Seventh Season of 24 Announced for Blu-ray - April 9, 2009
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring '24: Season Seven' to Blu-ray on May 19th, day-and-date with the DVD release. The first season of the popular show to be presented on Blu-ray, this six-disc set will feature 1080p AVC video ...
• Fox Reveals Blu-ray Releases for 24, Predator 2 and The Siege - March 12, 2009
In an early announcement to retailers, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has revealed that they will release '24: Season 7' to Blu-ray on May 19th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Additionally, they have revealed that they will bring the catalog titles 'Predator ...
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