27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2006
'24' Season Four is better than Day 3 (season three) and manages to be even more complex and compelling than the last two seasons. The technical work is better than ever, and the main storyline rivals season one's. Season Four brings a refreshing change to the show's formula with its many new cast members, and here are the highlights of this excellent season:
1) When we first see Jack Bauer, he's working for the Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane), all the while carrying on an affair with his daughter Audrey Raines (Kim Raver). Then a villian named Habib Marwan sets in motion a plan to bring down the US Government. Jack and Audrey's love for each other is affected by the day's events, and the emotional turmoils that develop are involving. Jack must risk his own life and the lives of others around him to save the US government and its people, which in turn complicates their relationship.
2) The twists are more predictable now that the formula has been played out several times prior to this season, but there are still some shocking events in the various storylines, and they are most prominent in the storyline involving the Araz family.
3) The acting by Keifer Sutherland is superb as he makes Jack Bauer a more poignant, grounded hero. Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), the sarcastic worker of CTU from season three, also shows some maturity and brings some well-needed humor to the ever-growing tension that develops in the season. Many new characters are introduced, but no one is more captivating than Dina Araz (Shoreh Aghdashloo). Her character traits contradict each other and are put to the test over the season, making her this season's most interesting character. Aghdashloo plays Dina as a mother who has no options in the situation she is caught up in, and the show is revitalized due to her brilliant performance. It's a travesty that she wasn't nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe for her great supporting role.
4) The production values are consistent and the camerawork nearly flawless.
'24' Season Four improves on nearly everything from the previous seasons and does deserve its acclaim from critics and fans as the show's best season, but I personally prefer season one because its conclusion was more epic, deep, and true. Still, '24' Season Four makes for riveting television as it reinvents the thrilling formula that has made first-time viewers and long-time fans sit up and take notice.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2005
The thrilling series "24" has changed the face of action-adventure. Big-screen movies are dull, plodding and timid compared to this brilliant television series. Season four was the very best -- meaning it was perhaps the greatest single action series ever on television. The creators obviously learned from what worked during previous seasons and they kept the action ratcheted up, streamlined the story to avoid any extraneous subplots, and continually topped themselves. Just when you thought -- no, they can't do that -- they did it! More than top-notch, edge-of-the-seat suspense, "24" redefines the genre. Intelligent, surprising, beautifully produced and craftily imagined, this is the kind of show you can't wait to share with your friends. And I can't wait for season five. A must for anyone who cares about and quality in action, adventure and drama.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2005
I will not bother you with spoilers, season 4 is the best day yet. I was getting sick of European terrorists, this is much more realistic. I miss Palmer, his wife and even Nina but the writing is so good this season. Time wise they still manage to get from one side of LA to the other during 4 minute commercial breaks. This was the first season I watched on TV, I much rather sitting down and blasting through all 24 episodes over a long weekend. Im a 24 junkie and thats the way to watch this show. Stop airing it on TV and just release DVDs straight every year :). Unfortunatly I cant wait so I will be wathing 5 on tv (bless DVR's) after buying 24 season 4 on DVD for me to watch again & then give to my folks. A++++
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2007
This is an astonishing accomplishment. Great entertainment and an enormously creative work. Talking about the plot or saying it's suspense won't do it justice.
Like many of the other readers, I bought Season 1 got hooked, and have now watched the 4 seasons in little more than a month and am now ready for season 5. Without commericals and the ability to move from week to week without waiting, the Season is incredibly intense and addictive. I read much more than watch tv --but this is like great literature. Here's why --
1] the main character, Jack Bauer, is multi dimensional and complex; yes, he's an action hero --resourceful and ruthless, but he has a human side which is embedded in his character that makes you think about him as a person not just a stick figure;
2] the plotting is extremely intricate; it is amazing how well conceived each season is and how what happened first the prior week and then the prior year all ties together;
3] the acting is first rate --the situations at times stretch credulity but the quality of the acting makes the plot twists as believable as possible;
4] the level of suspense is unrelenting and unpredictable.
--all in all watching 24 is by analogy what it must have been like to read Dickens' when his novels were first published as periodic installments. And I think this series will endure though I am not predicting it will be watched as broadly as Dickens is read!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2006
24 has to be the most thrilling show on TV. If you're tired of shows like Lost or Desperate Housewives, which while good, seem to take perverse pleasure in beating around the bush to the point where you want to put a brick through the screen, take a look at 24. This is how TV should be made. Sharp dialogue. Sharp Characters. Sharp action. But that's not the best of it! What's the most riveting and yet satisfying aspect of 24? The fact that something happens week in week out and, at the end of the series, instead of EVERYTHING building to a cliff-hanger with which to tease you till the start of the next season, 24 delivers the goods and resolves the entire season's storyline. What could be more satisfying? Season 4 is superb. Once you slap a disk in your DVD player, it's so difficult to turn the thing off and stop watching - you just want to keep going and going and... What greater compliment to everyone concerned in its production.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2006
No doubt-they have been able to squeeze the lemon once again, the outcome: sustain thriller with a sprinkle of romance.
