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HTF REVIEW: "24" The Complete First Season (A MUST BUY!) (with screenshots)


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#1 of 79 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:07 AM

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"24" The Complete First Season













Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Year: 2001-2002

Rated: NR

Film Length: 960 minutes

Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)

Transfers







"Don't trust anybody - not even

your own people"






My purpose in this review is to sell all of

you into making an investment. This investment

doesn't benefit me in any way. I'm just a reviewer

who doesn't get compensated for his reviews. You,

however, are members of a forum who I care about

being honest with. If there is something I have

seen that I feel is worth purchasing with your

hard-earned money, I am going to do everything in

my power to make sure you make a sound investment.



Before I start my sell, I need to tell you what

led me to finally reviewing 24. After all,

it is a known fact amongst my readers that besides

The Sopranos, I haven't watched any prime

time television in the past 10 years. All my time

is dedicated to watching film.



Posted Image



I wasn't even going to review this DVD set. As

much as I love the folks at Fox Home Video, they

have a habit of sending screeners of their television

product in generic black cases instead of the final

package that all the other studios send me. Sometimes

I only get one disc of an entire TV season set. While

I truly understand this to be a cost-effective method

for a studio that supplies a lot of screener product

to the press, I can't be enticed to review a TV

series that comes in a plain wrapper.



It wasn't until I told the membership that I had

screeners sent to me for the first season of 24

that the pressure began. An existing thread on this

forum will explain the pressure I was put under to

at least give this series a look. It is ultimately

those members that I need to thank.





Beyond Words....





I had lost faith in prime-time network television

years ago. It had seemed as if everything the

networks were putting out all became copies of

everything that had been done before. There wasn't

much originality to be seen and I quickly became

tired of what I was seeing.



This is almost a warning to those of you who

have never seen 24 before. The moment

you place the first DVD in your player, you should

be prepared for what comes next.....for me, it was

an instant addiction. Never before had I seen a

show so original and fresh with heart-pounding

action that has yet to decrease in intensity over

the 6 episodes I managed to watch today.



Mind you, I never intended to watch 6 episodes.

The intention was to watch 3 for the sake of pleasing

the membership. The problem is, 24 becomes

so much like an addictive drug that leaves you

hanging breathlessly after each of its hits, that

you can't help but coming back for more.



So, what exactly is this show all about?



24 simply stands for the number of hours

the entire first season takes place in. With the

series beginning at midnight on the day of the

California Primary, the show is told in real time,

with each episode representing one hour of that

day. It is within these 24 hours an assassination

attempt will be made on an African-American

Presidential nominee named David Palmer (Dennis

Haysbert). It's up to Jack Bauer (Kiefer

Sutherland), who heads up the government's

Counter-Terrorist Unit to stop the assassination

attempt. Jack, however, has more problems than

he ever bargained for making these 24 hours

a day that he (nor any of the characters) will

ever forget.



As of the first six episodes, I can tell you as

much of the story as I can without spoiling it all.

There are so many different stories happening here

all at once and somehow they are all destined to collide

into one huge finale.



Posted Image



As the show begins, we meet Jack Bauer (Sutherland)

and his wife Terri (Leslie Hope) who have just come

back together after a lengthy separation. Their

daughter Kim (Elisha Kuthbert) seems to be a little

restless about her home situation, and suddenly

disappears into the night.



Posted Image



Meanwhile, Jack is suddenly called into the Los

Angeles Counter-Terrorist Unit to join his partner

Nina (Sarah Clark) on an emergency briefing that

reveals an assassination attempt has been uncovered.

Seems that a German is arriving on an international

flight to assassinate Presidential hopeful David

Palmer (Haysbert). Soon afterwards, that plane

explodes over the Mojave Desert and all are presumed

dead -- or are they?



Posted Image



While this is happening, Jack and Terri's daughter,

Kim, joins up with her best friend who have been

invited to party with a bunch of guys they are

meeting for the first time. The guys end up

kidnapping the girls in hopes that it will draw

Jack into the mainframe of their ultimate plan.



Posted Image



Actually, I have just merely skimmed the surface

of what this show is all about. There is so much

that happens within each show's 1 hour real-time

segment that it takes multiple split screens to

accurately follow the different story lines that

are happening at the same time. All of this leads

to episode after episode full of fast-paced action

that never dulls for a single second of its hour.





How is the transfer?



Posted Image



All episodes of "24" Season One DVD are

compiled on six dual-layered discs and presented

anamorphic widescreen.



The quality of the transfers are extremely nice.

The first 6 episodes represent the first 6 hours

of the day. It's before dawn, and most of the

scenes are all shrouded in darkness or dimly lit.

Through all of this, picture remains well detailed.

