AndyO review * * * *
Warning: spoilers below
After I finish a season of "24," I always wonder how it can get any better. But it always does. Watching "24" on DVD is a bit like eating Lays potato chips--only instead of not being able to eat just one chip, you can't watch just one episode. I usually end up watching two or three -- sometimes four -- in one sitting. (With a family, I have to wait until everyone goes to bed.)
As other reviewers have said, a bad day for Jack Bauer, the hero of "24," is a great day for the audience. In the very first episode former President David Palmer, one of the characters that goes back to the beginning of the "24" series, is assassinated. Like any show worth its salt, "24" is willing to kill off important characters ("Lost" is another one)/ But "24" doesn't stop there: Three other major characters from past seasons are attacked, with one of them killed, one of them injured.
Jack Bauer comes out of hiding to find out who killed Palmer (Jack had to fake his own death last season so the Chinese couldn't get him). And then he finds out he's being framed for Palmer's death -- even though he was "dead." From there, where the plot goes is anyone's guess, and I won't spoil any more.
The real secret behind "24" is the depth of its characters. Characters who seem simple often turn out to be complex. Take President Logan: in Season Four he was a whiny, unfit president who needed David Palmer to come in and hold his hand. By the end of Season Four, we see how Logan has duped most of the people around him by playing the fool.
Some of my other favorite returning characters include:
- Chloe O'Brian, the CTU super hacker who supports Jack wherever he his;
- Edger Stiles, an Everyman programmer who's not as good as Chloe, but wants to be (and probably has a crush on her);
- Audrey Raines, Jack's ex-girlfriend and the daughter to the Secretary of Defense.
The other cool thing about "24" is how they bring in actors that you don't expect to see. In Season Five, they brought in:
- Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as Bill Buchanan's inexperienced boss
- Peter Weller (RoboCop) as Jack's ex-CTU mentor who has gone bad
- Jean Smart (Garden State, I Heart Huckabees) as President Logan's wife, Martha
- Jilian Sands (A Room with a View, Leaving las Vegas) as Vladimir Bierko.
My hat is off to the actors, writers, directors, and everyone else responsible for "24." This is one of the few shows that is worth wasting about 18 hours of my life each season. There are only two other recent network shows to which I've had this kind of connection: "The X-Files" and "Lost."
Lucky for me, Season Six starts tonight...