I started watching the DVD-set of 24’s fourth series the week I moved into my flat, which means it’s taken almost 12 months to reach the end. I like watching one episode per week, but did sometimes forget 🙂 I really enjoyed it, though. It’s difficult to say anything about the story without giving things away, but it did a reasonable job of maintaining a coherent plot throughout, and avoided the standard formula of simply ascending bad-guy hierarchies. As ever they created some very tense scenes, and it being 24 there was no predicting who would survive. There were a couple of lines that made me wince – one government official seemed to be Dale Arden in disguise – but on the whole it was well written with enough unexpected twists that I couldn’t see what was coming. One particular moment was such a surprise that I sat there with my mouth open for about ten seconds, and I like it when something gets me like that. There were the usual insane uses of computer technology and blatant product placements – “they’re trying to hack into our network in a massive attack, but the new Cisco firewall is coping!” – but that’s all part of the charm 🙂
The final disc in the set contained a large number of deleted or extended scenes, which are fun to watch. There was at least one character whose resolution was cut from the final show but included here, and it’s also interesting to see the little padding-stories that didn’t make it. There’s also one scene in which Jack uses the f-word! I was quite shocked – Jack doesn’t swear! The only real annoyance with the box-set was the unskippable, minute-long anti-piracy trailer that played every time I inserted a disc. I wouldn’t mind if it were just on the first, or something, but twenty-four times gets annoying. Especially since I bought the damn thing, and don’t need lecturing in the rights and wrongs of theft.
After four series it’s easy to get blasé over the achievement of constructing a show in which something interesting happens every minute of a day (less advert breaks :-)), but even with the flaws it’s still very impressive. Definitely worth watching if you’re a fan.