OK, I understand that “24” is a TV drama, but after spending quite a few hours the past few weeks watching all 193 episodes, I decided to post a movie piece about “24” and Jack Bauer.
Jack Bauer, played by Keifer Sutherland, is the star of “24. He is a field operator in America’s Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU). His character is a modern-day John Wayne. While President Reagan once said that he would sometimes ask himself, “What Would John Wayne Do?” I am now tempted to say, “What would Jack Bauer do?” Bauer seems to act with the same sort of moral clarity possessed by the Duke even in situations that aren’t as black & white as those in the Duke’s movies. (Incidentally, soon after coining the WWJBD expression, I learned that t-shirts with that expression have been sold on the internet for years.)
Two common recurring issues in “24” are whether the end justifies the means and whether individuals can be sacrificed for the common/greater good. In the end of each of the show’s dramatic situations, if you did what Bauer suggested, you were happy. If you didn’t do what he suggested, you invariably regretted it. And of course, if you ordered him to do the wrong thing, he almost always ignored your orders and did the right thing.
“24” was televised on Fox for eight seasons (2001-2010), with a two-hour movie between seasons #6 and #7. The movie, titled “Redemption” was prompted by a writers’ strike that resulted in no regular episodes in 2008.
“24” was a prodigious winner of Emmys – 68 nominations and 20 wins. The critics thought Season Five was the best, but I couldn’t stop watching Seasons Seven and Eight until they were over. And the season finales, of which the first was generally considered to be the best, invariably prompted me to immediately start the next season. I can’t imagine being forced to wait seven months for the next season, as the TV viewers had to do.
But the same thing can be said about each episode. I would be watching late at night and planning to go to bed at the end of the episode, but the ending would be so riveting that I had to start the next episode immediately. Several nights I watched past 2 a.m., and one night I went until 6 a.m.
Jack Bauer appeared in all 193 episodes, and the next leading contributors were data analyst Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), who appeared in 125 episodes, field operator Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) in 115, President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) in 80, and daughter Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) in 79. Other memorable characters included Bauer’s wife Teri (Leslie Hope) in 24 episodes and his six girlfriends – Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) in 36, Kate Warner (Sarah Winter) in 25, Claudia Hernandez (Vanessa Ferlito) in 11, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) in 52, Marilyn Bauer (Rena Sofer) in 12, and Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) in 37 – plus Almeida’s girlfriend Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) in 62, CTU director Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) in 64, and Presidents Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones is a Cathy Phillips look-a-like) in 43 and Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin is a Nixon look-a-like) in 44.
There has been plenty planning for a new movie version of “24,” but just a couple weeks ago, things were put on hold because of budgetary issues and Sutherland’s scheduling problems. My thoughts – Git-R-Done.