With the new 24 coming up in May of 2014, we have been rewatching the original series. We own several of the DVD sets and have been picking up the rest on Netflix instant. Honestly, for me, the series still holds up. We are into Season 6, and I have been enjoying all of it as much as when it first aired.
For those who may not know, the show follows Agent Jack Bauer, who works for the Los Angeles office of the Counter Terrorist Unit, which investigates and attempts to thwart those threats. The threats have ranged from nuclear to biological to threats against the President. There are always complications and problems, and Jack is usually forced to go off the books to resolve the threats. He gets fired, censured, marked for arrest, had his death faked, been in a Chinese prison, and more. Nothing manages to stop Jack when he gets his teeth in a problem. He’s willing to do anything to bring the bad guys down.
The show is filmed in real time, and follows Agent Bauer and his associates through one day of a different threat every season. It’s a different sort of television, and works effectively here.
Is it perfect? No. Does it push believability sometimes? Sure. Is Jack given (or takes) liberties no one realistically would? Yep. Is it good entertainment? You bet. The writers are adept at the cliffhanger, both in the small, in episode breaks, the end of each show, and more than once, at the end of a season. Suspense flows and builds relentlessly. Plots are convoluted and twisty, with red herrings and misdirections to add to the tension.
Characters are well drawn, even if some are a bit stereotypical, particularly the bad guys. One of my favorites is Chloe O’Brian, the tech wizard at CTU. She is more than smart, and very good at what she does, but she is pure geek, with less than stellar social skills. She is also a staunch ally of Jack, and will run under the radar operations on his behalf. Other characters are well drawn and acted.
Overall, the series is good, and worth watching, or re-watching. It is not perfect, but with the news lately, one can’t help but wish there was a Jack Bauer out there, with nothing but our safety on his mind.