Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Dubbed: English, Spanish
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 7
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Fox Network
DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
Run Time: 1060 minutes
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Kiefer Sutherland, Carlos Bernard, Reiko Aylesworth, Dennis Haysbert
Riveting! The Terror is Contagious!Jan 08, 2005
By Matthew Higdon
Thus reads the back of the boxed DVD set.
Fox's primetime hit series =24= has peaked new heights in edge-of-your-seat storytelling with its third - and best - season. Commercials provide the only pause, the only letup, in this colossally suspenseful terror-trip.
For those who would do so, there is no need to bash it for being less than perfect - nobody could expect absolute flawlessness from 980 minutes of television drama, no matter how refined. I will briefly mention the two foremost problems. (1) That so many events of such large and interrelated significance would take place, all within twenty-four hours, stretches probability way beyond the breaking point. (2) I have had the privilege of working occasionally with a substantial number of Spanish speakers; consequently, I can say that, for the show, the Mexicans should have spoken to and among each other always in Spanish, very nearly never in English (a problem with the Czecks in the first season as well). But the handling of the story is so very good that, understanding and accepting these and other minor flaws, most of us can suspend our disbelief.
Jack is back! - this time to stop terrorists from unleashing a weaponized virus into the American public. The quest to capture it takes him through twists and turns, to a Los Angeles prison, northern Mexico, run-down neighborhoods, a hotel, subway, and an elementary school. This time the threat is biological ... on a virtually unimaginable scale.
Since the series began in the fall of 2001, coinciding, as it would, with the awful tragedy of 9/11, the characters have become quite distinguishable, possessing interesting personalities, and colorful - if in some cases annoying - subtleties. Most of the acting appears quite convincing; as network dramas go, there is minimal contrivance. I shall go quickly through those at CTU and the president's company, first; followed by the terrorists, second. Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) has a secret this time, and he seems genuinely fearful of being exposed. We have a Tony (Carlos Bernard) who, not suprisingly, is down-to-earth, sometimes rigidly so, yet every now and then we see that he carries at his side a sense of compassion. Michelle (Reiko Aylesworth) has married, and though occasionally it doesn't look like she's handling things splendidly at first, we see quite the turnaround later. Kim Baeur works at CTU, not far removed from boyfriend Chase Edmunds, a newbie to the team. Those who like having Kim remain in the series but dislike the idea of her working for CTU should consider the alternative: Kim, on the outside, getting herself into further trouble. We watched this during Season One, then we were thrown the same KIND of thing in Season Two. Chase Edmunds is a tough guy; the more we see of him, the more we think, `Here is a would-be Jack'. Chloe (a quirky, annoying, protocol-wary technician), Adam (efficiency-loving), and Gaiel (cautious, ostensibly a mole) are new sign-ons as well. Finally, getting much more screen time than in Season Two, Regional Director Ryan Chappelle - a no-nonsense, give-it-to-me-straight boss. President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) remains the strong moral compass we grew to admire in the first two seasons. But this time, it's not just him dealing with interpersonal problems within his own campaign and the ensuing damage to the outside world. Here we see how he responds to new situations, posed by the competing political party (Republicans, we may say, given Sherry's Season One statement to that effect) toward his own campaign, as opposed to the press and personal staff adversaries of the earlier seasons. And later in the third, we come upon a nasty and inevitable dirty struggle between the president and his much-needed contributor, Alan, who tries to extort him. In the middle is Alan's wife, Julia, not wanting to get involved but eventually forced to. How will David deal with new problems that tempt new compromises, as his steadfast morality goes head to head with the convenience of relativism? Taking Mike's place as chief advisor is his brother Wayne, whose broader philosophy is at least faintly like, however much less devious than, Sherry's. She, too, is back ... with intent more malicious than anything we've seen from her yet.
