The Best TV #4 - 24

Jack Bauer is a modern day superhero.

There’s no other explanation for it. The man has died at least twice; he’s faced off against an evil President, saved the world from war more than once, seen dead friends come back to life, as evil versions of themselves! His father and brother were involved in conspiracies that went right to the top of government; the show even uses comic book style panels to show multiple events in the same timelines. Yes Jack Bauer, the indestructible hero of TV’s 24, is back. Even better is that he’s in London this time.

Looking right back to the first episode of Day 1, the 24 name for a season, Kiefer Sutherland’s Bauer is a fresh faced family man, dealing with normal issues like an estranged wife and stroppy teenage daughter. It twisted and turned right from that first ever episode, remember the newspaper photographer that looks like the killer but it’s actually the woman he’s sat next to on the plane, or Jack drugging his boss within half hour of the day starting? There’s much more of that to come over the eight Days (Seasons) the show originally ran for.

The show kicked off or helped (re)build the careers of Elisha Cuthbert, Dennis Haysbert, Freddie Prinze Jr, James Badge Dale and D.B. Woodside, amongst others. It toured the major American capitals, LA for six years before a Day each in Washington DC and New York. Bauer also took in some charity work in Africa in the bridging TV movie 24: Redemption. Then there was the fact that it helped make “must see TV” as a thing, it introduced the twists and turns that happen everyday in US television these days. 24’s greatest strength was that it turned the real (9/11, the Iraq War, terrorism) into the unreal and it’s depiction of violence, mainly interrogation, had many critics. But that’s where the show is a comic book, it’s not real and never pertained to be real, it’s violence is over the top but tapped into the mood of it’s day. What it excelled at was getting us talking about these issues. Interrogation techniques were never discussed as much as when Jack was electrocuting or waterboarding a suspect.

And who can forget David Palmer. The first black President, in the days before a certain Barack Obama had even sniffed at the White House and the 44th Presidency.

Four years after Jack left our screens he’s back in Live Another Day. This time he’s on British soil and as unwanted by everyone as he’s ever been. We know that Chloe, his dependable computer hacker, is back and very Lisbeth Salander (aka The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). If you’re a fan of the series you know what to expect, explosions, death, violence (of the comic book kind), betrayal, a threat to the USA or it’s President, and of course Jack being Jack. And you wouldn’t want it any other way, “damn it”.

Catch up on all eight Days in 24 seconds, major spoilers included.

24: Live Another Day starts on Sky 1 on Wednesday 7th May, or if you’re an early bird it’s on at 1am in parallel with the US premier.

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