24: Bored of Bauer

Once a year for nearly a decade, Jack Bauer has spent a day and a night saving the world. It was fun at first, then it got old. Now, it has to stop. Seasons seven and eight promised to hook us back in with some sexy, fresh additions: the east coast, a female president and Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, but so far so predictable and tired. To stand any chance of being remembered fondly, Jack needs to hang up his holster. Or have someone hang it up for him. Let’s not get to the stage where a stunt punch to Kiefer Sutherland’s midriff risks exploding his colostomy bag, staining his free bus pass.

Alas, killing off Bauer is the only way to make him stop for good. It’s radical – cruel even – but don’t feel too bad. The CTU agent has had a magnificent run and held off more apocalypses than anyone on a government salary should rightly be expected to. He’s also enjoyed the hospitality of the Chinese government, watched a nuclear bomb go off and been addicted to smack. If ever there was a man who deserved his retirement carriage clock, it's Jacky boy.

Once, we tuned in for those 24 watch-and-wince moments, where terrorists would string Jack up like a Parma ham and attach electrodes to his protrusions. But with the pain dial constantly at 11, and barely any artistic tweaking of torture scenes from series to series, we learned to predict which unthinkable horrors he’s in for, and that he’ll somehow survive them all. Equally, we know that he’ll kill and maim those quickly judged to be evil in order to find a criminal mastermind. We know Jack Bauer too well, and he’s no longer nuanced.

We’ve become just as desensitised and bored with the storylines. It’s as if plotting is farmed out to a dementia patient who keeps repeating the formula. Inevitably, we meet the worker baddies first. As the hours clack on, we're introduced to middle management and finally Mr Very Important Boss. Throw in a decoy traitor every other episode and job done.

Jack’s days, meanwhile unfold as such: a national crisis pulls him back into the fray. Then, he starts to wrack up the sort of injuries that would kill any normal person. The first will come just before the death of a key witness. Or the capture of someone whose intel turns out to be about as much use as daisy chain handcuffs. Inevitably Chloe will get caught up in the drama, Jack'll get taken into holding and throughout it all he'll enjoy impossible download speeds on his PDA.

Within its narrow remit, every variable has been exploited and there’s nowhere left to take the 24 format. In series one, it was a brilliantly paced familial crisis (Jack’s wife Teri and daughter Kim were kidnapped) pepped up with a plot to assassinate President Palmer. It jumped from this (relatively) small fry to Bauer trying to save his country from nuclear or biological obliteration, again and again, and again. And again, and again, and again.

The producers seem to disagree with us though: There are plans to take poor old Jack to Europe, not on a well-deserved retirement tour but on a villain-chasing, Eiffel Tower-exploding assignment. Will he ever get the rest he so clearly needs? At least a ninth season looks unlikely.

Comments (14)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Mar 01, 2014
I miss Jack so much, can't wait for season 9. Love 24 the best tv series ever.
Reply
Flag
Mar 24, 2010
Im definately still not bored of him and I like his way of getting to answers and fighting agains terrorists!
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2010
24 has got repetitive and it is about time to bring it to a close, that being said I still love seeing jack stab a guy with and axe and knock another over a banister, or knife a guy in the neck after being stabbed himself, for me it's still entertaining
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2010
(possible minor spoilers if you're not up to date)

I do agree. I've enjoyed every series (although some more than others) but am increasingly struggling to buy in. On their own, or over a longer time-line, each of the plot lines could be explored and feel plausible, but you're constantly reminded that this is all taking place at the same time, which really stretches your acceptance of events. Why doesn't anyone just sit back and say 'omg, can you believe this is all happening at the same time??'

Why, logically, would a probation officer ring at 3am, expecting only to leave a voice message, but when the phone is answered, state that it's imperative you met immediately, irrespective of what else you're doing?

Why would an asylum co-ordinator also meet at the same time? why would he be so eager to log your asylum claim that he's not prepared to wait 5 hours, during which he should be sleeping?

I'm about to watch the latest episode now, and if it doesn't leave me with more questions, similar to the above, I'll be very surprised.
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2010
Going based on the latest episode (with the EMP) I think 24 is as strong as ever, i mean the whole bomb in the car twist i did not see coming.. it was pure brilliant tv.

Id also like to point out that there are over 20 James Bond films.. so one man can never be too old to save the world surely :P
Reply
Flag
Mar 16, 2010
I've stopped watching because it's gone too far for me but if other people like it and still enjoy it then what's the problem. Days of Our Lives anyone?
Reply
Flag
Mar 14, 2010
I agree with farscapefanuk....this series is still fine and could continue. They just need to take a step back and realize what story lines they need to stretch out....and which ones they need to kill quick. *coughDanacough*
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
i agree that this season isn't so good(although it's still better than most of the other shows on TV, especially the Jack-Renee storyline) but 24 deserves the ninth season. in my experience even numbered seasons of 24(4,6 and now 8) were bad, but after each one a good season came up(5, 7 and hopefully 9) i think they should give the show the ninth season and formally announce that it will be the last season(like lost) and let the writers pull everything they have to give the 24 the ending it deserves.

by the way. the idea of Jack Bauer in Teather could be just AWESOME, if done properly of course.
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
I have to agree with this article as well, this season especially is lackluster in quality as the storyline has gotten really stale. The absolute travesty which is the Dana Walsh storyline isn't helping either.
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
The problem is that this season 24 isn't living up to 24 standards. It is still one of the top shows on TV but it is just weak when you compare it to other 24 seasons. The problems I have are...



- Hastings is a bad fit as the head of CTU

- The Dana Walsh storyline is pretty lame

- Arlo (or however you spell his name) always trying to hit on Dana Walsh is just creepy and annoying

- Maybe only 1 or 2 episodes left me wanting to see next weeks episode immediately All that being said I'd still watch 24 over just about every other show out there.
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
@farscapefunk 24 used to be amazing. It was such a new and exciting concept when it first started, but it hasn't really evolved much since then.
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
I find this artcle pretty rich, considering when half the shows on primetime havnt got a scratch on 24. Go write an article about "Mercy" or "Fringe" calling them crap then.
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
Completely agree with this article. It's so repetitive now, but it used to be so good. Give Jack a rest already!
Reply
Flag
Mar 12, 2010
If the ratings justify keeping it on the air, why cancel it? If it bores you, don't watch. Who cares if a character is "remembered fondly"?
1
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook