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With seven seasons under its belt and eighth in production, 24 is definitely one of the most successful spy/espionage dramas to ever grace the television airwaves. Thanks to its storytelling conceit, 24 has a fierce intensity and sense of urgency that has definitely struck the right cord with audiences and brought them back to their televisions week after week. What separates 24 from other television series of a similar ilk, and makes the show standout, is the fact that it takes place in real time, with each twenty-four-episode season comprising the events of a single day. As such, each episode of 24 represents a single hour of that dayÖ and each season turns out to be one heck of a busy day.

To maximize oneís enjoyment, 24 is another television series that should be approached by viewers without much foreknowledge, therefore for the purpose of this review, all descriptions of plots and storylines are kept as generic as possible. For those completely unfamiliar with 24, the basic premise involves a clandestine government agency known as the Counter Terrorist Unit, which exists to safeguard the United States against impending terrorist threats. Kiefer Sutherland stars in 24 as lead CTU agent Jack Bauer, who operated out of Los Angeles during the seriesí first six seasons. Since each season long story arc on 24 takes place within a single day, the show tends to hit the ground running, with Bauerís services in high demand to head off the seasonís impending crisis. Season seven of 24 shifts the action to Washington, D.C., and involves a possible breach in the U.S. governmentís computer infrastructure by a terrorist organization. The season seven cast of 24 includes, but is not limited to Mary Lynn Rajskub, Cherry Jones, James Morrison, Annie Wersching, Colm Feore, Bob Gunton, Jeffrey Nordling, Rhys Coiro, Janeane Garofalo, Carlos Bernard, Elisha Cuthbert, Kurtwood Smith and Jon Voight.

24: SEASON SEVEN ($70) comes to Blu-ray in a seven-disc set that features the following twenty-four episodes that were aired during year seven: Day 7: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM, Day 7: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM, Day 7: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Day 7: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Day 7: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, Day 7: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, Day 7: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM, Day 7: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM, Day 7: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, Day 7: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Day 7: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Day 7: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Day 7: 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Day 7: 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM, Day 7: 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM, Day 7: 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM, Day 7: 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM, Day 7: 1:00 AM - 2:00 AM, Day 7: 2:00 AM - 3:00 AM, Day 7: 3:00 AM - 4:00 AM, Day 7: 4:00 AM - 5:00 AM, Day 7: 5:00 AM - 6:00 AM, Day 7: 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM and Day 7: 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made all twenty-four episodes that comprise 24: SEASON SEVEN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Season seven features a stark visual style that is wonderfully represented in the 1080p presentations. The picture tends to be crisp, dimensional and provides a nice level of fine detail, but some softness does creep in, which is inherent to production technique. Additionally, due to the way certain sequences are shot, there is a slight unevenness to the picture that does not constitute a flaw in the presentation. Colors can be a little subdued, but generally come across at a realistic level of saturation. Blacks are deep and whites are completely stable. Contrast demonstrates a stark quality that usually goes beyond typical broadcast fare and has a tendency to purposely blow out. Shadow detail is generally very strong for this type production. As expected, darker scenes do show evidence of grain/noise.

All of the episodes that comprise 24: SEASON SEVEN are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. All I can say is that 24 represents television production audio at its very best. These soundtracks are highly immersive with aggressive sound designs that make terrific use of the outlying channels, including very active surrounds that include a lot of incidental and environmental sounds. Additionally, active sounds are very directional and cleanly across the soundstage. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is very impressive. The bass channel is deep and authoritative. Dialogue is clean, precise and fully understandable. No other soundtrack options are present. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as some supplemental materials. Running Audio Commentaries are featured on the set for twelve of the episodes. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Music Of 24 (thirteen minutes), The Ambush (thirteen minutes) and The Untold Story (sixteen minutes). Nearly a half hourís worth of Deleted Scenes, close out the supplements.

As I stated above, 24 is definitely one of the most successful spy/espionage dramas to ever grace the television airwaves. The Blu-ray presentation of season seven is really terrific, besting the HD broadcasts and blowing standard definition out of the water. Very highly recommended.



24: Season Seven [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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