24 is a series that premiered in 2001 with the concept that each episode of the season was presented in real time. Consequently, each episode depicts one hour in a season-long 24-hour period in the life of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), an agent sometimes affiliated with the U.S. Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU). Before the most recent season, seven, the series aired 24: Redemption which brought viewers up to speed on what Jack was up to in years between season six and seven. It also set in motion plots that play out in the most recent season.
This year, 24 begins with Jack on trial for the illegal methods CTU used in the past and his own participation in the torturing of CTU suspects. The season features the first female President of the series, the return of CTU servers which had been shut down, the death of a multi-season cast member, and the return of a dead colleague who may or may not be evil. The season once again sees multiple threats against the US, the President, and more. Jack Bauer is back and the only man who has enough experience to remain calm in the situation despite being infected with a biological weapon that may kill him before the day is over. The season ends on a quasi-cliffhanger and sets things up for season eight which will take place in New York. Jack Bauer versus the city of New York? New York’s in trouble!
The DVD release of 24: Season 7 has a good number of special features. There are commentaries on 12 of the 24 episodes with participants who include the executive producers; directors; and cast members Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida), Annie Wersching (Renee Walker), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O'Brian), and more. The commentaries discuss topics such as the making of the season, how the writers' strike affected the series, and various plots that were dropped or changed as the season progressed. The only nitpick I have is that Sutherland doesn't participate in any of them, since he’s done them for past seasons it would be nice to get his thoughts on this season as well.
The set also contains deleted scenes which run just over 25 minutes. These scenes were cut for time and while some scenes weren’t necessary to further the story or had elements that showed up elsewhere, the reunion between Jack and his daughter Kim was a great extra few minutes and really should have been included in the episode. At least you get to see them now. There’s also an optional commentary with the scenes from co-executive producer Stephen Kronish and producer Paul Gadd.
“The Fimucite Festival Presents: The Music of 24” shows Sean Callery (the series composer) conducting The Tenerife Orchestra & Choir in concert while they perform music from the show. The featurette looks at the music heard over the course of the series and the new scores created for season seven.
The “Hour 19: The Ambush” featurette is an in depth look at the 19th episode where Tony and his goon carrying the canister set up the FBI. The featurette examines how the episode was shot and all the preparation that went into it.
“24-7: The Untold Story” is featurette that expands upon details heard during the audio commentaries, and discusses bringing back Tony, the change in setting to Washington, and the various evolution of the season's storylines (including plots that were dropped or switched amongst characters) that took place while working on the scripts.
Season six of 24 was a bit lackluster, but this latest season is the strongest since the show premiered in 2001. The strike was a good thing for 24 as it forced everyone to take a step back and rethink the concept. The series is now back in top form. Season eight can’t get here soon enough!