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TV Series Review

Jack Bauer never seems to have a boring day. Whenever we see the fellow, he's always busy saving the world from terrorists, assassins, nerve gas, nuclear weapons, electronic sabotage and static cling—from dawn to dusk to dawn again. The bad guys change from day to day (season to season), but the action remains the same: Jack slogging his way from gunfight to gunfight, car chase to car chase, without so much as a Twinkie to keep him going. Bathroom breaks? Jack says they're for wimps.

"He's never won," Kiefer Sutherland, who plays Jack, told tv.ign.com. "Not one year has he ever walked out with his goal being accomplished, but he's a guy who's gonna give everything he can and try as hard as he can." And he does it in the face of gut-wrenching loss, staggering treachery and a mountain of red tape. He's a Wild West gunfighter in a 21st-century ethos, battling not just the black hats, but bureaucracy, politics and postmodern sensitivities, too. Put that in your TV juicer and squeeze.

All of this goes a long way toward explaining the enduring appeal of America's most tortured tormentor, a guy who sacrifices everything to save the day—along with his own humanity.

The show has its merits. It's an undeniable thrill-ride with unexpected nuance. Jack is, in some ways, a heroic champion. Some Christians have even labeled the Counter Terrorism Unit operative a Christ-like figure.

But he's also killed his supervisor, shot an innocent woman in the leg and bit out a terrorist's jugular. Not exactly Christ-like material. He's forced medical personnel to revive a nearly dead man so he could whisper unspeakable threats in his ear. Then, when the man falls senseless again, Jack cuts open his chest (blood spurting and smearing) to retrieve a buried data chip.

24 has other problems, too. Expletives fly right alongside the bullets. And never mind its one-day-equals-one-season structure, the series fills in gaps with an office soap opera—complete with casual kisses and forbidden affairs.

But 24's most cutting sin is its headlong embrace of murder, torture and gore to advance its plot points. And it's not just the guilty who pay.

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24: 5102010
24: 2152010



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Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer; Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O'Brian; Annie Wersching as Renee Walker; Katee Sackhoff as Dana Walsh; Freddie Prinze Jr. as Cole Ortiz; Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor






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