In fact, being that these shows were shot on film,

the transfer has a nice warmness to it with deep

colors of blue, green and black. Noise levels

are kept at a minimal, often seen in walls and

mirrors. There even seems to be a certain amount

of intentional grain added in a few scenes to give

a more gritty feel to the action. Otherwise, this

is a very pleasing transfer.



Posted Image



The Dolby surround mix is above average. Dialogue

stays mostly in the center channel (with slight bleed

to the fronts) while the front channels provide

clean, deep, robust sound. The show's instrumental

soundtrack gets some nice support by the rears. It's

lowest chords sent some chilling bass through the

LFE channel adding deep response the show's suspense.

What I did find odd is that the rears really do

nothing for the film's effects. Most all the action

remains in the front two channels.





Special Features





Posted ImagePosted Image





You must understand that I don't have the final

packaging in front me, although I do have all 6

discs that make up the entire season one set.



Each of the discs holds 4 episodes. Each of these

episodes represents one hour of time within the

entire span of a day. There are no chapter stops

here. You cannot jump from scene to scene. Once

an episode finishes, it returns to the menu where

it automatically highlights the next episode.



The Special Features can be found on

Disc 6. What is sort of odd is that a

personal introduction to the series by Kiefer

Sutherland is buried in the supplemental area.

This should have been placed on the first disc,

especially since it is the actor's intent to

introduce you to the series. The introduction

lasts a mere 1.3 minutes, and basically talks

about how real time plays such an effective role

in the series.



There is an alternative ending also

presented in this area that you can play with

or without commentary by Executive Producer Joel

Surnow. I apologize for not even looking at this

extra feature -- I will save it for when I completely

finish watching the entire season.



Subtitles: English & Spanish





Final Thoughts





Damn those folks at Fox! They first ruined my

life with the DVD release of THE X-FILES that

I had never previously watched, but became addicted

on with the first season set. From that point on,

it has cost me plenty of time and money to keep

the addiction going.



Fox has done it again. They sent me a series that

I was totally unfamiliar with. One single episode

led to 6 episodes. Those 6 episodes alone have given

me enough faith to give the entire membership a

hard sell on a series that is nominated for 10

Emmy Awards, and a winner of a Golden Globe for

Kiefer Sutherland (Best Performance by an actor in

a Television Drama) and two Television Critics

Association Awards (Outstanding New Program of the

Year and Program of the Year).



Posted Image



But you know what? The best critique often comes

from the most unlikely sources, and for once, I

urge all of you to trust this source and purchase

the most remarkable television series I ever thought

a broadcast network was ever capable of producing.

Trust me -- I'm buying a set as well since these

generic black cases will not be the way I choose

to preserve this set in my collection. I wish I

had final packaging to show to you all, and perhaps

Fox will rethink their strategies of supplying

review product in the future.



Now, if you'll excuse me, there are still 18

more hours of this show's day that I need to

catch up on.





Release Date: September 17, 2002

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 79 OFFLINE   Brett Jason

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:13 AM

I watched the show, really enjoyed it and am very much looking forward to Season 2. That said, to me the series has a zero re-watchability factor for me. It's all about the cliff hanger nature of the show and I simply would not watch it again.

#3 of 79 OFFLINE   Mark ZA

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:18 AM

Ron, Do you know if the same cuts made to the Region 2 set are also in this Region 1 set? Thanks, Mark

#4 of 79 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:34 AM

Mark, those were NOT cuts, but padding added to the UK broadcasts to even out the running time for how they do things. What is presented on the US DVDs is exactly what aired on Fox



Ron, we gotta get you to watch some Buffy Posted Image

#5 of 79 OFFLINE   Mark ZA

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:43 AM

Oops, wrong phrasing....and yes, me must get Ron some Buffy

#6 of 79 OFFLINE   John Berggren

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:43 AM

I watched the first 2 or 3 episodes of 24 and stopped saying that I'd have to catch it on DVD. I have a lot of trouble keeping up with TV programs. I'm thrilled that Fox is bringing this one out so quickly. I'll definitely buy it. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, Ron.
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#7 of 79 OFFLINE   CaptDS9E

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Posted September 03 2002 - 08:47 AM

I can watch this again and again and again. I turned on FX yesterday during a part that was really a turning point in the story but i shut it off because i wanted to wait till the dvd's come out to watch it from the start. capt

#8 of 79 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted September 03 2002 - 09:13 AM

I'd agree w/Brett -- great show (can't wait for Season 2 on Fox in 480p widescreen), but no repeat-viewing value on DVD.
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#9 of 79 OFFLINE   Chris M

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Posted September 03 2002 - 09:45 AM

I never saw this on TV, but my friend kept saying how great it was. So after this awesome review I can't wait to get the DVDs. Just hope I can come up with the extra cash! OUCH Chris.

