Guest post written by Imogen Reed.
What Makes 24 So Appealing?
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?
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
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?