I have found myself anxiously pressing the play button for the next episodes BUT there are limits for the eye&mind of the "reasonable viewer" that had been crossed repeatedly.
Don't get me wrong in here. 24 hours of the 4th season (technically it's less, each episode is less than 1 hour in real-time) would get you at least 20 hours of action, explosions, walking on the edge etc, but the remaining 4 hours got me to come to the conclusion that the writing team of 24 should get into the conference room and get a grip of themselves...
If you didn't watch it yet, don't read the following:
Another spy inside the CTU??? (boy, is it the CTU or central park?) A tiny hospital in the basement of the CTU in which Audrey's husband is being operated/the daughter of the CTU director suffering from schizophrenia is hospitalized? Michelle asking Almeida to watch out while stepping into the field and you know for 100% something bad would happen to him? There's a lot (really a lot more) but I have given them 4 stars after all...
BTW-24 hours without eating???
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"24" is kind of like the Bond films; sure there's a formula and we know that Jack will break the rules and still come out ahead (although he ends up paying for it big time by the end of the day). Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable ride and well worth the price of admission. Still there are a couple of things I wonder about: 1) How many moles are in CTU 2) Are any of the agents other than Jack like the guys that wore the red shirts in "Star Trek"?
The fourth rolls forward with Jack being fired from CTU by his new boss. He ends up at the Department of Defense working for the Secretary of Defense (William DeVane) and falling in love with his boss' daughter. Jack gets drawn back into CTU when he comes to Los Angeles with his boss. While in L.A. his boss is kidnapped by terrorists who plan on executing him live on the internet after he's been tried for his "crimes". Things are a lot more complex than they seem when a series of conspiracies come to light masterminded by a terrorist named Marwan. Jack goes back into action on a temporary basis with CTU to help secure his boss' release.
Picture quality is top notch as are the extras. The commentaries vary from decent to exceptionally good (although admittedly I haven't had a chance to listen to every one of them). We get both the prequel to the fourth season as well as the fifth. The fourth season prequel is the original version which was cut by the producers because it was a bit too "sensual". I don't want to spoil it for you who haven't seen it yet but the prequel for season five is an action packed sequence.
Once again a nice set from Fox. I just wish that the price were a bit lower and that vs. having a five minute "prequel" (which is a great idea)we'd get a longer prequel with a bit of story to it perhaps a half hour episode? Once again deleted scenes can be viewed within the context of the story or separately on the last disc. Not that I'm complaining mind you I like what we do get. Once again the series is packaged in an accordian style case that folds out with nice chapter placement. I do wish that there was a chapter placement right after the "24" logo so you could skip it. Since there's action during the opening titles if you elect to skip the "previously on '24'" recap and opening "24" logo you end up skipping important exposition at the beginning of the episode.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2006
I have to admit, I initially was not a fan of this show. While I thought the first season was entertaining it required SEVERE suspension of disbelief, especially with regards to the real-time premise of the show's format. I mean, come on... just how can Jack really get across L.A. traffic in like 5 minutes anyway? Just ONCE I would like to see an entire episode devoted to Jack stuck in rush hour traffic having to rely solely on cellular communications with CTU but then again, that does not make for suspenseful television now does it? ;) Or how about devoting one episode with Jack on his lunch hour? Nope. This guy never eats nor sleeps nor requires a restroom break of any kind because he is JACK F---ING BAUER!
I made a pact with my friend. I agreed to watch Season 4 if he would agree to watch Lost. It only took me a week to burn through Season 4 and I have had so much fun that any doubts I had about 24 as an enjoyable series have been completely erased. Jack Bauer is the real deal. He makes Jason Bourne look like an amateur. Kiefer Sutherland is so intense and so focused every minute he is on screen that you believe that the peril he is facing, no matter how ridiculously contrived, is real.
What makes season 4 the best day yet is due mostly to its perfect chemistry of suspenseful plot twists, frenetic pacing and editing, interactive character development and explosive action. The writers seemed more concerned this season with creating jaw-dropping "I can't believe they just did that!" action than focusing on the soap opera-ish melodrama that watered down previous seasons. While Elisha Cuthbert's Kim Bauer is pleasing to the eye to look at, thankfully she is out of the picture here so Jack can stay focused on his most intense day ever without the juvenile distractions. Still, there are a few breaks in the action where our characters get caught up in their personal feelings and rivalries getting in the way of their professional judgments that make for a few brief groaners but are quickly subdued by the more immediate threats at hand.
Arnold Vosloo from The Mummy is this season's main baddy and he is the perfect intellectual foil for Jack Bauer. He is always one step ahead of Jack who struggles desperately to keep up with Habib Marwan's diabolical acts of terrorism. The most surprising thing is that Marwan, more often than not, succeeds and leaves the viewer with their jaw hanging wide open in disbelief.
