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TAC Reviews...24

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24 was a series that I was totally hooked on, I followed every episode and there was even an occasion when I missed an episode because the Sky Tv didn't record it when I was on holiday...I was extremely pissed and as pirate sites weren't really around then I could not watch the rest of the Season. You see the thing with 24 is that you do not watch an episode you watch a season. Then a few weeks later Sky did a rerun of the series in real time, starting when the episode did at 3.00pm and going till 3.00pm the following day. I did not want to trust the Sky Tv again so I sat and watched the entire Season from beginning to end. Watching the episodes that I had seen and then the ones I had not for 24 hours - THAT is how much I loved this show.

 

It started in 2001 and it was thanks to a friend of my skin sack who leant me the first two seasons in a video boxset that I got hooked on it. I loved the concept, nothing had ever done this before, and it made for a really interesting and entertaining show.

 

Jack Bauer is to this day one of my favorite all time characters.

 

I was into this show long before Dexter appeared on Tv in 2006 and for a while it was in my opinion the best show on television. Since then I have leaned more towards Dexter as the "best show on television" but 24 will always have a special place in my hearts.

 

I have decided to therefore review each season from the beginning bringing us right up to date with the most recent season 24: Live Another Day.

 

Will they be as good as I remember??

 

Let's find out...

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 1 - First Aired in 2001

 

As someone who has spent years on the phone you can imagine I get bored...a lot. I was supposed to be on a scounting mission not hanging around on the phone for decades. I used to spend my mammoth amounts of free time playing computer games on the PS2 or lounging around watching DVDs.

 

Then a friend of my skin sack asked me if I had ever seen a show called 24 - I hadn't and he told me that it might be a show that I could get into. The premise of the show was that each episode takes place in real-time, we watch what it happening from moment to moment, so the entire series happens over the course of a single day. He had the first 2 Seasons on Video so he loaned them to me...he was right it was definately a show that I really did get into...and now I am going to tell you why

 

24: Day 1

 

Jack Bauer is a CTU agent and he is about to have a very bad day. His wife and daughter have been kidnapped, and a presidential candidate is the target of an assassination plot. He discovers that people he works with might be involved in both.

 

That was the series intro…so allow me to set the scene for you…

 

Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has recently moved back into his home after a six month separation from his wife Teri (Leslie Hope). His family are beginning to put their lives back together when Jack is called into work after CTU discover that there is a plot to assassinate presidential candidate David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). It also becomes clear that members of CTU have been compromised and are aiding those behind in the assassination plot. Jack is not sure who to trust as his closest allies might in fact be working with the terrorists trying to kill Palmer.

 

Jack’s daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) has also snuck out to meet up with a friend and meet a couple of guys. What neither realise is that those behind the assassination of Palmer are also planning to kidnapping her and her mother in order to manipulate Jack. As Jack has a prior acquaintance with Palmer, they believe that he can get close to him in order to murder him.

 

Meanwhile David Palmer is informed that the man who raped his daughter might have been killed by his son 7 years earlier, and if that news comes out then it might destroy his chances of getting into the White House.

 

Within CTU Jack’s suspicions about who he can trust, his former lover Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) and her current boyfriend/rebound guy Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), would normally be his go-to people but now he doesn’t know if they are in on his wife and daughter’s kidnapping.

 

24 is a unique television series in which an entire season happens within 24 hours. All you see is literally a single day in the lives of our characters so whilst their histories with each other are present they are mentioned, there are no flashbacks, and everything that has taken place beforehand is referenced or discussed. Show tend to have sequences which cut away from the main story to show flashbacks but there is none of that here. We know that Jack and Nina have had a prior relationship but we don’t exactly know what happened, whether Jack simply had an affair or if he left his wife for Nina only to reconcile with his wife. Also Tony and Jack have a lot of tension between them because neither of them are really sure if Nina is with him because he is a convenient rebound guy.

 

Day (or Season) 1 was the first time that the formula had been tried and as a result has a few teething problems, but it is still one of the best shows on television (second only to Dexter) but of course when this first aired Dexter had not been created so at the time this was the best show on television

 

The fictional Counter Terrorist Unit is in Los Angeles and is the government organisation charged with preventing Palmer’s assassination. David Palmer is an African-American and the fallout with the black community if he is assassinated is also a strong motivator for CTU to save his life. In addition, Jack is part of the field ops team, and has in the past exposed several members of CTU for embezzlement which means he is not exactly very popular to begin with. Several of his colleagues have been fired because of him and the ones that have remained do not trust him, and again may have gotten involved with the kidnapping to get back at Jack.

 

Initially the series was written with 12 episodes which is why it seems as though things were nicely wrapped up at the end of the first 12, however, the series was renewed and so the story continued. This does show because as the clock ticks down on the final 12 hours everything seems to have been resolved, but as it was renewed for another 12 episodes it seems that the writers had to think of ways to continue the series. This does lead to the biggest problem that underlines the series…

 

With the first series of 24 was that the writers hadn’t learned how to maintain the story through numerous major and sub plots. Events are wrapped up after 12 hours but then the story carries on with characters developing bizarre and convenient ways to be removed from the plot for a bit because the writers didn’t seem to know what to do with them. Let me give you an example, there are several episodes when Teri develops amnesia after a car accident and is seen wandering around Los Angeles before regaining her memory a few hours (and episodes) later. She remembers being involved with some guy who she tracks down, and they spend a few hours not doing much. The purpose of this tactic seems to be that Teri is important at the beginning of the series and at the end but flounders a bit in the middle so the writers had to come up with a way of just putting her to one side for a while until she is necessary again. I am honestly not sure why they chose to do this, I mean couldn’t she have simply gone home, or been taken into protective custody or something?? There are many ways that she could have been taken out of the mix for a while without forcing us to sit there watching her drift around killing time until the Day’s finale.

