This is a review of the Series Five DVD, Although this is a review of the DVD, I’ll touch on the series itself aswell. The Show
— Supporting Players
The most basic and simple premise for a DVD extra, interviews with the cast, through really it’s not one that they’ve done before on a 24 boxset and so it comes as something of a welcome surprise. The title for the feature is a roundabout way of saying the entire regular cast (of day five) minus Kiefer. Once you get over the disappointment of there being no Kiefer in sight you settle down to realise that the rest of the cast have some quite interesting stories and insights to share, and the feature doesn’t breeze past anything, you really come out of it feeling like you know more about the cast.
— Unsung Heroes: The 24 Camera Department
Really just a standard making of doc (which runs to 40 minutes) minus the normal on set interviews with the cast you would expect, instead Director Jon Cassar and DP Rodney Charters talk us through what’s going on. Covers two or three of the more memorable scenes of episode 15, 16 and 17. Gets a touch too technical in places for the average viewer, but it’s still fascinating too see what goes on during production, even if we do get some of the same insights from previous years repeated to us. The longest feature on the set at 40 minutes, but it really doesn’t feel it, doesn’t drag like this type of feature can at times.
— Music by Sean Callery
Sean Callery’s music for the show has been loved by fans since day one, so much so that a original soundtrack of his music was released, now we get a inside look at where he works composing, performing and editing the music. The backbone of the feature is him showing us how he scores the music can affect the viewers interpretation of what’s on-screen, we see a key early scene between Jack and Audrey with 3 different scores over the top of it (one as aired, a dark and murky and a warm and fuzzy). A good feature, but one which could have easily been lengthen so Sean could have talked about his work more extensively instead of the brief snapshot that this is.
— Logan’s Retreat
24’s budget it would appear allows for the building of one new large set each year and as last year we got a doc on the building of the new CTU set, this year it’s Logan’s retreat. Which it has to be said is a nice set, and this is a chance to really appreciate that. Includes interviews with all the key personnel involved in building the set. There aren’t really as many “in process” shots as you’d expect or like for a feature of this nature. But overall it informs, interests and above all doesn’t out stay it’s welcome.
— 100 Episodes of 24: A Look Back
The fourth episode of series five was the 100th episode of 24. To celebrate that fact, they’ve put together a nice reel of 24’s best moments. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a feature on a DVD which has a broader look at the series as a whole, and not just series five. You may disagree with some of the moments selected, is Chloe’s first kill up there with Mason’s ultimate sacrifice?, nice thing is that really all the big moments are here, and when one of your fave’s comes up, you’ll get a lump in your throat and teary-eyed with nostalgia. Quite nicely edited together. This is one of the features you’ll be watching over and over again.
— Extended and Deleted Scenes
The normal drill for deleted scenes. You can watch them together on the extras disc in one collective mass (with or without commentary), or re-inserted into the episode they came from. The branching function was missing from last years set, and is a nice idea though in practice it isn’t as smooth as you would like and so can simply disrupt your enjoyment of the episodes themselves. There aren’t really any huge “I wish they didn’t have to cut that out” scenes like in previous years. As i’ve already mentioned, you have several options for watching them, I suggest watching them in one go, with the commentary on, as in most cases the insights provided as to why scenes where cut and the “editorial decisions” that were made regarding each one are more interesting than the scenes themselves. Afterwards, simply seek out the ones that actually looked interesting to watch them without commentary.
— Episode Commentaries
— Episode One (7AM – 8AM) by Kiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer) & Jon Cassar
Apart from being seen is some of the behind the scenes docs, this is Kiefer’s only speaking contribution to the extras, and he doesn’t really give information as freely as you’d imagine, most of it is coaxed out of him by director Jon Cassar. What we do get is a good insight into the working relationship between lead actor and director, as well as what influence Kiefer has on the plot as the Star and a Exec producer.
— Episode One (7AM – 8AM) by Jon Cassar & Howard Gordon
In many places this repeats the commentary track on this episode, especially Jon Cassar’s contribution. But it does offer additional information on the episodes writing and the conception of the series as a whole.
