Ah yes, season 7. This was the season where 24 really jumped the proverbial shark, in more ways the one. To start, the producers thought they’d flip the M.O. up by moving the location from L.A. to Washington D.C. Sweet, I can jive with that. Then they decide to go ahead and dismantle CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit), the elite government agency that Bauer and his badass crew operate within. Again, this would be all well and good, if they decided to replace it with something cooler. But in what had to be the most colossal case of 'writer’s block' the world has ever known, the 24 production team went ahead and replaced CTU with…the vastly inferior and eponentially duller FBI??? Good idea guys.
There’s plenty more to bitch about. We get about eight big villains this season. One rises, then after 3 or 4 episodes he/she dies, and a new baddie steps in; you know- the guy who was “really pulling the strings”. That new guy dies a few episodes later and then another guy steps in who was “really REALLY pulling the strings”, repeat, and so on (I will say though was nice to see Jon Voight in there as one of said villains).
This would be fine if we were watching Lost or CSI. But keep in mind each season plays out in real time, over one 24-hour span. How much shit can go wrong in one day? How many people could really have their finger in the pie?! I much preferred the earlier seasons, when the writers respected their audience a bit more, and gave us one or two ultimate villains, and let the season build and build with a singular, simple conflict until the season finale. But what really, REALLY grinded my gears was the repeated debate, at least once every episode (no exaggeration) of whether or not torture is morally justifiable. It’s like the writers were so hurt by the criticism they received last season, that they decided this year to defend themselves through their characters dialogue. Over and over. Big no-no guys; this show ain’t about you.
So, anything good about this season? Hell yeah! It’s still Jack Bauer, hands down the fiercest, smartest, angriest take-no-shit badass on television. We still get plenty of intense action, gunplay and suspense (maybe more than usual even), and in a new development this year...a bit of the gushy emotional stuff as well, even if half the actors couldn’t pull it off (I'm looking at YOU Renee and president's daughter).
I’m still a 24 fan for life, I’ll watch it till it dies (probably soon). Till then, lets just hope the writers can get back to basics and stick with the formula that worked the first few go-arounds.
The Fimucité Festival Presents: The Music of 24 (13:05) - Found on disc 1. 24 composer Sean Callery and the Tenerife Film Orchestra & Choir give us a live stage performance, intercut with some cool scenes from this season. His score was one of the few things I did not have a problem with this year, and while this composition doesn’t sound like anything lifted straight out of the show, it is an intense piece and a wonderful listen.
Hour 19: “The Ambush” (12:46) - Found on disc 5. A detailed look at the lengthy and complex preparation for a massive explosion in one scene. Pyrotechnics are pretty sweet, but after this, I never want to get involved with them. Just save me a lawn chair and call me right before the big bang.
24-7: The Untold Story (15:48) - Found on disc 6. A shockingly honest, tell-all look into how the horrendous season 7 was created. The writers/producers confirm my suspicions and start off mentioning how they did this in response to the negative feedback of season 6. When you start writing with a chip on your shoulder, it’s gonna come through on the page. That said, this feature is excellent in taking us through the writing process. Watch it.
Deleted Scenes (26:00) - A whole bunch of short snippets. Some are cool and some are not, but one thing’s for sure: given the show’s complex and ever-changing storyline, it’s hard to tell which scene came from what episode, or which of the 150 crises these characters are talking about.