 

The cast are all exceptional, Kiefer Sutherland is perfectly cast as Jack Bauer and Kim played by Elisha Cuthbert is both sexy but also intentionally annoying. Dennis Haysbert is also superbly cast as the Presidential Candidate that learns of the plot and actually goes to CTU to find out why a man from his past (Jack) is seemingly trying to kill him. But I think the best and the worst character is Sherry Palmer portrayed by Penny Johnson Jerald, she is very smart, incredibly manipulative, and is determined to get into the White House. The reason I mention her specifically is because I really liked her character Kasidy Yates in Deep Space Nine but in 24 she is so annoying…you really want someone to just shoot her already. But that is the mark of a good actor/actress, if you like one character they play and hate another it is because you are seeing the character rather than the person playing them. She does grate on your nerves, however, like the rest of the characters she has her own mind, her own agenda, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

 

However, the criticisms of 24 are minor; on the whole it is a brilliantly original series in which the simple tasks that are almost never seen in films (like driving between locations or tracking someone to their destination) become major factors in the shows timeline. The travel time to a location has to be taken into account because they cannot simply show them setting off, fade the screen or cut to them arriving on location. The twisting plot leaves the audience guessing until the last possible moment and makes 24 one of the great television shows.

 

I have rated this not as highly as I could have because yes, a lot of the episodes are a bit forgettable, and there are filler ones which have nothing to do with much but it is still getting a Thumbs Up, because despite some initial issues it is a great series. I was going to give this series a 6/10 but I cannot bring myself to rate it as slightly above average when it is some much better than that. I cannot get past some of the teething problems which is why I have given it the rating that I have.

 

 

7/10 - In retrospect some of the features of the series do hurt the overall experience, like the Teri amnesia thing, and there are a few other teething problems but on the whole an excellent concept with a great cast that promises to build on Day 1 and things do get better.

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 2 - First Aired in 2002

 

Following from the ending and success of Day 1, 24 was always going to get renewed from another season. Now I knew this because my friend had loaned me the first two seasons and after enjoying the previous one, I immediately put the first video of Season 2 so I could watch the story continue. A lot of the cast return and Kiefer Sutherland once again steps into the shoes of Jack Bauer.

 

24: Day 2

 

Jack Bauer has become estranged from his daughter Kim following the events of Day 1, and is struggling to put his life back together. Things take a turn for the worse when he is called back into to CTU after terrorists plan to detonate a nuclear weapon in Los Angeles.

 

We glimpsed the “worst day” of Jack’s life with the events of Day 1 but now the stakes have been raised and it is not just a presidential candidate and Jack’s family that are in danger. Here a nuclear weapon has been smuggled into the country and is going to detonate in less than…well, 24 hours, obviously.  

 

Set roughly 18 months after Season (and Day) 1, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is trying to reconnect with his daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) following the tragedy at the end of the last season. Jack is called back to CTU after a terrorist plot to smuggle in and detonate a nuclear weapon in Los Angeles is discovered.

 

CTU has been re-staffed but some familiar faces from Day 1 are still there like Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) and George Mason (Xavier Berkeley) the Head of CTU. There are several new faces including Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth), and the reoccurring character from Day 1, Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze).

 

On her sister's wedding day, new character Kate Warner (Sarah Wynter) uncovers evidence that suggests her sister’s fiancé might be a Middle Eastern terrorist. She starts her own investigation into his activities. Her sister dismisses her suspicions but Kate doesn’t let up and you do start to wonder if she is just trying to split the couple up because Kate doesn’t like him.

 

David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) is now the President of the United States and leans heavily on CTU and Jack Bauer to find the bomb, plus who is responsible for smuggling it into the country. However, Palmer comes under pressure from his own Cabinet who believe that he lacks the strength of will to launch a retaliatory strike when those behind the plot are apparently discovered.

 

Kim Bauer has barely spoken to her father and is working as a nanny to a young girl, and is told to get out of LA by her father. She takes the family’s daughter with her after it becomes obvious that the father is being abusive, but he doesn’t let her go easily and starts pursuing her across the city getting increasingly deranged.

 

After some of the teething troubles of the first season this time around the writers are better able to find their feet. The story is essentially set into three main acts, with the hunt for the bomb being the primary focus of the day’s events. Then discovering who was behind it, and finally the political pressure as Palmer has to deal with those in his own cabinet who don’t think he has the stones to retaliate as Jack struggles to uncover the truth before the United States launches a nuclear weapon at a potentially innocent country.

 

The writers of 24 Season 1 have learned from the flaws from Day 1. They have obviously become better at telling a story which has the three main acts but also numerous sub plots interconnected and running parallel to the main plot. In Day 2 the majority of the cast from the previous day return, life has happened between the two days but the audience is not let in on what has been happening for the characters during those 18 months. We know that the relationship between Jack and Kim has soured following her mother’s death (spoiler alert) and Jack had retired from CTU. Initially we see Jack trying to reconcile with his daughter and he is drawn back to CTU in order to help them find the bomb

 

This is the Day in which Jack Bauer and David Palmer’s relationship really develops further. They learned to trust one another in Day 1 (after being acquaintances beforehand) and now as President Palmer, he trusts Jack implicitly, and relies on him and CTU to discover where the bomb is.

 

24 is able to bring out the best in its cast.

