Classic Intel: 24 - Season One - DVD Review

'The full realisation of many of 24's better moments, will have to wait for subsequent series, where the writing is tighter and less people have convenient battery drains/memory losses.'

Whilst it may have launched a titan of television, and seen the début of a now iconic character, hindsight is not a kind glass through which to view the 1st season of 24. Often aimless, choc-full of action film clichés television has since worked so hard to minimise, if not eradicate, Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) first outing is not quite as polished as it should be.

It begins with items like a mobile phone running out of battery. A simple enough device, which should have expired at roughly the same time Jack's model of choice did. From there, we get deeper and deeper into problematic plot element territory. A key character late on conveniently loses her memory, making it impossible for her to just walk home and out of the plotting. Referring to her, another character actually speaks the line 'she's suffered some sort of... temporary memory loss', thus ecstatically calling to mind Hot Tub Time Machine.

There is though some great decision making here that makes 24: Season One worth taking note of above the fact that it brought Bauer and split screens into our homes. Kidnapped Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) is kept kidnapped till just at the point her constant referrals to 'my Dad's going to rescue me' were becoming annoying. Michael Massee, as Ira Gaines is a terrific first villain, growling out his 'that's right, we're watching you', from the DVD's menu. A late handful of episodes with Elizabeth (Kara Zediker) shows just how well this show can do tension, when it really thinks about it.

The technical elements, including the split screens, work well and with the normal plethora of directors, they come and go in usage levels, making their integration easier. The final third doesn't always feel in control of itself, yet it does manage to pull off a couple of shocks, whilst avoiding the twee manipulation of Patty (Tanya Wright), it seemed to be heading for and marking out Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) as even tougher than the main narrative had already suggested. The full realisation of that element though, and of many of 24's better moments, will have to wait for subsequent series, where the writing is tighter and less people have convenient battery drains/memory losses.



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