Having just watched the final installment of the fourth season of "24", I was thrilled to be able to have the chance to watch this educational DVD series that explores the talented people working "below the line" - such as the editors, script supervisors and others. In "24: Journeys Below The Line", the main feature of the DVD is a documentary that is mostly a moderated discussion between director Randal Kleiser and the show's script supervisor, editing staff and director. Interviews with the cast, producers and others are included.
The role of script supervisor on "24" is an especially challenging one, as not only does Anne Melville have to keep continuity of specific character "look" details, but they have to be a guide for the actors when the show is filming something one moment that happens at one point in the series and will film the next moment a couple weeks later. There's an enormous amount of information to juggle on the series, and that issue also falls to the editors of the series. We see editor Scott Powell working with director John Cassar and, in the moderated discussion, chatting about his role on the series and what his day-to-day work process is.
Overall, the thirty-minute program was very enjoyable, but left me wanting more. It does offer a lot of positives for beginning students looking to break into the industry: it gives a nice, brief overview of a few below-the-line talents and their importance, and it's fun for students to hear about their work on something popular that they're likely familiar with, like "24". My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen more - an hour-long program would have allowed a bit more detailed, full look at the role of editor and script supervisor.
Note: The program follows "24" late in the production of the third season and there are a couple of spoilers present for those who have not seen that season of the series.
VIDEO/AUDIO: The program is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, and the picture remained crisp and clear, with no noticable issues. The stereo soundtrack seemed well-recorded, and interview audio was easily heard and understood.
EXTRAS: Additional interviews with "24"'s cast (Keifer Sutherland) and crew, as well as heads of the editor's and script supervisor's guild; more Q & A footage and more editing and production discussion. The additional editing and production information was very enjoyable, as it dived into topics such as working with the network, working with the show's split-screen sequences, and how director Jon Cassar juggles the role of producer and director. Additionally, there is a CD-ROM included that offers documents like script note pages, post-production schedules and editor's logs. The CD-ROM also offers a glossary, weblinks, instructor aids and more.
Final Thoughts: "Journeys Below The Line" is an excellent DVD for those considering breaking into the television business or for instructors looking to present beginning students a look at two very important TV jobs through one of today's most popular shows. With the DVD's $79 retail price, fans of the show that are interested will have to try and find an outlet that rents the title. Recommended.