 

Palmer’s now ex-wife Sherry (Penny Johnson Jerald), who was so irritating in Day 1, also returns. As before she is scheming, manipulative and thoroughly unpleasant. Sherry Palmer is a character that the audience will love to hate. But that is the character that the show needs. She had her own agenda and is more than a little bitter at the way things turned out following the events of Day 1.

 

Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) also reappears and is able to manipulate Palmer into giving her a pardon for her crimes plus for the future murder of Jack Bauer. The President weeps as he is forced to give into her demand and wait for the inevitable shot as his friend is murdered. You can feel the weight of the decision and you know that is something that he will never forgive himself for, but as Nina has information regarding the location of the bomb, information she will only give up if she is pardoned for her crimes and allowed to go free, Palmer has no choice but to sacrifice Jack. It is a nail-biting moment as you wonder how Jack is possibly going to get out of the situation alive.

 

Jack’s daughter Kim is shown as a trouble magnet, only she could have so many problems escaping LA before the bomb is due to detonate, and this is the season where she starts to become really irritating. I mean, Jack rings her and tells her to get out of LA because there is a nuclear bomb in the city and he wants her to get to safety. So she decides to take the child she has been looking after and flees with the delusional and insanely angry father in hot pursuit. She cannot follow the simplest of instructions and instead spends most of her time just getting into more and more trouble. Elisha Cuthbert can play the role well, and whilst she is intensely irritating at times, she is still hot so at least you’ve got some nice eye candy to look at despite her making bad decision after bad decision.

 

24 Day 2 is not yet perfect; however, it is an improvement on Day 1 because there are considerably less filler episodes, although there are still a few. Also the initial focus is very action based with the agents of CTU racing to track down the bomb, and even becoming a target in the process, with the latter third really focussing on the aftermath. The shift is more towards the politics of the situation and whilst there is still a fair amount of action, it is the political agendas of the characters that begins to take centre stage.

 

Day 2 is more action packed than its predecessor and sees the demise of several of Day 1’s characters and develops into a more action-packed season. It demonstrates that it is not afraid to kill off established characters and this is a trend that happens with increasing frequency in later seasons.

 

It is a superior season to the events of Day 1 and raises the stakes from a more personal incident regarding Jack, which was the kidnapping of his family, to something that could potentially erupt into a full scale war – needless to say my Thumb is Up

 

 

8/10 - The writers find their feet a lot more than they did in Day 1 as CTU struggle to stop the bomb exploding, those responsible and the President from retaliating against an innocent nation.

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 3 - First Aired in 2003

 

Following the loan of the first two seasons of 24 I was eagerly awaiting the latest season to hit Sky Tv, unfortunately unlike the previous two seasons which I could watch back to back, gorging myself on three or four episodes a night, this time I had to just wait for the following week to keep the story going. Like the last time Day 3 deals with a significant threat to the people of Los Angeles and Jack is struggling to deal with becoming addicted to heroin whilst working undercover.

 

24: Day 3

 

Jack Bauer and CTU are back, and this time they must stop the release of a lethal virus before it can infect the city. Jack is struggling with a heroin addiction and David Palmer is facing an election and pressure to sack his brother from his staff following revelations that he had an affair with the wife of one of his brother’s major contributors.

 

Jack is back at CTU and his daughter is working there so he can keep an eye on her, what could possibly go wrong??

 

Let’s find out…

 

Set 3 years after the events of Day 2 Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is struggling to go ‘cold turkey’ after becoming addicted to heroin during a lengthy period undercover. He claims that he had to take the drug as part of his cover, but those around him suspect it has more to do with his grief following the events of Day 1 and his wife’s death. His partner Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale) knows of his addiction and encourages him to beat it anyway he can even if that means taking some of the drug so he can keep his head focussed. Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) is now the Head of CTU and is married to Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth).

 

CTU has two key new employees, Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert), who has been given a job by her father mainly so he can keep an eye on her, and Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) as a brilliant computer programmer but lacks social grace which puts her at odds with the majority of CTU’s personnel.

 

Meanwhile President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) is facing an election. His brother Wayne Palmer (DB Woodside) is his Chief of Staff and becomes the target for one of Palmer’s contributors Alan Milliken (Albert Hall) when he discovers that Wayne has been having an affair with his wife Julia (Gina Torres).

 

Problems escalate when it becomes clear that the man Jack put in jail after being undercover, Ramon Salazar (Joaquim de Almeida), and his younger brother Hector (Vincent Laresca) will release the deadly virus into the general population if the authorities don’t release Ramon immediately.

 

However, with 24 things are never that simple

 

I was waiting with bated breath for this season, I tuned in every week to see the next episode because with 24 if you miss an episode you are done with the season. As I have said before there are some filler episodes but you can guarantee that if you miss one episode it’ll be the one where “Shit’s gone down” so you cannot afford to miss a single one.

 

By Day 3 24 has really hooked its audience and the writers knew how to write contained episodes that also moved the story forward a piece at a time. The formula is well known and unlike the previous two days is no longer essentially three acts which deals with the potential for a virus being released, a weapons sale out in Mexico and finally an outbreak of the virus in a hotel in Los Angeles.

 

The plot has three main acts, all of which all revolve around securing the virus.

 

Characters from the previous days return, including the brilliantly annoying Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald) and former CTU Agent Nina Myles (Sarah Clarke). Both have their own agendas and each one manages to make matters considerably worse for Jack and President Palmer. Jack’s struggle with heroin is also a key focus with one of the villains telling him (and the audience) that none of them would have suspected him of being in law enforcement even if he had refused to take heroin. This leads the audience to think (as Chase does) that Jack did indeed get hooked on the drug to lessen the pain of his wife’s death.

