Fox // 2006 // 1012 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 1st, 2007
"I am a patriot!"
Kiefer Sutherland races the clock once more as Jack Bauer, a character who has truly risen to American pop culture iconic status. But after four seasons of nonstop terrorist smiting, is there still gas left in the tank of network TV's most efficiently lethal badass?
Okay, there is just no way to get into the plot of this season without blowing major, major reveals. Seriously, one of the biggest twists of the entire series transpires within the first 10 minutes of the first episode, and if you haven't seen the season yet, it would be criminal for me to unveil it. The way I figure it, if you've got any interest in the series and this season, you either a) haven't seen the season, in which case the last thing you'd want me to do is spoil the surprises or b) have seen it, and are interested in my opinion of the event of Day 5.
Here's the vague skinny for the season: Jack unravels a high-level government conspiracy and shoots terrorists in the face.
Season 5 of 24racked up 12 Emmy nominations and bagged five awards, including a Best Drama award and Best Actor for Sutherland. In my opinion, which should likely be prefaced with the statement that I am an unabashed 24 fanboy, these wins were long overdue. But was Season 5 stellar enough to earn them? Sure, though my favorite seasons still remains 1 and 3.
Credit where credit is due, the writers pushed themselves with this season, weaving multiple storylines, villains and threats into the typical frenetic 24-hour period. Yeah, at this stage of the game, it does seem like the producers are just ticking off what weapons of mass destruction they haven't used (nuclear bomb, check, deadly virus, check, thingamajig that melts down nuclear power plants, check) and Season 5 brings a brand new weaponized killer to center stage, leaving me out of ideas for Season 6's monster threat (al qaida-trained pit bulls roaming the streets perhaps?)
There is a certain game plan that these seasons follow, and the fifth sticks to it. Writers usually chop up the season-long plotline into separate story arcs, while the One Big Danger continually looms overhead. I dig this approach, as it doesn't keep the viewer strung along for too long on a single plot thread. In typical 24 fashion, there's always the big question mark of "who's behind the curtain" pulling the strings, and this season's reveal is pretty legendary, giving the show balls it's never had before. I'll say no more. It's worth discovering on your own.
The action moves briskly, as Jack bounces from one threat to the other, squaring off with a host of bad guys that range from airport-hijacking terrorists to former friends to a sinister Russian separatist (played chillingly by Julian Sands). Aiding Jack is his stable full of pals, most returning from prior seasons: the large and lovable Edgar (Louis Lombardi), sarcastic and loyal Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub), steady CTU leader Bill Buchanan (James Morrison), kick-ass field ops leader Curtis (Roger Cross) and annoying harpy Audrey (Kim Raver). Occupying the White House this season is President Logan, a squirrelly, weak-kneed man played masterfully by Greg Itzin (who was nominated for an Emmy, along with Jean Smart, who plays Logan's mentally unstable First Lady). The acting is top-notch, and the players give it their all, even when the plotlines wander into the realm of the ridiculous, which, I readily admit, they do (but hey man, if that bothers you then, you're watching the wrong show!).
I know this wrap-up has been less than illuminating but some pretty wild things happen in this season, stuff that alters the 24 universe permanently, and that final scene in episode 24, while bending the properties of time and physics, is a humdinger. In short, 24 fans should be satisfied and for those of you tired with by the formula, I honestly think there's enough new and interesting stuff at play here to merit a return to the Jack Bauer Power Hour.
As can be predicted, Fox has done a smash-up job with this seven-disc set. Spread over six discs, all 24 episodes look great, transferred in sparkling 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and supplemented by an immersive 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. And these sets always sports some great special features, highlighted by the multiple commentaries from actors, producers, directors, writers, story editors, the production designer and the sound guy. The featurettes this time focus on the camera operators, the score (always a treat by Sean Callery), the construction of the President's retreat, and a great look at the supporting actors. Overall, it's a well-balanced offering, giving an in-depth look at how one of the most complex shows on the air is put together.
There is, as the tradition dictates, a prequel for the forthcoming season. Supposedly a bridge between Season 5 and Season 6, this 10-minute short is, in a word, lame-ass. Just a blatant commercial for Toyota, and laughably so.
I dig this show and I dig this season. The twists come at a breakneck pace and the acting is pretty much the best it's ever been. Yeah, there are plot holes you could drive the CTU employee beer bus through, but that's par for the course for 24. There's nothing like this show on television and I still think Bauer and company still have plenty of juice left to waste some more terrorist suckas.
NOT GUILTY! DAMMIT! TELL ME WHERE THE BOMB IS!!! DAMMIT!!!!
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Golden Gavel 2006 Nominee
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 1012 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Selected Episode Commentary with Members of the Cast and Crew
* Deleted Scenes
* Season 6 Prequel
* Season 6 Trailers
* "Supporting Characters" Featurette
* "Unsung Heroes: 24 Camera Department"
* Music by Sean Callery
* Logan's Retreat
* 100th Episode Reel
* Season Two Review
* Season Three Review
* Season Four Review