Feature – What Makes ’24’ So Appealing?

Guest post written by Imogen Reed.

What Makes 24 So Appealing?

Jack Bauer 24 Season 1 Promo Pic
Jack Bauer 24 Season 1

While fans eagerly await the “24” movie, let’s enjoy a recap of just why “24” is such an appealing show:

Fox Networks “24” is unique in the sense that each season is literally 24 hours in Jack Bauer’s life. It is hard to believe this fantastic, unique show aired over a decade ago back in 2001, after the initial success of the $4 million pilot which led to Fox immediately buying it. Kiefer Sutherland’s portrayal of Jack Bauer also led to a Golden Globe win which enhanced Fox’s faith in the series.

There is never a dull moment. The viewer is always kept in suspense following each exciting premise, whether it is preventing bombs from exploding, protecting the U.S President or generally seeing a character they care about being rescued.

The ‘Real Time’ Aspect

The 24 hour digital clock, which appears at the start and end of each episode (hour) even allows for commercial breaks by featuring a lapse. This is an intelligent move and the more mundane activities, such as travelling from one place to the other, are unseen by the viewer and left to the imagination.

The actual 24 hour concept began as an idea from executive producer Joel Surnow who wanted each episode to last an hour, equating to 24 episodes in a season.

Apart from the Real Time element, a major part of the show’s appeal is the character Jack Bauer. As a member of the L.A Counter Terrorist Unit (the CTU) his unorthodox and slightly rebellious style makes for compelling viewing.

Another clever touch is use of multiple split screen camera shots which again enhances the Real Time element. Although viewers naturally warm to Jack, after learning about his background, most of the camera shot is viewed from his perspective.

Tony Almeida – Good or Bad?

Carlos Bernard
Actor Carlos Bernard

Although Jack Bauer is the main character, there are other characters that are integral to the plot of each series. One such character is Anthony Almeida, known as Tony (played by Carlos Bernard). Apart from his good looks, part of his appeal is that it is hard for the viewer to tell if he really is one of the good guys. Even from Season 1 it was apparent there was going to be a rivalry between Jack and Tony when it was revealed that Tony had a past with Nina Myers who was also romantically involved with Jack.

After Tony was arrested for treason he hit an all time low. He became bitter and resentful about losing the career he had built everything round and rather than asking friends financial favours or considering the cheapest loans around to get him out of mess, he turned to alcohol, causing his wife Michelle Dessler (played by Reiko Aylesworth) to leave him. Ironically, a strange twist of events led to Tony being reinstated by the CTU on a provisional basis, with Jack having said Tony was “the only person he could trust”.

It is a clever point of writing that as the viewers grow to trust Jack and even forgive his unorthodox methods, they grow to dislike and distrust Tony, despite similarities such as both guys having completely revolved their lives around the CTU and having that commitment cost them people they hold most dear.

Chloe O’ Brian

Mary Lynn Rajskub
Mary Lynn Rajskub

Chloe O’ Brian (played by Mary Lynn Rajskub) has appeared in 125 episodes, second only to Jack Bauer. She is the only constant in Jack’s life as she really can be trusted. Although initially appearing down to earth and straight-laced, she often does unconventional things for Jack, proving her genuine commitment and loyalty to him. This is especially highlighted in Season 4 after Jack is persuaded to save her friend from terrorists after initially refusing.

Chloe could be described as a ‘dark-horse’. There is definitely more to her than meets the eye, with implications that her ex-husband (Morris O’Brian) cheated on her when they were married as just one of the many secrets that emerge from her past.

Kiefer Sutherland’s promise about the movie

“24” really is the whole deal with amazing actors, plots, action and a fresh appeal that is ahead of its time. Although “24” fans will no doubt be disappointed about the delay in filming the movie, Sutherland has promised his fans the best film possible and it will no doubt live up to all our expectations.

What do you think makes “24” so appealing?


Comments Closed
24 is more appealing then touch not impressed with touch. Rather see Kiefer back in touch with Jack Bauer. Touch is not impressive 24 is. Luckily we’ll get Jack Back soon I hope can’t wait for the movie to happen story for the movie sounds awesome Can’t wait for the movie to re merge

@Guest To be fair, Touch is a completely separate series with a different story and purpose. It shouldn’t be compared with 24 for the same reason Grey’s Anatomy and Fringe shouldn’t be compared.

