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“24” on DVD: Be Careful -- It's Addictive

12 Jan, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Oooooh. Kiefer dropped the “F-bomb.”

One of the reasons I was excited to get my hands on season three of “24” on DVD was for the promised featurette that bridges gaps between the 18-month time differential from the end of season three and this week’s debut of season four on Fox.

Much like 20th Century Fox’s overall strategy for this show, from production to marketing to creating the aftermarket, the featurette did not disappoint.

And Kiefer dropped the “F-bomb.” He used the infamous expletive in the included DVD scene that shows his character’s firing from the fictitious Los Angeles “Counter Terrorist Unit.”

It’s funny how much reaction and chatter that one little expletive got on fan Web sites. And fans weren’t horrified or offended; they seem, like me, to be a bit tickled by it. After all, it’s not so far-fetched to assume that if the days Jack Bauer keeps having were happening in “real-life” situations, there may be more than a little colorful language flying around. (Heck, a couple of U.S. senators have been known to throw it around under substantially less stressful situations.)

And if “24” was on HBO, we’d likely be hearing colorful dialogue weekly, akin to “The Sopranos.”

Anyway, it was kind of an interesting, unrated element to add to the disc, and one I’m sure could be repeated should the show’s creators and directors feel the need. They could ostensibly film a few extra “unrated” takes and save them for the DVD release as an added marketing boost. “Las Vegas” hit DVD from Universal in an unrated version.

Perhaps this will become a new TV DVD trend for sexy, action shows.

Fox was also incredibly savvy with its broadcast premiere strategy for season four. The studio obviously understands what DVD has done for the viewing mentality of this show. Ask anyone who’s watched it “24” on DVD — it’s like digital crack — one episode at a time just isn’t enough. Some fans even claim they like to TiVo a few episodes and save them up to watch all at once.

Fox played into that this week, airing two episodes back-to-back two nights in a row. A move, I am certain garnered them more then a few new “24’ addicts, who will no doubt be investing in the season four DVD set later this year.

Fox, having learned the power of DVD after watching the ratings of “24”’s second season skyrocket in the wake of season one’s timely DVD release, also sent out preview discs in issues of Entertainment Weekly holding the first 24 minutes of the first episode of the new season.

Giving away half the first episode and airing a month’s worth of episodes in two nights is an entirely new approach to TV programming — one that obviously takes the DVD aftermarket for the show very much into account.

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