It's a new format for Jack Bauer but the essentials have stayed pretty much the same.
So, apparently 24 just wasn't enough. This year, thanks to a two-hour season prologue, we get 26 whole hours of Jack Bauer doing what Jack Bauer does: running, shooting, getting tortured, and blowing stuff up. The question is: do we need it? At the start of 24: Redemption, we find Jack hiding out in an African orphanage run by his ex-special-ops chum Carl (Robert Carlyle), with General Duma's men on their way to "recruit" for their child army. Over in DC, President Allison Taylor is being inaugurated into the White House (Hollywood has done with black presidents now; it's all about women). The Sangala scenes play out as a rescue story with heavy nods to Hotel Rwanda, right down to the exhortations to "kill the cockroaches". They're beautifully shot, and a handy way of solving 24's perennial episode-one problem - how to recover Jack from whichever exile disaster area he's wound up in, so he can get on with finding the nukes/bioweapons/whatever. The Washington segments, though, serve only to remove any whodunnit tension from the first half of the season proper. There's a bit of so-what backstory, and a new first family to introduce, but you can't help but feel the producers would have been better to stay in Africa. The extras are sparse - a four-minute recap of the last season, and an extended trailer for the next one - although the DVD does come with a tiny phial of Eau de Jacques Bauer, in case you want to smell like a bloke who's been repeatedly beaten up and is suffering from sleep deprivation.