Monday, May 24, 2010

goodbye Jack

It started on November 6, 2001. Just shy of two months past the horrible events of September 11, 2001, a new show premiered, and it had the unfortunate luck of having the first 15 minutes of the first episode involve the hijacking of a plane which was then blown up. There was enough concern that there was a warning and disclaimer before the episode aired. Not a very good omen for a new show, one would think.

That's how "24" started. And I've been screaming at the TV on a regular basis through 8 seasons of the show, as twists and turns became commonplace, and I was riveted to the TV throughout. It was frustrating to get a couple new episodes at a time and then nothing, but because of the format of the show, 24 episodes depicting one consecutive hour at a time, in real time, more or less, they couldn't really show reruns. So it worked out really well when they decided to start the show late into the season, in January, and then just run the show continuously to the end. "24" was the first to do it, and that programming decision was then adopted by other shows, like "Lost" and "Heroes". I liked getting it all continuously, but it was also weird to only have "24" from January to May, and at the end of the season in May, it was a bit startling to realize that there would be no more new shows until the following January, a long 8 months away.

The show ran over the course of 9 years but only had 8 seasons because a strike by the Writers Guild of America resulted in the postponement of season 7 for a year.

And tonight, the final two hours of season 8, the final two hours of the show, aired. And it was an amazing ending. Everything that needed to happen, did happen, and not all of it good. The writing was incredible, and the performances even more amazing. Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor and Necar Zadegan as Dalia Hassan were really incredible in the last two hours, though they've been good throughout the season. Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O'Brian didn't join the show until the third season, but she's been a lifeline for Jack, and we've rooted for her. And then, of course, there's Kiefer Sutherland. There would be no Jack Bauer without him, and without Jack Bauer, there would be no "24".

But, those aren't the only people who've been memorable in "24". Anil Kapoor was fantastic as President Omar Hassan in the early parts of this season. Gregory Itzin was terrific in reprising the role of President Charles Logan. But there were many that came in seasons before: Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida and Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler; Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer and James Morrison as Bill Buchanan; Sarah Clarke as Nina Myers; Paul Schulze as Ryan Chappelle; Jean Smart as Martha Logan and Glenn Morshower as Aaron Pierce; Shohreh Aghdashloo as Dina Araz; Kim Raver as Audrey Raines; and who could forget Louis Lombardi as Edgar Stiles.

I've cried during episodes of prior seasons, and I cried a couple of times during the last two hours, and the show ended where it needed to be. There's no happy ending for Jack. That's not how it works for him. He's been stabbed, he's been shot, he was THISCLOSE to being killed, and now, he's on the run from 2 countries coming after him, with no resources. Yeah, those are generally the cards that are dealt to him.

Hit the road, Jack. Don't you come back no more.

Cast photo from the first season of "24".

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer from the final episode of "24".

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