— Episode Four (10AM – 11AM) by Joel Surnow & Michael Loceff
One of the funnier commentary tracks as the writers of the episode as they add “between the lines” comments like “we wanted the first four episodes to be really good, the rest go down hill” and mock the techniques they use for tying the different arcs of the season together.
— Episode Six (12PM – 1PM) by David Fury & John Allen Nelson (Walt Cummings)
This is something they should do more of, of the supporting cast members being allowed to talk about their finest hour on the show. It’s something I wish we’d had with chappelle’s death in season three. This is John Allen Nelson’s best performance on the show, as his character Walt Cummings tries to justify his actions to President Logan.
— Episode Eight (2PM – 3PM) by Evan Katz & Brad Turner
Good commentary on an episode which is effectively a ‘standalone’ episode. Nice to hear from Brad Turner who after directing several episodes in past years become the second “on staff” director. At it’s best when discussing the difficulties in producing a show like ’24’.
— Episode Nine (3PM – 4PM) by Tim Iacofano & Julian Sands (Vladimir Bierko)
Julian Sands comments on his debut as Vladimir Bierko and his experience of playing the latest villian on the show. He talks accents, rehearsal, being directed by Tim Iacofano. The blackhole that is the CTU holding rooms (“isn’t kim raver’s brother still in a holding cell?”). Julian shows a remarkable knowledge of the show outside of his storyline, something which some guest stars don’t bother to accumalate. Again, throws light on the relationship between Director and Actor.
— Episode Ten (4PM – 5PM) by Jean Smart (Martha Logan) & Greg Itzin (President Logan)
If this commentary doesn’t make you smile, then your dead inside, like watching the show with two friends, who just happen to have worked on the show. Most of the time they talk as if there a real married couple (“ah honey, you do care!”). Incredibly funny, up there with Carlos and Co’s “is that a daewoo?” commentary on the day two box set. If you only listen to one commentary, make this it.
— Episode Eleven (5PM – 6PM) by Matt Michnovetz, Duppy Demetrius & Nicole Ranadive
Together these three are responsible for tracking continuity all the way from series one. So they seem to know a whole lot about the show and they offer a lot of little insights and trivia, like the character of Jack’s mentor was originally written as Jack’s brother.
— Episode Fifteen (9PM – 10PM) by Jon Cassar & Joseph Hodges
A solid commentary on one of my favourite episodes of the season. Good insights into location scouting and pre-production in general.
— Episode Eighteen (12AM – 1AM) by Howard Gordon & Mary-Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brian)
Enjoyable enough commentary, Mary-Lynn is always fun to listen too, although sadly her quirky-ness isn’t at the heights that it can reach.
— Episode Twenty One (4AM – 5AM) by Manny Coto & Jude Ciccolella (Mike Novick)
Interesting to hear the show discussed from the point of view of one of the newest members of the writing staff Manny Coto, who last season was working on the now cancelled Star Trek: Enterprise. He talks about the various different verisons key elements of his script for this episode went through, including Bierko’s escape from CTU and Logan’s attempt to shoot down the diplomatic flight.
— Episode Twenty Four (6AM – 7AM) by Bob Cochran & Greg Itzin (President Logan)
Continuing the format of episode scribe and cast member. Itzin makes a welcome return to a commentary, telling stories of the process of getting the best performance out of himself, as well as letting us in on the detailed back story that he and Jean Smart created for there characters.
Overall the commentaries are just as Hit and Miss as in previous years, but this time around, with a massive 12 overall on the set, there’s more hit and more miss than there usually is.
Sound and Picture
Usual deal on this, my only qualifications on this are watching lots of action films on a surround sound system. It sounds just as good as previous releases, again possibly a tad front heavy for the dialogue scenes, but this is perhaps being a little picky. The picture quality is perhaps not 100% perfect, though the average viewer won’t be able to pick out any problems with it.