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Volume 71, Issue 80, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Life & Arts

Gutsy '24' worth every second

The TV Guide

Seth Mintz

A former president has just been assassinated. The current president's top aide is helping terrorists. And did I mention that the terrorists have powerful nerve gas and are set to unleash it on Americans? This is not a good start to this day, and it's only just begun. 24, which airs at 8 p.m. Mondays on Fox, is back for Day 5, which is bigger and scarier than ever.

24 is filmed in real-time. So, each season is one day, shown one hour at a time. 24 follows Los Angeles' Counter Terrorism Unit as it tries to stop terrorists from destroying the United States.

When last seen, CTU agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) was going into hiding after faking his death to escape the Chinese. Eighteen months have passed since Bauer vanished. 

There are only four people who know Jack is alive: former President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), agent Tony Almeda (Carlos Bernard), Tony's wife and former CTU director Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth), and CTU computer nerd Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub).

When President Logan (Gregory Itzin) is about to sign an arms treaty with the Russians, the former president is shot and Tony and Michelle are taken out by a car bomb. 

After being chased by killers, Chloe calls Jack and brings him back to help. The second he resurfaces, Jack is accused of assassinating President Palmer and is forced to not only save the day but clear his name.

As was the case with previous seasons, this season of 24 is full of surprises, twists and more excitement and drama.

Terrorists take Ontario Airport and its patrons hostage and threaten to kill everyone if the arms treaty is signed. President Logan's chief advisor, Walt Cummings (John Allen Nelson), is secretly helping the terrorists. Jack is almost killed by an assassin while trying to reconnect with his former love Audrey (Kim Raver) in front of his current love Diane (Connie Britton). All the while, CTU discovers that the terrorists are in possession of a powerful nerve gas, which they fear will be used on Americans.

There is also a new sense to this season of 24. New cast members have rejuvenated the show and their presence, along with excellent writing, has made the stories stronger. Besides Diane, the new additions include President Logan's mentally disturbed wife Martha (Jean Smart), White House liaison Lynn McGill (Sean Astin of Lord of the Rings fame) and Diane's son Derek (Brady Corbet).

24 is one of the best shows on TV. The cast, headlined by the amazing Sutherland, is top-notch. The stories are gripping, and exciting and feel very real in light of the times our society is in.

Though it's only a few episodes into the season, 24 is having its best run to date. 

The pointless plot lines, which mainly involved Jack's daughter are gone. The acting and action are all amped up and the results are fantastic.

If you have somehow missed this amazing show, check it out. This is one of the few shows that really does live up to the hype and is just a first-rate show. A new day has really begun. Though it might be one of the worst days ever, 24 makes for some good TV. 

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