 

Like Day 1 CTU seems to have once again been infiltrated by the bad guys, which does make the audience wonder if background checks are actually performed on people before giving them a job. If they are then they really need to fire whoever it is who has done them because clearly they are not doing their job right. Chloe is annoying and irritating but intensely loyal becoming one of Jack’s greatest allies in this and in later seasons.

 

President Palmer has fully recovered from the attack inflicted upon him at the end of Day 2, and has started a relationship with the woman that saved his life. His term is coming to an end and so the last thing he needs is the scandal of his Chief of Staff having an affair so close to the election.

 

I have to be honest I think David Palmer is one of the best, if not THE best, fictional President. He is calm, composed, intelligent doesn’t really seem to be flummoxed, and more to the point he listens to Jack Bauer. The pair trust one another implicitly. Whilst others around Jack try to trip him up, whether intentionally or unintentionally, Jack has the President’s ear and Palmer knows that Jack will do whatever is necessary to get the job done.

 

The plot has so many twists and turns that it might be difficult for the audience to keep track of exactly what is going on. This was also a problem with watching the episodes one at a time over 24 weeks, we might glimpse a character in an early episode that would be rereleased to use later on but we’ve forgotten who they are. Fortunately, at the beginning of every episode there is a ‘previous on 24’ monologue in which Jack summarises the key points that have happened and are relevant to the coming episode.

 

This season also doesn’t “end” like the previous ones did. You get the impression that after Day 1 and Day 2 the threat is pretty much over, yes Palmer is attacked in the closing minutes of the second Day but that starts a new threat. In Day 3 the threat continues with Jack still not done and racing off once again to help with the aftermath of the day’s events.

 

24 is an action drama series and not only focuses on finding the virus but also on the relationships between Chase and Kim, and Tony and Michelle. The audience will be as horrified as Tony when he discovers that his wife may have been infected by the lethal virus whilst trying to defuse a delivery device. You care about these characters and don’t want to see tragedy strike, and the limits that Tony is prepared to go to for his wife are explored. One of the worst parts about a show like this is that you know the cast are not safe. If it will provide sufficient shock value then characters will die, and watching people that you have come to care about being torn from one another is heartbreaking.

 

I have never really talked about the villains in these reviews and the reason is that the show throws so many curve balls at you that if I did then it would spoil the series because not knowing who is in the background pulling the strings is one of the best things about the show. However, this season does have an especially good villain who forces Jack to do the unthinkable and murder one of the people he works with at CTU.

 

24 really does get better and better with Kiefer Sutherland leading a cast that are entirely convincing as their respective characters. They are comfortable with the people they are portraying and by now we want to see these characters grow. We don’t want to see them die but at the same time we know that some are going to before the clock winds down on the final hour. Jack Bauer is on par with James Bond or Jason Bourne (there was even an online debate over which one would win in a fight) and suffers the consequences of always saving the day and the lengths that he has to go to do so.

 

I think this is my favourite season of 24 because Jack is working at CTU, his daughter is not getting into too much trouble and the villain is the best one that Jack comes up against because of his motivations for doing what he is doing.

 

It should come as no surprise that my Thumb is definitely Up.

 

 

9/10 - Brilliant series that just keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, this one gives us a great villain and sees Jack struggling not just to get the job done but also to get past his own addiction.

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 4 - First Aired in 2005

 

Day 4 takes place 18 months after the events of Day 3 with Jack now working for the Secretary of Defence after getting fired from CTU due to his heroin addiction. Almost a totally new cast appears in this season but a few familiar faces from the past also reappear once again.

 

24: Day 4

 

Jack has been sacked from the Counter Terrorist Unit due to his heroin addiction but has since gotten clean and is working for the Secretary of Defence. But Los Angeles is under threat from a new terrorist plot and President Keller leans on CTU to find the terrorists before it is too late.

 

In the wake of the events of Day 3 CTU has been re-staffed and completely redesigned with Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) being the only one from a previous season still working there. The Director of CTU Field Operations is Erin Driscoll (Alberta Watson), the woman who fired Jack, and amongst the other members of staff are Curtis Manning (Roger Cross) and Sarah Gavin (Lana Parrilla).

 

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) now works for Secretary of Defence James Heller (William Devane) and unbeknown to his boss has been seeing his daughter Audrey Raines (Kim Raver). Jack seems to finally be moving on from his tragic past, but Jack is quickly called back to CTU, after a new terrorist plot is uncovered.

 

Unlike the previous seasons which had a three act structure, this one follows a single major terrorist that has orchestrated a variety of different events to transpire in the single day, and these range from planning on kidnapping the Secretary of Defence so he can be executed on television, to an attack on Air Force One.

 

Jack Bauer knows better than anyone that working for CTU is not a job that can be hung up at the end of the day; the job has claimed his wife and lost him his daughter. One of 24’s many strengths is its ability to show that Jack Bauer is one of those rare people that will do whatever is necessary to complete their goals.

 

This season of 24 puts more emphasis on torturing those suspected of being tied in with the terrorist behind the days attacks which caused a lot of controversy when the season was first aired. Jack suspects that Audrey’s ex-husband Paul Raines (James Frain) might be involved and tortures him to get information. This is something that obviously shocks Audrey but Jack continues regardless because he knows that it is something that must be done for the greater good.

