The Season 6 Premiere
At the beginning of this week, FOX's smash, Emmy Award winning action/suspense television drama 24 aired the beginning of its sixth season. FOX put together a special premiere event with the first four episodes airing on two evenings with back-to-back episodes. As part of this event, FOX has also put the four episodes on DVD and released it as the 24: Season 6 Premiere. It is a chance to see the episodes offline. The DVD release comes with a $14.99 M.S.R.P. and should be easily found on sale for approximately $9.99. If you are not familiar with this series, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, and season five.
SPOILERS! Please note this review may contain potential spoilers to past seasons and minor season six spoilers (I've tried to limit the details to what is found on the DVD cover).
In the end of season five, the great Jack Bauer had recently saved the day from Russian separatists who were attempting to launch terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and exposed President Logan's role in the day's event. The season concluded with the Chinese government biting him in the ass. Recall, Jack was wanted by the Chinese government for sanctioning a CTU attack on the Chinese embassy in season four. At the end of season five, they took him into custody. Approximately two years later, season six begins.
It is 6:00 AM and the United States is in the midst of one of its worst days. Terrorists have been repeatedly attacking the U.S. and the current president is forced into making a deal with a known terrorist to find the man behind the attacks. The bad guy wants Jack as part of the exchange. The president then trades for Jack with Chinese government only to hand him over to the terrorist who reveals the location of the man U.S. intelligence believes is behind the events. As the minutes go by, Jack finds things are not as they seem and an intense story unravels with Jack, familiar and new faces from CTU, the White House, and various terrorists engaging in a non-stop action packed collection of episodes. The content is more exciting and engaging than previous seasons.
What works for the season six episodes is how well the storylines unravel and the development of the roles of the key players in the events. One of the notable events surrounds a character death. The "how" behind the death is what really makes the event an eye-opener. Other things happen that just leave you thinking "WOW!". The point is season six features big plot twists and storylines that make it even more exciting than past seasons. In addition, the season six cast is topnotch (not to say past seasons didn't have a great lineup, because they did). An extraordinary addition is Alexander Siddig. Siddig is best known for his role as Dr. Julian Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He plays Hamri Al-Assad, a terrorist who teams up with Jack. Siddig is great in his role and the character adds a great level of suspense and intrigue to the storyline.
Overall, 24: Season 6 Premiere features four truly action-packed episodes that are full of drama and suspense. The only bad thing about this release is that there are only four full episodes. After seeing them, they will leave you wanting more, clinging to the edge of your seat dying to known what happens next! Fortunately, there is also twelve minutes included for episode five. In the end, this DVD release is a must for hardcore fans of the show, especially if you missed the television debut.
The video in this release is given in an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts and hints of edge enhancement. This is most noticeable during the darker scenes. Overall it is a great looking picture.
The audio is given in 2.1 Dolby digital surround sound. In general, the sound quality is good and it provides an audible and clean track. The dialogue is usually a little flat while music and sound effects come off rich and vibrant. The shame is that this release lacks a 5.1 track the full season releases come with. Still, there is enough punch to the 2.1 track to enjoy the season six premiere episodes.
There is a never-before-seen 12-minute clip of episode five, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. The clip consists of the first act. FOX is advertising it as your chance to be amongst the first to see the beginning of episode five before it airs! There is also a $10 coupon included that is good towards the purchase of seasons 1-6 (6 when it is released) that is redeemable at purchase to at local retailers.
Like almost everyone else who regularly watches 24, I love every minute of it. After seeing season five, I was dying to know what happens next. I picked up this release for $9.99 + tax at a local retailer and popped it in. Before I knew it, it was over. The season six premiere episodes blew me away! Almost every scene left me saying "WOW!" and "AWESOME!". Some friends had told me how great the premiere episodes were and that this was the best season ever. (I missed the television airing earlier this week.) You know what? They were right. If these four episodes are any indication, season six is going to be the best season ever. The action is more intense than ever with a great storyline and some topnotch characters.
In the end, I am happy with my purchase and I think 24: Season 6 Premiere is worth every penny. Also keep in mind there is a $10 coupon included that can be redeemed when purchasing seasons 1-6 (6 when it is released) at a local retailer. No rebates. It is a coupon that the cashier scans at time of purchase. It expires February 29, 2008.