Now, for the terrorists. In particular, Joaquim de Almeida does a terrific job portraying Ramon Salazar, the initially incarcerated leader of a north Mexican drug cartel. He looks, feels, and smells like a bad guy in every conventional way. His younger brother Hector is believable as a second-man in charge (even if the director should not have cast them as brothers; they don't `look' at all like family). Nina returns, escaping confinement in North Africa, and as we've seen what she is capable of in One and Two, it is not that difficult to imagine. Former CTU mole, conspirator in a domestic nuclear attack, and now buyer of a biological superweapon, Nina is more of a matter-of-fact `bad guy': a cold, sinister, `I-just-enjoy-this'-type killer. Michael Amador is an arms dealer, reserved in nature, and we think we know his intentions .... Alvers is a loyal agent in Stephen Saunders' plan, sent to distribute the virus in L.A. Saunders himself is the worst terrorist - a man with a single weakness - as he sets into motion a diabolical arrangement that more terrible than anything that's come before it. A final note: a teenager named Kyle Singer, while not a terrorist per se, constitutes part of the plan to deliver the package.
Several hours into the season, a drastic plot shift will hit most first-time viewers more or less like a freight train. As in One and Two, perhaps the best reason the bad guys keep falling is, well, they underestimate Jack. Consistently: from Hector to Jack's airplane guard to Ramon to Amador to Alvers and even Saunders. Nina seems to be the only exception ... which makes sense enough, given their past. (Sorry, I can't reveal what happens to her.)
I don't think I've ever seen one other network series attempt what =24= has. It would not be exaggerating, nor employing hyperbole, to say that if enough things went wrong over the course of trying to take and contain the virus, it is entirely possible that the vast majority of the WORLD's population might have perished, probably within several weeks. In no other show have I witnessed TV drama so carefully weave together a tapestry of plot and subplot, push the limits of suspense, raise the stakes as high - with so very, very many lives caught in the balance - or represent so tenacious, so persistent, or so very deadly-serious a counter-terrorist agent as Jack Baeur.
The DVD set contains six episode discs, as well as a seventh for commentary, deleted scenes, and other extras.
19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
CTU, where are you?Aug 08, 2005
By Cult Filmette As a HUGE fan of Season One and Two, I have to say Season Three left me disappointed. YES there are great moments and cliffhangers, and YES some characters finally came out swinging (Michelle esp.), but as I watched, I kept asking myself, "would the CTU of Season One ever allow this to happen?" What I LOVED about the first season was how smart and tightly wound the team was. The least little misstep in protocol was vehemently scrutinized by everyone. There was a sense that this was the best of the best...a top notch agency with brilliant minds and strategists at every turn.
Now, we have Kim Bauer working at CTU? WTF? I mean, a few years ago she was a pouty teenaged brat partying with losers. And now she's working the computer system like a pro? Sitting in on most of the important meetings and even field ops?
Since when did inter-office sniping become the norm at CTU? Someone gives an order, and the answer is, "look...I'm working as fast as I can", or "you yelling at me doesn't help". This happens about fifty times throughout the season. Again...WTF? This is CTU, not the DMV for crissakes.
Chloe. I guess she was supposed to be the "humor" point, but, again...in Season One, the team would have canned her so fast.
It all just makes the CTU team mediocre and not as cool and heroic as they used to be. The finest intelligence operation in the country should NOT remind viewers of their own offices and coworkers.
The President Palmer storyline was ridiculous. By the end, I hoped he would go down, I disliked him so much. And he was, up until this seaason, one of the strongest characters of integrity on television. They messed him up with a sub-par set of stupid circumstances. Dang.
I really hope Season 4 will return to a smart, slick suspense format, and stay away from the silly soap opera antics of Season three.
14 of 15 found the following review helpful:
Best 24Dec 02, 2007
By Joseph Boone Season 3 of 24 focuses on a threat of a virus being released into the city of Los Angeles as well as other major population centers. As usual, Jack Bauer is on the scene to stop the bad guys. Because so much of the entertainment value of the show comes from the twists and turns of the plot, I won't reveal many of the specifics but there two major story arcs that should be familiar to those who have watched the first two seasons. First, there is Jack and the other CTU agents who are racing against time to stop the terrorists from releasing the virus. Then there is President David Palmer and his administration that are fighting various potential scandals at the same time they deal with the virus.
