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Archive for October 17th, 2009

Back in 2001, 24 was a revolutionary idea.  24 one hour (less credits and commercials) episodes shot in real time covering a 24 hour period.  Based around LA’s fiction CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) on the day of the California presidential primary, the first season was brilliant offering an exciting and well written espionage thriller.  The main appeal of the show is the main protagonist Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) who offers a James Bond/Jason Bourne type character combined with an everyman appeal.  His methods including torture are often controversial but do make compelling viewing.  The best character in the show is Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) introduced in series three as a senior analyst.  Chloe is one of the few people who Jack and therefore the viewer can trust.  The main appeal of the character is her lack of social graces and interpersonal skills. 

Over time the show has lost its way.  The storylines are getting increasingly far fetched and the conspiracies more ridicules.  The real-time is no longer a novelty and the things that never seemed to matter are becoming a problem.  For example all the superhuman characters on the show have no problem with lasting 24 hours with no sleep, no food, little water (unless the plot calls for them to be drugged or poisoned) and never visiting the toilet.  But despite all of this the program still makes compelling viewing.  The eight and possibly final season is in production at the moment and is due to air early next year.  So what does it have in stall for us?

As it is probably going to be the final season it may offer some kind of narrative closure (but I doubt it!).  The show has relocated to New York (as a setting not a location) and follows the re-activation of CTU.  Jack will have to deal with assassination attempts and a complicated conspiracy (but you could say that about any of the previous seasons!).

  • The returning characters are:
  • Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland)
  • Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub)
  • Renee Walker (Annie Wersching)
  • President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones)
  • Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert)

Jack BauerChloe O'BrianRenee WalkerPresident Allison TaylorKim Bauer24

  • The notable newcomers, one of whom may give a clue to the plot are:
  •  Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff – best know as “Starbuck” from Battlestar Galactica)
  • Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze, Jr.)
  • President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor) – president of the fictional Islamic Republic of Kamistan who is involved in a peace conference with President Taylor.

I hope it is the final season.  If it goes on any longer it does risk becoming a parody of itself.  It should bow out with dignity whist it is still can and if it can produce a great final season leaving people wanting a little more all the better for the legacy of the show.  If not for the writers strike we could have had the eighth and final season this year.  Even if it does spill over into the next decade it will always be seen as a show of the 00’s; a time when the world felt a little less safe and a little less optimistic than it did in the 90’s a decade that needed Jack Bauer with his questionable tactics and extreme ways.

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