(Photo credits: FOX)
Spring 2014 is shaping up to be one of the best seasons of television for me for a long time. Game of Thrones is back and next month an old favourite returns, one who has been sorely missed since he disappeared in to the world in 2010 after nine years. That’s right folks Jack Bauer is back and ready to tackle more dangerous terrorists in a new series of 24. Okay so it’s only half as long but who really cares?! The concept of 24 did, I admit, revolve around a full day unfolding over 24 episodes, however by the end the only fixed component that mattered to me was its central character. Jack Bauer IS 24 and Kiefer Sutherland always played him superbly, elevating him in to one of modern television’s most memorable characters. Not to mention that over the course of eight seasons we saw Jack deal with some of the most shocking moments in television history as he lived through love, loss, greater loss, betrayal, torture and even death!
24 also brought so may new ideas to television – the split screen to show different plot threads, the real-time aspect, action sequences that rival Hollywood blockbusters and the very real awareness that anything could happen next. It was surely inevitable that he’d return and after hopes of a feature film never came to fruition we now have something even better – a brand new series!
To refresh the show and the world of Jack Bauer, Live Another Day (could it be any clearer that this is America’s answer to James Bond?!) is set in London, during a Presidential visit to the UK. Very little is known as yet about the plot, but it is clear from the recently released trailer (see below) that the President’s life is at risk (now former Secretary Heller) and only Jack can stop it. We know Chloe is back and Audrey Raines, Heller’s daughter and Jack’s former flame makes an appearance, but not much else is common knowledge. Personally I think that’s fantastic. Part of the joy of 24 was its ability to shock and surprise its audience, so that you knew anything could happen next and I for one am counting down the days until the clock starts ticking on 24 again.
In the meantime I’ve been remembering my favourite moments of the series, some of which remain some of the best moments of television I’ve seen. So seeing as I love a list (I’m not sure why!), here are my top 10 moments of 24. Turn away now if you have yet to join the 24 addiction – this way lies spoilers!
1. The tragic and shocking fate of Ryan Chappelle (season 3)
I know I wasn’t alone in being shocked when in season 3 Jack was forced to execute his boss Ryan Chappelle in order to meet terrorist demands. This shocking scene was beautifully acted by them both and is probably the most powerful moment of the whole series for me. Right up until the last second I was certain there would be a reprieve. Ryan hadn’t been the nicest guy but he didn’t deserve this tragic end.
2. Chloe with a gun! (season 4)
For years Chloe O’Brian remained at CTU, beginning as a slightly uptight, by-the-book computer genius. Over time she became Jack’s closest ally and one of the first moments when she became more than a CTU staffer was when, with her life under threat, Chloe armed herself with a huge gun to take out the bad guys! Surely everyone cheered?! From her grungy look for the new season she has certainly come a long way and we all love her!
3. The mass exodus of beloved characters (season 5)
The opening of Day 5 was a painful event for loyal fans of the show, as not one, but two beloved characters were attacked. President Palmer and Michelle were dead in seconds before we’d even registered the season had even begun. A daring move indeed!
4. The traitor of Day 1 is revealed! (season 1)
The reveal that Nina Myers, Jack’s ally at CTU and former lover was actually evil was a brilliant plot point, that highlighted that 24 was not going to be predictable and that no one could be trusted! Plus it meant every year had you wondering if there was yet another mole to be uncovered!
5. Jack saves Senator Heller (season 5)
Yes I know Jack Bauer kills many people in 24 and nothing seems impossible these days, but the moment he storms the terrorist compound and takes out the entire contingent of men in order to save his boss and his lover was pretty damn exciting!
6. Terrorists storm The White House (season 7)
This is now regular fodder for Hollywood movies recently (White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen to name just two) but 24 was there long before them, when terrorists breached the most secure building in the world and issued threats to President Taylor as she looked on from the panic room in which Jack was protecting her.
7. Jack kills Curtis (season 6)
Still suffering from the trauma caused by his recent capture and torture at the hands of the Chinese, Jack doesn’t want to be drawn in to the horror of CTU again. Sadly with a bomb about to explode it’s back to business and when Curtis threatens to kill Assad, a former terrorist, who they need to help stop the latest attack despite his previous crimes, poor Jack has to shoot his friend Curtis. Yet another one to add to his conscience!
8. The President is EVIL! (season 5)
It may sound like a ridiculous concept, but the shocking revelation that President Logan was in fact evil and was plotting the death of the Russian President, not to mention his involvement in the deaths of President Palmer and Michelle and framing Jack, was superb television.
9. The death of Teri Bauer (season 1)
I almost didn’t include this moment as looking back it seemed inevitable. However at the time 24 was a new show, we’d seen the hero save the day and his family and unmask the traitor. It was therefore a brave, exciting decision of the show’s creators to end season 1 with the murder of Teri and Jack cradling her body in his arms. This was made all the more tragic (and evil on Nina’s part) due to the fact Teri was pregnant at the time (Game of Thrones wasn’t the first major drama to kill a pregnant character folks)!
10. Fighter jets in downtown LA! (season 3)
Season 3 is possibly my favourite season of 24 (closely followed by season 5) and it was moments like this one that proved 24 was always going to be a roller coaster ride. Determined to escape, Saunders flees to his helicopter. It looks as if he’s going to get away but Bauer has his own backup in the form of two fighter jets. In a brilliant moment to rival any action movie, they fly through LA and destroy Saunders’ only form of escape.
So there you have it. I could have chosen so many more moments (Edgar’s death and the “I’m gonna need a hacksaw” moment both came close), but these are the scenes that first come to mind when I think of 24. After hoping to see some Live Another Day filming, so far I’ve only managed to see a couple of brief scenes on the streets of London (the best being Chloe dropping Jack off outside Waterloo station and him dashing in to the station). Fingers crossed I manage to see more before filming is completed, but welcome back Jack – I’ve missed you!
Here are the links for the trailers for Live Another Day!
24 Live Another Day begins on 6 May 2014 in the UK (simulcast at the same time as America. It will then air every Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Sky 1).