On November 6, 2001 the world was introduced to a federal agent named Jack Bauer, who was admittedly having the longest day of his life. Jack Bauer than went on to have seven other really long days, and during those eight days, a hero was born and TV was forever changed. 24 was a game changing show, it broke all of the conventional TV rules and quickly separated itself from the pack. On May 24, 2010 24 will play out its final hour, with the fate of one of the most beloved federal agents up in the air, here’s a look at what made 24 so great.
The actor perfectly embodied all that Jack Bauer should be – tough, gruff, emotional, and no-nonsense. He perfectly portrayed a character so flawed and so complicated with ease and depth. No other actor could have played the role in quite the same way.
The idea that a show would play out as 24 episodes – with each episode being 1 hour of one day was unheard of, and an intimidating idea, yet that became the hallmark of 24, the fact that it was in real time. It made the show up its game, because in lesser hands the experiment could have failed. Instead, the writers and producers made the real time aspect of the show work, and kept the fans on edge with a ticking clock.
The one person Jack could always depend on was an awkward computer wizard named Chloe. She always stood by Jack’s side and helped him navigate through his bad days. She also provided comedic relief for the audience, and became loved by the audience for her loyalty to Jack and her take-no-prisoners attitude.
24 had some of the best villains in television history. Nina Meyers, Mandy, Charles Logan, Sherry Palmer, Stephen Saunders, the Salazar Brothers, Mike Novack, Cheng Zhi, Jonas Hodges, Victor Drazen, Ira Gaines, Olivia Taylor, and countless more have proved to be great matches for Jack, and created some of the best showdowns in TV history.
One of the things that 24 did so well was create ideal Presidents, both men and women, and one really evil president. With David Palmer, not only did 24 introduce us to the first black president, but they also showed us a portrayal of a President who was honest and strong. With President Alison Taylor, they showed us the first woman president who stuck to her guns and (for the most part) didn’t let others influence her political career. Then there was Charles Logan, who went from a meek man to a weasel in one season. 24 depicted three very different presidents all of whom represent very different things in the world of 24.
As sick as it sounds to say, one of the most groundbreaking elements of 24 was their realistic, relentless, stomach-turning torture scenes, in which we see Jack use every means necessary to make the bad guys talk, forcing us to ask ourselves whether we agree with it and how far we should be able to go in order to get the information we need.
24 was a show that captured our hearts and introduced it’s audience to a show that was full of action, suspensful and, at times, surprisingly heartfelt. It will be missed…