#10 of 79 OFFLINE   Duncan_N

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Posted September 03 2002 - 10:04 AM

While not technically 'cut', there is footage missing from the R2 release (we were given the US cuts) which is why Fox UK are reissuing discs 5 and 6 in a months time. There were a couple of amazingly key scenes from the final episode missing. They certainly weren't stuck in there for padding as there is no need on UK TV. We aren't constained by the hour long format for primetime shows - if an episode runs 40mins, it's transmission slot is 40mins. It sounds like the R1 release will just be the US TV versions so if that's all you've seen then I guess you won't miss the scenes that aren't there. It was a bizzare thing to edit out of the US versions though - there would have been a lot more unimportant footage they could have lost is they were cutting for time. Great series though!

#11 of 79 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted September 03 2002 - 10:33 AM

For anyone who hasn't seen the show yet, I will warn you of a few things: 1) The afternoon episodes are a little slow compared to the first half of the series and the last few episodes. 2) Keep in mind that when it was on TV, viewers had to wait a week (or even two at some points) to find out what would happen in the next episode. That wait makes some of the wonderful cliffhangers more suspenseful. 3) If you think the show is great and has many twists and surprises by hour 6, you are in for a LOT more. The show just keeps throwing all kinds of stuff at you, and it all comes together in the end. This show is great.

#12 of 79 OFFLINE   Steve Bjorg

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Posted September 03 2002 - 10:43 AM

I would caution people into buying this. First, I agree there is little value in watching it again. Second, eventually the novelty and the ingenuity of the writers wears off. At first, I really enjoyed this series when I caught it on TV (all 24 episodes thanks to my trusty ReplayTV). But after 12-14 hours, the credibility really goes down the drain and the twists and turns that are taking place make you feel like the authors were gasping for air. Anyway, I really think the concept of the show made it worthwhile to watch. But I'd recommend renting/borrowing instead of buying. Then again, YMMV.
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#13 of 79 OFFLINE   Jan Strnad

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Posted September 03 2002 - 10:45 AM

Last season there was exactly ONE show on my "must watch immediately" list, and it was Fox's 24. I was transfixed from the first to the last.



I think you should have watched the entire series in one 24-hour period, Ron, just to make it more real! Posted Image



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#14 of 79 OFFLINE   Kenneth Cummings

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Posted September 03 2002 - 11:06 AM

Well I was going to preorder the set from Amazon this week anways for 35 dollars (good deal), but now I will MAKE sure I do that and be happy when it arrives in three weeks. Thank you for the good review Ron and keep it up. And go watch some Buffy for crying out load.
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#15 of 79 OFFLINE   Kurt N

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Posted September 03 2002 - 11:13 AM

Ive never seen this series at all. I'm really looking forward to the release. Kinda wish it was coming out a week earlier as I'll be on vacation and could do the 24-hour marathon. Ron, you do need to try Buffy. I didn't give it a thought until it was on DVD and I am hooked. Just watching the discs though, so I'm eager for season 3.
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#16 of 79 OFFLINE   EricW

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Posted September 03 2002 - 11:37 AM

i watched the whole season and i have to agree with those who say the show went downhill in the second half. actually it was more like after 1/3 of the way. characters just kept on making the stupidest decisions to keep the unrealistic plot developement happening. at the beginning of the series i was kicking myself for not taping it, but eventually by the end i was releived when the season was finally over.
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#17 of 79 OFFLINE   Alan Kurland

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Posted September 03 2002 - 11:58 AM

I agree with Steve and Eric, I was dedicated to watching the first half of the shows and it was pretty good. In fact it was the only show I watched regularly. Over time, the shows got slower, and more far fetched and unrealistic, and I found myself less involved in the action (and more interested in watching the superboy show which was on at the same time) It may be less compelling to watch again. I would consider this show a rental, but I would not suggest purchasing it. There are plenty of series to buy if you want to spend money!

#18 of 79 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted September 03 2002 - 12:24 PM

I enjoyed the show (saw every episode broadcast) and am purchasing the DVD to see it one more time in widescreen anamorphic. But I probably won't want to watch it again after that. Box sets like this are usually difficult to rent. A purchase and resell is the better way to go. You can probably do that and wind up spending less in the end.

#19 of 79 OFFLINE   Michael St. Clair

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Posted September 03 2002 - 01:26 PM

90% of television is shit.



90% of film is shit.



Better to concentrate on avoiding the shit, than writing off an entire medium. Posted Image



I watched '24' every week, and loved it, especially the first half. I can't see rewatching it, though. Some shows are best fresh.



Here's to hoping they don't screw up the second season. Prime those Tivos!

#20 of 79 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted September 03 2002 - 02:06 PM

I’m in the Steve/Eric/Alan camp insofar as the show slowing during the second half. The credibility went further and further downhill, as the writers were unable to really provide real motivation for their characters, as the plot developed. Still, I watched the whole thing (save two episodes). I would have no interest in watching this again, and would think that most would feel the same.
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