The first thing that a viewer notices about this season is that the pace starts off a bit more slowly. It's not dull by any means, but it is definitely less frenetic out of the starting gate. The good part of this is that the writers have also eliminated the flaws that were evident in the last third of the first two seasons. This season is the first that felt like the story had been thought through to the very end with solid pacing throughout leading to a good climax in the last episode. I found this a welcome change from earlier seasons where it seemed that all the good ideas were used up early and increasingly preposterous ideas ruined the story at the time when it should have been building to the big finale.
Jack's character is generally much more under control than we have seen previously. He is still willing to go further than most men would, but he no longer seems to be driven by constant rage or a death wish. I found this change a welcome one. Kim Bauer is also improved as the amount of time she spends as a prisoner/hostage is radically reduced and she even proves useful at times in her new role as a CTU computer analyst. The performances of the villains were quite good, especially Joaquim de Almeida as Ramon Salazar. He brings a combination of charm and ruthlessness that is just right to make him a bad guy you love to hate.
The biggest low point of the season was the soap opera swirling around David Palmer's presidency. This is a man who was shown to be very principled in the first season, but since then he has consistently done the wrong or immoral thing any time he's been faced with a tough choice. His judgment is so consistently poor that I found myself no longer pulling for him and hoping that he would be brought down by the scandal of his own actions. It's a shame, because Dennis Haysbert has terrific presence and the writers did not need to insert all this cheap melodrama into the story.
I've only watched the first three seasons so far, but this is clearly the best one to date. The story holds together much better from beginning to end, and a lot of the worst plot contrivances that plagued the first two seasons have been done away with. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a thrill ride television series. There are many twists and turns and it makes for quite a breathtaking experience.
13 of 14 found the following review helpful:
The Best Season to DateNov 23, 2005
By Mark Baker Season 3 of suspense thriller 24 served up the most suspenseful and most emotional season of the show to date.
Set three years after season 2, Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) is working with a partner named Chase (James Badge Dale). Jack's daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) is also working for the LA branch of CTU (Counter Terrorism Unit). President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), meanwhile, is running for reelection.
This particular bad day starts at 1 PM, when Jack learns of plan to release a virus unless a criminal he just spent six months trying to arrest is freed. This leads to a chain reaction of events trying to get a hold of the virus before it is released into the population which includes hunting down drug dealers, a prison riot, a trip to Mexico, and time in a high rise hotel. The terrorists seem to be one step ahead of Jack and CTU the entire time.
President Palmer, meanwhile, is facing tough rumors again, this time targeting his doctor and new girlfriend. But that's nothing compared to what happens when his main backer demands that Palmer fire his chief of staff, who also happens to be his brother (D. B. Woodside).
To me this is the best season to date. The first few hours are a bit scattered, but things come into focus much earlier then previous seasons and once the story gets going, it stays strong. While there are still a couple soap opera plots, they are kept to a minimum this year. The biggest improvement is Kim's storyline. Since she's working at CTU, we don't get any crazy storylines with her, but things that actually move forward the main story. And the second half of the season gets really intense. The early morning hours especially are emotionally hard to get through. But the episodes where things don't work out are what make this show so wonderful.
Fox again has released a wonderful season set for the show. All 24 episodes are presented on six discs in wide screen and surround sound audio. There are a total of 45 deleted scenes scattered over the six discs and each disc has one audio commentary from various members of the cast and crew. The seventh disc in this set is devoted solely to extras. The 45 deleted scenes are collected in one place, this time with optional commentary by the producers. In edition, there are special features on the gadgets of the show and the reality of a biothreat. Finally, there are a couple teasers and mini-scenes that bridge the gap betweens season 3 and 4.
While I am addicted to several serialized shows, this is by far the most addictive of the lot. Plan plenty of time to watch this season because once you start, you won't want to stop.
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Great showOct 27, 2004
By Honavery I hadn't seen this show till this particular season. All I can say is wow. This is BY FAR the best show on TV. Of course I now own the 1st and 2nd seasons. I still think the best episode of 24 I have ever seen is from this season, the one where Chappelle's fate is determined. The tension in that episode is amazing, and just when you think the writers couldn't pull any more punches they find another way to fool you. Anyways, if you haven't checked this show out please do. It is better than most of the movies that are out these days.
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