16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Almost too political, but brillant nonetheless,
This review is from: 24: Season Four DVD Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I am a huge fan of the 24 franchise and have watched every series religiously from the beginning. Due to the mis-timing of Sky installation didn't see the 4th series whilst it was on TV, and instead watched it on DVD, and I can't say I was disappointed.
Anyone familiar with the 24 franchise will know what a blistering pace it goes at, usually the main story will be interspersed with 2 or 3 sub stories, and there will be no small amount of twists throughout. In this respect, the 4th series really doesn't fail to deliver, if anything it really ups the ante. The action hits harder and earlier than it ever has done before and Jack is in the middle of all of it.
The series starts off with Jack moved to a more sedate world, providing personal protection to Secretary of Defence Heller. This is all well and good until the events occur in California that draw Jack back to CTU. What is clear is that Jack is incredible comfortable in this role, what isn't clear is whether his seeming reluctance return to CTU is really a front as he feels this is where he belongs all along.
The ease with which Jack slips back into CTU is of concern to two people, firstly Jack's new love interest, Audrey Raines. Daughter of the Secretary of State and also a Department of Defence employee she is keen to keep her relationship quite, not least until the ink is dry on her divorce to Paul Raines. The second uncomfortable party is Erin Driscoll, the new head of CTU and the women responsible for removing Jack from active service after his brush with heroin in the previous series. She is excellently portrayed through out this series, if a little heavy handily so. Her duel persona is spoon-fed to the watcher, making her as abhorrent as possible so when redemption appears it has all the more impact, but even so this is a really welcome addition to the show as it gives extra depth to the characters, and an unusual, if brief, look at their personal lives.
A lot of the major characters from the previous series are present, and it does take a genius to look at the covers of the discs in the box set to see that characters from the past are going to reappear! This is generally welcome though, and again looks to explore a more human side of them.
The series revolves around a seemingly unrelated range of incidents that are brutal in their nature, but not in themselves a threat to the nation's security. As the hours count down though, it becomes clear that the incidents are exactly that and CTU again prepares to work miracles to prevent outrage. It is not clear at the beginning what the aims of the particular terrorists are at first or in fact who they are. We meet the Ariz family who have been operating as a sleeper cell in the US for 5 years - a terrifying proposition to consider.
What this series does incredible well, better than any of the other series, is to create a series of sub-plots that really keep the watcher enthralled, but that all clearly relate to the end goal. Some of the early series did have the sub-plots but they could seem a little superfluous to the final aim of the story. The was story almost knocked down a star for me for the over the top political snipping that seemed to infect the film at about the three quarters mark. The direction of this political snipping was at Left Wing politicians, Amnesty International, and anyone who wasn't pro-torture when the chips are down. This is something that really grates on me but luckily only existed for a couple of episodes.
This is definitely my favourite 24 and will keep you clued to the TV for many an hour, when you are done there are some interesting extras to watch, but to be honest you'll be wracking your brains to see where the series goes from here to really care about them.