 

The new look CTU is impressive but it has once again been infiltrated by a mole (no surprise there) and once more the audience is left to wonder why CTU can analyse the smallest piece of information to track a terrorist but they can’t locate one within their ranks. However, that aside the new staff seem to believe that Jack has his own agenda and fail to listen to him allowing suspects to slip through their fingers. This also gets on your nerves, in previous seasons Jack had the ear of the President, you’d think when David Palmer left office he would have mentioned to his replacement that you listen to Jack Bauer because he is going to be right. Don’t get in his way and do anything and everything he asks of you because that way he will get the job done. Unfortunately he is hampered along the way by a number of the new faces that have appeared at CTU during his absence

 

Fortunately later on familiar characters appear, ones that have worked with Jack before and know when to listen to him.

 

Like I said, the season is separated into multiple threats, CTU and Jack struggle to deal with each threat before the next one looms. President Keller (Geoff Pierson) is not as prominent a figure in the seasons’ events as Palmer was, and his Vice President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) seems far to weedy and nervous to run the country in the event something happens to the President. This leads on to the return of one of my favourite characters from the previous seasons, but I won’t say which one.

 

Despite the familiar premise: Jack and CTU trying to stop terrorists doing bad things, 24 knows exactly how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Multiple plots are running throughout the series, so the neither the characters nor the audience get an opportunity to catch their breath.

 

Each Day of 24 can be seen as an enclosed series and shows a snapshot in the lives of Jack, and the others. Life continues between each Day, and the audience will have questions left over from previous seasons but they are questions that don’t get answered. This approach is more true to life; after all, people who have been in proximity to one another don’t need to talk about things that have happened in the past unless they have some relevance. This means that people unfamiliar with the series could start watching even though the show is now in its fourth series.

 

24 remains one of the best shows on televisions, and is one of the rare breed of show that has an excellent premise that allows the skilled cast to shine. It always leaves you hungry for the next episode and when I was watching this on Sky Tv, left an agonising seven day wait before I could tune in to watch the next heart-stopping episode.

 

You have probably started to notice a pattern in my reviews of Tv shows, that being that if I don’t like a show I’ll stick with it for a season, or occasionally two, if someone has loaned me a box set. So if I am still wanting to talk about a show when it is into its third, and beyond, seasons then it must be because I view it as being worth my time.

 

24 was worth my time in 2005 and it is still worth my time in 2015, and when I say my time, I mean everyone’s time. If you like fast paced, nail biting tension, with a superb cast and an excellent narrative then you have to check out 24 and if you don’t like any of those things then resign yourself to tedium and watch…I dunno, paint drying or something…

 

Great show, great cast, and no surprises my Thumb is Up

 

 

8/10 - Fantastic real time drama that keeps delivering the goods and if anything seems to be getting better with each new Day.

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 5 - First Aired in 2006

 

Jack Bauer is in hiding after the events of Day 4, but those who know he is still alive are about to be targeted for assassination. Their deaths will bring Jack back to LA to uncover a new threat and a conspiracy running through the government.

 

24: Day 5

 

Set 18 months after the events of Day 4 in which Jack faked his death to avoid being taken by the Chinese, his friends who helped him to escape suddenly come under attack, and one of Jack’s closest friends himself in the firing line.

 

Allow me to bring you up to speed…

 

So Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has been living off the radar, working as a day-to-day labourer at a oil refinery under the name ‘Frank Flynn’ and is renting a room from a single mother. Meanwhile, President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin), is about to sign an anti-terrorism alliance treaty with the Russian President Yuri Suvarov (Nick Jameson) but during the day the Russian-separatists terrorists carry out a series of attacks because they believe that the new treaty will damage their people.

 

Day 4 saw Jack’s most trusted allies helping him evade capture and disappear after he led an attack on the Chinese Consulate that resulted in the death of the Consul. I am afraid that I am going to spoil a few things now, but considering this happens in the first few minutes of the first episode I am spilling the beans with a clear consciounce. Tony and Michelle are back together and living happily when a car bomb goes off killing Michelle and seroioousloy wounding Tony. Former President David Palmer is assassinated by a sniper, with Chloe O’Brian being targeted and in her panic she calls Jack to come to her rescue.

 

So with two of his closest friends dead, one critically injured and the last running for her life, do you think Jack is going to come back to find out who is targeting them and why??

 

Bet your life he is…

 

I heard a while ago that there was an internet forum in which the topic was who would win in a fight between Jack Bauer, Jason Bourne and James Bond. Jack is a character that is seen as so tough that he could go toe to toe with Bond or Bourne with the outcome of the fight uncertain. That is how awesome a character he is, and at the risk to himself comes back to LA to rescue Chloe and find out who has killed his friends.

 

There are certain people who you just don’t fuck with, Angelus, Dexter, and Blade, to name but a few and Jack Bauer is definitely one of those people.

 

In this season Jack is not an employee of CTU or rejoins them on a provisional basis as he did in the previous days. This time because he is not under the control of a government organisation, he can be far more extreme that he was before. Jack doesn’t need a warrant to enter someone’s house, or the proper authorisation to ‘encourage’ them to talk. This is the season in which we really see Jack becoming increasingly unhinged because the regulations that bound him before are not enforced here. He is out for revenge for the murders of David Palmer and Michelle, and there is nothing and no one that is going to stop him. He even begins to suspect that President Logan was in on the conspiracy and has absolutely no problem with going after the President of the United States…the fucking President of the United States you've got to have balls of steel to even think about going after one of the most powerful political figures in the world

 

Like I said in a previous review of 24 why new Presidents are not given a “Jack-Initiative” or something in which Jack has executive authority to do whatever the crap he wants to sort out various terrorist threats is beyond me. If they did then these shows wouldn’t be called 24, they’d be called 12 Or less. Not as catchy I admit but if people didn’t get in Jack’s way he would sort shit out in half the time that it normally takes because people just don’t get that Jack is always right and the best thing everyone else can do is help him as much as they can.