One of the reasons I love 24 is the realistic aspect of the protagonists not always coming out on top. Main characters do die, and not always in the most dramatic way possible. Remember Curtis? The producers could’ve made Curtis die while leaping in front of a group of schoolchildren and taking a shotgun blast… but that’s not always how the real world works.

Even if the plots weren’t always the most realistic, I still loved the damn show for that reason.

I realize that 24 was and is I say is cause will see Jack again. Anyway 24 is appealing for reasons you mentioned but not my kinda show. It was cheesy dragy and silly in my opinion not to mention predictable. 24 was the kinda show that wasn’t predictable. alot of tv shows have over done predicable and it gets boring. I realize touch is a different series but even tho the premise of the show is different. these types of shows the entertainment industry continues to do is getting old and that’s why it turns people off.

’24’ matters because not only is it the greatest non-comedy (‘Seinfeld’ and ‘M.A.S.H.’ take the comedy crown) U.S. series ever made – just ahead of the original ‘Hawaii Five-O’ (twelve years on air and not a single bad episode) – it is also the most outrageously and relentlessly entertaining show ever made, full stop! ’24’ matters because it took the tired action series genre, pumped it full of adrenaline, turned it on it’s head, gave it a baseball bat and a twelve-gauge shotgun, and let it tear up the place over eight glorious seasons (plus one excellent television movie), and we still have a (hopefully) movie trilogy to look forward to… and if I may say so, if any secondary characters from the series are to return in the movie(s), then I have suggestions; Mandy, Mandy, and you guessed it, Mandy… hubba hubba, say no more!!!

24 had a lot of cool ways of killing people!!:)

IMO, more than the real time format, or the twists, it’s the Jack Bauer’s character that makes 24 a cult TV show, he’s the best written and most complex action hero: Jack Bauer is both a superhero and an anti hero, both invulnerable and human.
Even if he wins in the end, Jack always ends up his last hour alone and hopeless (except season 2 and 7 but he’s in poor condition).
And the authors insist that Jack was trying to escape this destructive work and return to a family life (S4, 5, 8): at the heartbreaking season 6 ending, he says “I want my life back” But he can’t escape his destiny: saving innocent people and upholding justice.
That why Jack Bauer is a tragic hero, a mythical hero.

Amen to that, Yoda dude, glad to hear someone else mention the last scene of (the unfairly maligned) Season 6, I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again – the single greatest scene in ’24’s entire run, bar none; powerful yet tender, weighty yet emotional, touching yet with a fire and fury, bittersweet yet genuinely sad, tragic yet ultimately hopeful of a better day ahead in an uncertain future for an emotionally and physically exhausted and scarred Jack, it had it all…

Almost totally agreed Gerry mander. Season 6 was unfairly panned by critics and audiences. I also loved the last scene of season 6. But maybe I would rank paul’s death above that. That was just midblowing to watch. Kiefer’s dismayed face and audrey’s stupefied look. The slap… the reaction… the end. So good. Thank you 24.

The last scene of the series is also up there.
What other scenes do you think are the best in 24 history?

The best scenes in ’24’, man, where do you start, in my personal opinion, my faves are;
– Jack’s emotional breakdown in the last episode of Season 1 when he thinks Kim is dead, and goes on the warpath against the Dravens
– Jack cradling Terri in his arms in the aforementioned final episode of Season 1
– Jack finally offs the treacherous Nina Meyers in Season 3
– Chloe killing the terrorist with the M-16 in Season 4
– the assassination of David Palmer in the opening episode of Season 5
– Jack offs David Palmer’s killer in the closing of Season 5’s first episode
– Edgar’s death witnessed by a tearful Chloe in Season 5
– Jack’s cold-blooded murder of an unarmed Christopher Henderson in Season 5
– the aforementioned final scene of Season 6 between Jack and James Heller (and my personal favorite)
– Tony shows his true colors by killing Larry in Season 7
– the emotionally devastating reveal that President Hassan is dead in Season 8
– the death of Renee in Season 8
– Jack single-handedly takes on Logan’s motorcade in a samurai mask in Season 8
– the emotional final scene of Season 8 (Chloe wasn’t the only one in tears)

I’m probably missing some doozies in that list, 24Bauerfan dude, but that’s the highlights off the top of my head…

Just wanted to say that Day 6 is so fucking great. You have anything symbolic/meaningful and critics and audiences reveal their true retard selves.