New on DVD/Blu-ray: 24 — The Complete Eighth Season

Jack’s back — for the last time. Well, at least on TV. After a brief, year-long stint in the nation’s capital, Jack Bauer and CTU have relocated to New York City, where the uber badass once again tangles with terrorists bent on reducing the Big Apple to a pile of rubbles. Political intrigue, International affairs, domestic conspiracies, and CTU moles all rear their ugly heads to provide obstacles for Jack as he sets about his mission of saving the day. You can re-live 24 hours and 24 episodes of “24’s” biggest and final day when “24: The Complete Eighth Season” arrives on DVD and Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox on December 16, 2010.

Hang on for the adrenaline rush of a lifetime as Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) unveils darker secrets, faces deadlier conspiracies, and is thrust into more extreme action than ever before in Season 8 of 24! As Day Eight unfolds, Bauer races against the clock to prevent the assassination of a Middle Eastern leader on a vital peace-making mission. Meanwhile, a deadly terrorist threat against New York City intensifies and builds towards an explosive climax. Relive the electrifying final season of TV’s most groundbreaking series ever, including a surprise ending you simply must see.

Season 8 Review:

All a retired and loving it Jack wants to do is fly off to Los Angeles to be with precious daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) and even more precious granddaughter, but bad guys will have none of it. Soon, a former snitch has snared Jack back into his old world, and it’s back to CTU — this time, the New York branch. There, he partners up with CTU field agent Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.), butts heads with the CTU chief (Mykelti Williamson), and renews acquaintainces with twitchy best buddy and computer babe Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Terrorists, it seems, have plans to assassinate a visiting Middle Eastern leader set to sign a groundbreaking peace treaty with the U.S. President (Cherry Jones).

CTU moles, double agents, and multiple conspiracies abound as Jack once again must save the day — for the last time on TV.

Give the producers of “24” this — they could have taken the easy road out, give Jack a happy ending and leave everyone feeling all cuddly, but instead they took it right down to the very end, with some of the most thrilling final episodes of any “24” season yet. Until then, though, Jack has plenty to contend with in 24 episodes of Season 8, with a lot of old favorites returning for one more go-around, including the aforementioned Rajskub (a season of “24” without Chloe O’Brian would be like a season without Jack Bauer, she’s become THAT important to the show), the fantastically sleazy Gregory Itzin reprising disgraced President Charles Logan, and Annie Wersching, whose own former FBI agent Renee Walker has fallen down a couple of steps from grace herself since last we saw her in Season 7.

This time around, the bad guys are less memorable, but that might just be because the real interesting bad guys are the conspiring politicians hiding in the shadows (hellooooooo Mrs. President). As a result, the usual crop of Middle Eastern terrorists and Russian baddies feel by-the-numbers, with the real intrigue and suspense generated by the backroom dealings and double crosses by characters in three piece suits. Which isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of action from the bad guys with guns, because what’s a “24” season without intense shoot-outs, by-the-skin-of-your-teeth escapes, and plenty of the ol “gray area” violence? There are plenty of those here, too.

Notable new castmembers include Necar Zadegan as Dalia Hassan, who smothers onscreen, D.B. Sweeney as a shady gun-for-hire who is, unfortunately, dispatched way too early, and Michael Madsen, as a surprising ally for Jack. Less successful additions include Freddie Prinze Jr. as, supposedly, the New York version of Jack Bauer (not even close, guys), former “Battlestar Galactica” badass Katee Sackhoff as the twisty, often-times perplexing CTU mole Dana Walsh (worst. 24. character. ever? you decide.), and Mykelti Williamson, who really, really needs to hire a posture coach. Man’s going to have back problems in his old age.

Highlights from the season include the return of Renee Walker, who I’m sure fans were clamoring for after her instant chemistry with Jack in Season 7. Plus, it was hinted that Renee was about to do something really, really bad at the end of last season, and it’s great to actually follow up on that. In a lot of ways, Wersching’s Walker is the soulmate that Jack Bauer has been waiting for, and sparks certainly fly whenever they’re onscreen together. Other highlights include Jack going all “Heat” in the middle of New York traffic to abscond with the slimy Charles Logan, while Chloe O’Brian finally gets out of the office for a little while towards the end, and even gets to carry a gun. When was the last time we saw that? Not nearly enough, in my opinion.

So what are the chances of a “24” movie? Here’s hoping the chances are better than some terrorist scumbag getting the drop on Jack Bauer … and ruining his day.

Blu-ray Special Features:

The Blu-ray comes with four discs, holding six episodes each. Each disc contains bonus extras that include deleted/extended scenes and “Scenemakers” featurettes, which takes you behind-the-scenes of each episode’s major set/action set piece.

Disc 1 also contains “The Ultimate CTU”, a 12-minutes making-of of the New York branch of CTU.

Disc 4 contains two additional features, “Chloe’s Arrest” and “Virtually New York”. “Chloe’s Arrest” is a three-minutes-plus extra scene with Chloe being braced by the FBI after helping Jack escape, while “Virtually New York” is a 9-minutes look at how the show blended their real-life New York locations with their L.A. backlots through the power of Hollywood movie magic. Bet you thought the entire season was shot on location in New York, didn’t you?

Buy “24: The Complete Eighth Season” on DVD or Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox.