Jack Bauer has certainly had better days than this one. Kicking off in episode one by re-introducing the apparently dead Tony Almeida, it’s a lot more conventional than the muddled sixth season, yet the seventh series of the show simply seems bereft of interesting ideas.
The drill is slightly different at first, in that CTU is gone and Jack Bauer, at the start, is up in front of a Senate hearing looking into the manner in which he goes about his work. But that potentially fascinating backdrop for the series is quickly discarded, in favour of another by-the-numbers run through 24‘s motions. That’s not to say that 24‘s routine isn’t enjoyable, but it comes to something when even the plot twists are part of the expected fabric of the show. And if season seven demonstrates one thing, it’s that 24 has pretty much lost its ability to surprise.
If the narrative isn’t perfect, then Plan B certainly helps, as the casting director has certainly been earning their cash. Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor is a strong addition to the recurring cast, but as usual, it’s the smaller side characters that are the most fun. Here, Kurtwood Smith’s Senator Mayer, Jon Voight’s Secretary Of Defense and Colm Feore’s Henry Taylor are involved in some of the most interesting subplots. And yet each, in turn, is pretty much pissed away. It’s left to Sprague Grayden as Olivia Walker to add some boo-hiss to the proceedings, before someone lets Elisha Cuthbert as Kim Bauer back onto the set. I’ve talked about that elsewhere on this site, so won’t be going back there right now.
24 season 7 isn’t bad, to be fair, but even the marvellous fifth season seems a long way away now. What’s particularly disappointing is that there was an extra year break between this and the season before it, and there’s little sign that it was put to good use. As it stands, you’ll get your entertainment out of this season, but television’s slickest thriller is really starting to show its
As for the DVDs? Ever since the disappointing, pretty much extras-free first season, Fox has gone a bit more to town on subsequence boxsets of 24. That said, this isn’t one of the best. You do get an assortment of commentary tracks and featurettes, but there’s nothing particularly riveting or vital here. You do get a good mix of contributors, though, which is a good thing.
The overriding feeling from the whole package, though, is that this is a season that’ll do, and not a lot more than that. Is it good value? You get around 16 solid hours of entertainment for your cash, so that alone means you’re hardly being short-changed. But this does still feel like a boxset more for the completist. The 24 novice will be well advised to target seasons one and five to find the show at its best.
The Feature:The Discs:
Get 24: Complete Season 7 [DVD]at the Den of Geek Amazon Store