 

Fans of the show may be upset to see the demise of familiar faces but that is one of the best and also the worst things about 24…no one is really safe. Things happen and people die, working for the government is dangerous, but it is shown that it is more dangerous to make an enemy of Jack Bauer. Life is like that, people die, not everyone will make it out of every situation unscathed and here we see some of the best loved characters being killed. Even Chloe, who admittedly I found pretty annoying in her first series appearence, is now one of my favourites and I wanted Jack to rescue her rather than arrive too late to save her.

 

The writers continue to make each episode as exciting as possible with nail biting chases and the clock always ticking. There is not a single thread; instead, Jack and CTU have to deal with a web of different problems that bring them closer to the terrorists and a government conspiracy.

 

Unlike the previous season this one returns to the three act structure of the other seasons but again there are very few “filler” episodes and CTU has several familiar faces from the previous season including 24 regular Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), along with Edgar Stiles (Louis Lombardi), Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) as well as Curtis Manning (Roger Cross). Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) also appears and the audience learns was devastated by the finale of Day 4 in which she thought Jack had met his end.

 

Fans of the series will not be disappointed as the interlinked plots and sub plots move towards their climax. The cast are comfortable with their characters and a particular joy is Curtis Manning who is one of those rare breeds, he listens to Jack, trusts him, and is even able to kick some ass on his own.

 

Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) guest stars in a couple of episodes but she doesn’t have anything to do with the main story and her relationship with her father remains as strained as ever.

 

CTU suffers from a tragedy that sees the demise of a number of characters, some new and some old, and the silent clock (signalling someone’s death) ticks down several times during the long day.

 

The pace of the day doesn’t let up and thankfully the filler episodes are few and far between, with each hour adding to the overall tension of the series. This is still a great series, and as you have no doubt guessed the only reason I am still talking about this series is because it is still worth talking about.

 

Do I even need to say which direction my Thumb is going??

 

I’m going to anyway, Day 5 gets a well deserved Thumbs Up

 

 

8/10 - Day 5 is a great addition to an excellent series and whilst it does rob us of some great characters it sees Jack returning to LA, and sets the scene for the more aggressive and unhinged Jack that we see in later days.

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 6 - First Aired in 2007

 

The United States is being plagued by a series of suicide bombings, and one of the terrorists involved will surrender his leader is he is given Jack Bauer. New President Wayne Palmer has no choice but to sacrifice one of his brother’s most trusted friends for the greater good of the country.

 

24: Day 6

 

There are very few shows that are able to leave the audience on the edge of their seats as they eagerly await the next season. But 24 Day 5 managed to do that. In the closing moments we saw Jack chained up in the cargo hold of a ship bound for China where he is going to be made to answer for invading the Chinese Embassy…

 

Did Jack’s government, the government that he has sacrificed everything to protect, come and get him??

 

Did the President demand his release??

 

Did his fellow CTU agents risk life and limb to go to China and rescue him??

 

Actually no…they didn't...

 

America is in the grips of a crisis…yeah I know…when is America not in crisis?? A bunch of bombing have been attributed to a single terrorist leader named Asaad. Now, one of the terrorists working with Assad has a personal grudge against Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and is willing to give up Assad responsible for the attacks if Jack is surrendered to him. So despite the fact that Jack has just endured almost 2 years of hell at the hands of the Chinese government, President Wayne Palmer (DB Woodside), who appeared in previous seasons as his brother President David Palmer’s Chief of Staff has secured Jack’s release after a ‘high-price’ and he has now been brought back to the United States only to be offered to a terrorist Abu Fayed (Adoni Maropis) in exchange for the man behind the suicide bombings Hamri Al-Assad (Alexander Siddig).

 

Willing to surrender his life Jack discovers that Fayed is the mastermind behind the suicide bombings and is setting up Assad who is trying to stop the attacks. Together Jack and Assad discover that Fayed is planning on detonating nuclear weapons on US soil. So the two join forces so that they can find the weapons before they can be detonated and kill thousands of people.

 

The Counter Terrorist Unit is also working tirelessly to find Fayed and the bombs before they can be detonated.

 

Meanwhile President Wayne Palmer (DB Woodside) is under mounting pressure to do anything and everything to find those responsible for the bombings. His problems are made worse by his sister who deletes some information the FBI are trying to get hold of because she believes it is an invasion of privacy. He is also under threat from members of his own staff that don’t think that he has the nerve to do what must be done, in an echo very similar to a previous season arc in which his brother was accused of the same thing. Wayne Palmer is also hindered by his opportunistic Vice President Noah Daniels (Powers Boothe) who seems determined to seize power from him.

 

Politics…now I don’t claim to be a political person…thankfully 24, whilst always having various conspiracies and politics always play a significant part, that side of the story is always told in a way that keeps people like me, who have little to no interest in politics, from getting bored. It is the politics that have kept Jack in China, and it is only now that he is needed that his government have brought him home...

 

I get that relations between the Americans and the Chinese are not exactly friendly, but after everything he has done for his country, how could Jack have been left to the wolves to be tortured until he breaks. This was always going to be pointless because in Day 2 he was literally tortured to death and did not break, so keeping him prisoner was not going to do anything.

 

Still I digress…

 

So, Jack has spent 20 months being tortured at the hands of the Chinese during which time he has not given away any information that he knows about the United States. He has also barely spoken. His return home is far from happy as he is met by Curtis Manning (Roger Cross) and Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) and almost immediately is handed over to Fayed to be tortured and executed. He manages to evade his captors and is the first to realise that it is actually Fayed that is the one behind the Day’s events rather than Assad.

