Before launching with any credibility into my review of 24, I must confess in the church of guilty little pleasures my absolute obsession with the program and the pursuits of its hero, the honorable Mr. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). At the mercy of the networks, such devotion and obsession are rewarded with sweaty and torturous weeklong waits. The clock ticks Monday to Sunday with its trademark "beep... beep... beep..." for anxious fans anticipating the coming thrills of a fresh episode. Will the President survive? Will the bomb be launched? Will Michelle end up with Tony? In DVD format, such questions are answered with great expediency, the wait reduced to whatever length of time your anxiety permits, and the resulting real "real time" is the epitome of geekish rushes. 24's fourth season is its best yet and demonstrates most ferociously the brilliance of the program's premise and its suitability to the instantly accessible digital and versatile disc.

Having saved the President from assassination, the country from both nuclear and viral threats, and having been addicted to heroin, lost his wife and had to murder his boss, one understands when in the first moments of season four Jack Bauer is under different employment. No longer at CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) - in fact not even welcome there - Jack is now the chief bodyguard for Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane). Jack's love interest for the day, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), happens to be his boss' daughter, and when dad and daughter are kidnapped, ransomed and threatened with live web-syndicated trial and execution, Bauer must again brace the corridors of CTU and endeavor to save the day, for the fourth time.

Continue reading: 24: Season Four Review