Monday, May 24, 2010

24 Forever!

24 ended its 8th and presumably final television season tonight, with a film in the making to follow.  The 2-hour finale was a masterpiece of work, a lesson in how to end a great television series.    While comparisons to finales of other series are like apples and oranges, there's no doubt that the 24 finale was the best series finale on the air this season.

Among the highlights -
  • Jack and Chloe have never been better.  Chloe goes all out to help Jack, including shooting him.  When Jack thanks her at the end, that scene was one of the best in the entire series.
  • Jack is irrepressible.   When a jackass CTU agent is about to shoot him - and Jack is already wounded with Chloe's shot (which fortunately went clean through) - Jack almost disables the agent with an attack.  Earlier, when Jason is lording over Jack on the stretcher, Jack bites Jason's ear off.  Nothing can stop Jack except death itself, and no one is better than Jack in evading its clutches.
  • President Talyor, after watching Jack's message to Kim - recorded in case Jack doesn't make it - at last decides to do the right thing.   She won't sign the peace treaty, and will tell the world about the Russians.   Great acting by Cherry Jones (and great acting by Gregory Itzin as Nixonian President Logan).
  • The last we see of Jack is on a big screen looking at us, at CTU, which Chloe orders shut down.  A fine symbolic segue from television to movie screen.
Jack must once again leave the country - with not only the Russians but the Americans looking for him (he wounded a whole bunch of American agents).  Taylor can't protect him, because she'll be resigning in an hour we won't see on television.

But we will see it and/or its aftermath in the movie, and Chloe protecting Jack's family as she promised, and who knows what else as the most exciting, adrenalin-producing show in television history moves to the bigger screens.  The show revolutionized television with its intensity and daring.  24 attracted  the ire of commentators like Keith Olbermann, who mistakenly saw the show as just a jingoistic justification of torture.   24 did have some of that, but it was much more, including many times in which torture didn't work, and Jack was opposed by articulate characters who stopped his most extreme impulses.  This included Renee Walker, last year, and whose murder this year ironically provoked the worst we've seen from Jack.

But 24 was mostly about an indomitable, invincible spirit, struggling full throttle against the forces of terror and depravity that still threaten our country from inside and out.   Born just before September 11, being uncannily in tune with the age that followed, which continues to this day, 24 was the perfect entertainment for people who like their television searing, real, and on the edge.  As Jack Bauer, indelibly played by Kiefer Sutherland, moves into the cinema, we can expect a rollercoaster in theaters, a revolution in storytelling, as gripping as what we've been seeing in our homes for the past decade.

10-min podcast review of 24 finale

See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hour 11 ... Hour 12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hours 15-16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22

And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 

And see also Season 6 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hours 8 and 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hour 11 ... Hour 12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22 ... Hours 23-24

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