 

Having been out of the game for such a long time, not surprisingly it is during the first few hours that he struggles to do what needs to be done, and it falls to Assad to gain information from a suspect. Jack hesitates claiming that he does not know how to do the job anymore, and Assad tells him that he will remember. This job is what Jack knows what to do, and as the Day wears on he does become more and more like his old self once again.

 

As before there are numerous story threads connected to the terrorist threat and people within the government are involved. It makes a refreshing change for a former terrorist to have turned over a new leaf, however, in the past Assad was a very nasty piece of work who executed two men that Curtis worked with. This creates a heart breaking decision for Jack when Curtis confronts Assad over the incident and must choose whether to save Assad or allow his friend to take revenge.

 

Wayne Palmer’s sister crops up in the early hours (and again later on), but she causes problems when she deletes some sensitive files the FBI are trying to get hold of because she believes the FBI has no right to see people’s personal records. She then hides behind the fact that she is the President’s sister. She is just irritating. It turns out there was nothing incriminating in the files, and the audience may be left wondering why she created trouble for everyone by deleting the files instead of handing them over in the first place.

 

I don’t know about you but I don’t have anything to hide so if the government want to come and read my emails then fine, I don’t care about that. In my opinion it is only the people that have something to hide that would not want others to look through their personal information. So why does Wayne’s sister just cause a problem for the sake of it?

 

I am still a fan of Jack and co but Wayne Palmer just doesn’t have the presence of his brother, and whilst father and then son have been elected to President – George Bush and George W Bush in case you know even less about politics than me, but to me it seems unlikely that a President’s younger brother and former Chief of Staff would one day become the President, however, as someone who knows very little about politics this might not be that far-fetched.

 

I am obviously still a fan of the series but as time goes on I have started to notice rehashing of themes, and in this one there is the pressure of the government because they don’t  think the President has the balls to do what needs to be done. Plus there is an opportunistic politician that is trying to grab power for himself which has been seen before.

 

Jack in the highlight and is, and always has been, the focus of the series. His return is dealt with pretty well, with him breaking down at one moment, but he is able to pull himself together in order to continue with what has to be done.

 

His fate at the end of this series is left a little bit more vague than in previous Days, so whilst you could wonder if this was going to be the last time we see Jack, thankfully it wasn’t, and whilst there was a bit of wait before we got Day 7 because of the writer’s strike, we did get the made for TV movie – 24 Redemption to tide us over until we got the next full season

 

This is still a great series and my Thumb is still firmly Up

 

 

7/10 - Jack is the tragic hero who is needed by the government because of his ability to do whatever is necessary to find the bad guys, and continues to fight to protect the country and government that abandoned him to his fate…he’s obviously more forgiving than I am!!

 

TAC Reviews...24: Redemption - First Aired in 2008

 

Jack has fled the United States and has sought out an old friend living in the fictional country of Sangala. Working as a missionary he has managed to find some peace, however, rebels are recruiting children to be trained as soldiers. The children in the school are to become the next recruits unless Jack can make it to the US Embassy with them.

 

24: Redemption

 

I’m going to give you a brief history lesson, back in 2007-2008 there was a Writers Guild of America strike which caused a fair amount of fallout for new and established shows. British hottie Michelle Ryan’s big American Tv debut in the Bionic Woman was cut short as the series only had a handful of episodes written before the strike so it was cancelled. Heroes had a short second season, and of course 24 also felt the pinch. So to wet our appetites because we would not be seeing the events of Day 7 for a year, we were treated to a long prologue for the events of the upcoming season.

 

I am aware that I am about to talk about Day 7 and at no point have I mentioned that before each season there would be a brief short which gave us a quick glimpse at the season we were about to see. I haven’t mentioned these before because they were not essential viewing because nothing was lost by not seeing them. But Redemption basically serves as a linking story to explain what has happened to Jack since his fate was left rather ambiguous at the end of Day 6. Like the main show it takes place in real time and happens between 3:00-5:00 Sangala time rather than US time.

 

Okay, now that the history lesson is out of the way, let’s have a look at Redemption

 

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is working as a missionary at a school in Sangala (a fictional country) run by his old friend Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle). US embassy official Frank Trammel (Gil Bellows) arrives on the scene and serves Jack a subpoena to appear before the Senate regarding charges of torture. Jack refuses to go. He then learns that the embassy will cut funding to Benton's school if he continues to protect Jack, so he decides to leave.

 

Meanwhile back in the United States the new President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is about to be sworn in as America’s first female president. During Inauguration Day the son of the soon-to-be-president Roger Taylor (Eric Lively) is told of a conspiracy within the government by his friend Chris Whitley (Kris Lemche). After telling Roger of the danger Whitely is quickly murdered and the information corroborating his story is stolen.

 

Back in Africa Jack and Carl struggle to get the school’s children to the safety of the US Embassy after the school is attacked. Jack kills the leader of the rebels Youssou Dubaku (Zolile Nokwe) at the school. His brother, Iké (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) hears of his death and plots revenge.

I am going to deal with the obvious right away, yes this is 24 but is only 2-hours long, so perhaps it should technically be called 2, but let’s not get bogged down with semantics, or maths, or whatever…

 

24: Redemption is a 2 hour made-for-TV movie that is done in the same formula as the series, it takes two hours and all of the events take place in real time. In this case Redemption serves as the main back story for Day 7 and whilst people would get the gist of what is happening in Sangala during that season it does help as a lot of Jack’s actions in this film influence those in season 7.

 

Redemption was shot on location in Africa and the majority of the children in the film were local children who had never acted before, however, they do a fine job as the victims caught in the middle.