This season features the return of familiar characters from earlier seasons including Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler, Mike Novick, and CTU nerds Chloe O'Brien and newbie Edgar Stiles. We are also introduced to several new faces at CTU including Curtis Manning, Erin Driscoll and Bill Buchanan. Kim Raver is Jack's love interest Audrey Raines and her father, Secretary of Defense James Heller, is played by Rolling Thunder himself... William Devane. After spending a real-time day in crisis with these characters you'll feel like they are all members of the immediate family.
Sean Callery's rousing and adrenaline pumping electronic score is the perfect compliment to the onscreen action and elevates the level of suspense faster than mercury rising in a thermometer. Not since Mark Snow's electronic cues for X-Files has there been a more perfect accompaniment of incidental music to parallel the onscreen action.
24 Season 4 is more entertaining and suspenseful than most blockbuster action films and has cast the die for other series and films to follow in its aftermath. Bruce Willis' John McClane may have inaugurated the age of the everyman action hero, but Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer has taken heroism beyond the call of duty and has redefined, by very definition, the ideal Action Star. At a time of political unrest and uncertainty in this country and the threat of terrorism abroad, one cannot help but feel a sense of restored patriotism by Jack's heroic deeds. Indeed, Jack Bauer has become a Real American Hero.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Season 4 begins with Jack Bauer working for the Secretary of Defense, James Heller. We have a new president in the form of John Keeler and most of the faces in CTU are also new. In addition, Jack has a new girlfriend in the form of Audrey Raines, daughter to Jack's boss. Jack, Audrey, and Heller are visiting L.A. when terrorist activity begins to heat up in a way that involves them very directly. Needless to say, it doesn't take long for Jack to be thrust back into action to stop the bad guys. Normally, I write reviews that offer a bit more info on the plot, but with this show I'm not comfortable doing that. Too much of the punch that 24 has to offer comes from all the twists and turns of the story and giving those away is not fair to new viewers.
As mentioned, there are many new faces in the cast this season and most of them work pretty well. Curtis Manning makes a good no-nonsense agent with a solid presence. Erin Driscoll is the new head of CTU Los Angeles and looks like a moronic bureaucrat in the first couple of episodes but then mercifully starts to act in a much more competent fashion. In addition to all the new faces, a few old friends return as the season progresses. A surprise absence was Kim Bauer, for which I was highly grateful. Probably the worst character depiction was Chloe O'Brian. She was quirky and abrasive in 24 - Season Three but I liked her for the most part. This season, she is just rude and condescending every time she opens her mouth no matter what the situation is. It's so over the top that it really doesn't make any sense at all and is just irritating to watch.
Without giving away specifics, the plot is another case of very mixed quality ideas. The first half to two-thirds of the season is relatively tight and holds up well but then it stumbles badly. You start seeing things like a terrorist driving a jeep on a deserted road in the desert and yet a CTU helicopter can't find him. A company is afraid that computer records might make them look bad so they take actions that would be guaranteed to land the executives in jail for life and get the corporation shut down forever. A man is badly wounded and instead of taking him to a hospital, they take him to the little clinic at CTU. All of these things are contrivances to make things harder for Jack either immediately or later on, but they are so poorly conceived that they badly undermine the credibility of the show as you watch it.
Trying to give 24-Season 4 a rating in stars is difficult because the season fluctuates so wildly in quality almost from minute to minute. At it's best, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. At it's worst, you'll roll your eyes and grind your teeth as yet another arbitrary obstacle is thrown in Jack's way that makes no sense whatsoever. The soap opera that occurs between various characters also gets very tiresome. After watching the first four seasons on DVD (I've never watched the show on TV) I can say that more and more plot elements are getting recycled and the magic is starting to wear off for me. I may buy the next season at some point, but I'm ready for some time off after watching this one. I would recommend this only to people who really loved the first three seasons and are hungry for more.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2005
After watching "24" season 1-3 in the past and season 4 recently (purchased from amazon.co.uk), I tried to write down below my feelings and analyze what makes it such a terrific show.
Sure, the initial idea is original (24 episodes of 1 hour - actually 45 mn - in real time making a whole day) ; the casting is ideal and all the actors play perfectly ; plot and intrigues are very suspensful and interesting ; there is a true beginning and a real end to all seasons - which are all well directed.
However, what makes the big difference is in the scenario. There is a tremendous number of events in a "24" season, based on the main plot (e.g. terrorism), and on CTU, the government, common people, relastionships, love, etc... most of them being linked, which makes another tremendous number of equations to be solved by the scriptwriter to ensure that all ins and outs keep some logic. And this is well done, this is even an excellent job - not only the plot and situations of one season are realistic, but any "old" player coming from a previous season comes with a valid reason ; he does not magically appear to save the script!
Also, writers take big care about being faithful to the characters personalities. An actor is assigned a role with a full personality set that he/she has to embrace. It's probably why all actors play so well ; they don't actually play a "role", they embrace a whole personality. Any specific information to justify a character presence or his behaviour is brought to the audience in a subtle way.
And finally, most of the situations in "24" do not seek to handle carefully (or to please) the audience. The main objective is realism - this leads to objectiveness and originality. Don't expect a character to be saved by his/her charisma... you never know what will really happen. This is essential to provide a great show.