Fox // 2010 // 1056 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 29th, 2010
No, seriously, this is the longest day of my life.
After eight improbable seasons, 24 has lowered the curtain. What does Jack Bauer have in store for his final mission? Two words: Nuclear. Rods.
Yes, nuclear rods. Fearsome, terrifying nuclear rods. And they're loose somewhere in New York City, with a rogue faction of a fictional Islamic Republic tracking them down to light up the Big Apple. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland, Dark City) can't have that, so he teams up with CTU NYC and investigates the conspiracy the only way he knows how: by burying fire axes into the chest cavities of bad guys.
Exciting side stories include: Renee (Annie Wesching) going crazy, another CTU head redefining incompetence, a destructive and co-dependent romance between two supposed anti-terror professionals (Freddie Prinze, Jr., Scooby-Doo; and Katee Sackhoff, Battlestar Galactica), a normally clear-thinking president abandoning all manner of common sense, another mole and, of course, a mandatory appearance by the Old White Man Cabal.
After all we've been through, 24 and me, the time has come to bid farewell -- until the inevitable big-screen adaptation of course. For now, Season 8 stands as the last time we'll see the ambition of pulling together 24 episodes of real-time action television that has been marked by periods of awesomeness and inconsistency. For every Jack Bauer interrogation with a frayed house lamp power cord there's Kim Bauer getting chased by a cougar. For every sweet last-minute Tony Almeida rescue mission there's a group of frogmen invading the White House. Still, the balance swings definitively to the "24 is fun and I'm sure glad it existed" side of the spectrum.
Season 8 serves as a nice microcosm for the show's triumphs and flaws. There's plenty to get on board with, from Jack teaming up with his Arab counterpart and destroying bad guys to Jack dressing up as the Terminator and unloading high-caliber ordnance to Jack throwing knives into the necks of Russian gangsters.
Perhaps you noticed the pattern, that all this stuff involves Jack doing awesome stuff. That's because Season 8 suffers from the same ailment that befell so many of its predecessors: Jack Bauer's adventures are must-see TV, but the peripheral goings-on can be terrible.
At the beginning, things started to look up. President Taylor (Cherry Jones) tends to be interesting and I got a kick out of Prinze's Alpha field agent Cole Ortiz. Alas, it wasn't long until all the energy got sapped out of even the mildly interesting side stories; President Taylor clung to plot convention, which forced her to do indulge in some ridiculous abuses of power and Cole got dragged down by Dana Walsh (Sackhoff), quite possibly one of the worst characters devised (lucky for her, CTU head Brian Hastings distracted from her horribleness with his frequent and shocking displays of utter incompetence).
That's enough bad mouthing. I swear I'm a huge fan of the show and I wouldn't want our last season review to go down on poor note. The silver lining? Chloe remained a force to be reckoned with, crazy Renee's craziness was amusing and Jack went out like a stud. And oh the Hyundai product placement!
Fox's Blu-ray set is a technical winner, but the extras, while solid, don't reflect the gravity of the series-ending situation. Picture quality is clean and highly detailed, the 1.78:1 transfer (AVC @18MBPS) rendering the action extremely well (the sci-fi-like CTU office is particularly high-gloss). A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio pushes the sound, and does so nicely, blasting out the always-excellent score and filling your viewing area with numerous explosions and gunshots and "Dammit!"
Extras: extended select episodes, brief Scenemaker featurettes on 21 episodes, featurettes (in HD) looking at the CTU construction and the CGI creation of NYC and deleted scenes, including "Chloe's arrest."
That's some terrible cover art.
This show has had its ups and downs, but I'll always be grateful that it brought Jack Bauer into my life. Season 8 is just as wacky.
Not Guilty. See you on the big screen Jack!
Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1056 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extended Episodes
* Deleted Scenes