 

What I like about this special is that we do get to see Jack being a bit more human, yes, he kills anyone that threatens his friend, himself or the children, so the badass Jack I am a big fan of is still present. However, he is trying to get a group of children out of the warzone and to safety. Ultimately, he is given the choice of surrendering himself to the US Authorities to face the charges against him, if he does the children will be given asylum in the Embassy but if he doesn’t then all of them can remain outside the gates…guess what he does??

 

That is rhetorical of course

 

What I find a little irritating about 24 and I noticed it more and more as the Days passed, whenever we meet a new character, especially some old friend from Jack’s past, then they might as well have a bulls-eye painted on their face, because you know, you know, that there is no way in hell they are going to make it to the end of the Day if they are lucky or the Hour if they aren’t.

 

Several characters from previous seasons of 24 reprise their roles during the scenes in Washington and Jon Voigt makes an appearance although his involvement with the president and the conspiracy are not revealed. Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) does not put in an appearance (the only time she has not featured since her introduction to the series at the beginning of Season 3) but thankfully she is present in Day 7.

 

Redemption bridges the gap between Day 6 and Day 7; it serves to introduce many of the new characters who will go on to be regular allies or enemies during the events of Season 7. As a prequel Redemption does what it is supposed to, it builds the excitement for the events of Day 7, and brings Jack back to the United States.

 

As usual with the rest of the 24 Days, Redemption is a great little prequel to the events of Day 7 and so my Thumb is obviously Up.

 

 

6.5/10 - Whilst this is not as good as the series, it nevertheless is a valuable addition to the storyline, it is just a little irritating that one of Jack’s oldest friends is introduced and you just know he won’t last much longer.

 

TAC Reviews...24: Day 7 - First Aired in 2009

 

Since his departure from Sangala things for former CTU-agent Jack Bauer have been getting steadily worse, and he has been put on trial by the same country that he has sacrificed everything for. He is taken from the hearing by the FBI after a familiar face thought to be long dead inexplicably returns.

 

24: Day 7

 

Having been forced to return to the United States to save the children he rescued in 24: Redemption, Jack is now being tried as a criminal by the very government that has taken his wife, left him estranged from his daughter, and despite the fact that he has stopped nuclear weapons from destroying entire cities, he is the one that must now answer for his past actions.

 

So, we see, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland returning to the role that revived his career) is forced to justify himself to a Senate committee under the direction of Senator Blaine Mayer (Kurtwood Smith). In recent months Mayer has seen to it that all of CTU (the Counter Terrorist Unit) has been disbanded and the majority of its former employees have moved on with their lives now working for other agencies.

 

President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is struggling to convince her husband Henry Taylor (Colm Feore), the First Gentleman, that their son killed himself. In 24: Redemption, Roger Taylor (Eric Lively) was told of a conspiracy by his friend (the friend was then murdered) and Henry is convinced that his son did not take his own life. Henry disobeys her wishes as he fanatically searches each and every lead hoping to uncover the truth but his investigation only lands him in far deeper trouble.

 

The FBI under Larry Moss (Jeffrey Nordling) need Jack’s help to track a suspect that has a device capable of shutting down power and water supplies. It could even be used to change the flight paths of aircraft forcing them to crash into the ground or one another. Jack works with FBI Agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) who is both shocked and outraged by his methods but starts to use those methods herself to get the job done.

 

So let me get this straight I hear you cry…this is a season of 24 in which CTU, CTU, the Counter Terrorist Unit, a division of the government that had been specifically created to fight, or Counter if you will, terrorists. This was a back drop that was as essential to the series as the USS Enterprise from Star Trek The Next Generation or the Stargate in…well…Stargate genius. Can the series survive loosing the essential backing of CTU and still manage to keep America safe from another group of radical terrorists???

 

In the previous seasons the only thing that stood between the destruction of Los Angeles due to a bomb or virus was the Counter Terrorist Unit. In Day 7 the action has moved from LA to Washington DC, and it has fallen to the FBI to find out and stop what is happening.

 

For the President the situation in Sangala (seen in Redemption) has deteriorated and she is preparing a military response. Colonel Ike Dubaku (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), a man who has a grudge against Jack for killing his brother during the attack on Carl’s school, and is one of the masterminds behind the day’s events.

 

The audience will be as shocked as Jack by the return of a ghost from the past whose allegiances change from good to bad, from bad to good, so many times that it becomes impossible to determine which side they are on.

 

Jack’s most trusted friend Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) makes an appearance as the FBI call her in to help decipher important information. Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) reappears, and recognises that the attacks are just the first step in something much grander, and makes a heartbreaking decision during the day.

 

Several other members of the shows former cast members make cameo appearances but in this series the show really steps away from its previous setup. Senator Blaine has devoted himself to disbanding CTU and bringing Jack Bauer to justice but even he is able to recognise that there is something bigger happening. Jon Voigt also plays a key role in the conspiracy and his evolvement is slowly realised during the day.

 

Echoing Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald), the President’s daughter Olivia (Sprague Grayden) is someone who has her own agenda and is ruthlessly ambitious. But, she is also one of those people who makes the mistake of believing that she is capable of controlling any situation. Initially the audience may sympathise, and even like her, but later she becomes increasingly unpleasant and determined to get what she wants regardless of who gets in her way.

 

Still a great show, at the time Dexter had taken over as my favourite show on TV and even after Six seasons and a two-hour made-for-TV move, 24 is still delivering the goods so it gets a clear Thumbs Up.

 

 

8/10 - Taking CTU out of the equation was inspired and gave the audience a chance to see that the other agencies just cannot get the job done.

 

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