The Jack Bauer Power Hour… twice

24a

Doesn’t look like the most lighthearted of phone calls.

24 is one of those (few) shows that I don’t watch off the Sky+ planner.   I watch it as broadcast on Sky One for the simple reason that the adverts serve a dual purpose.  Fristly, an hour of the show lasts an hour rather than the 45 mins it would compress down to if we skipped through the ads at x30.  Secondly, it gives me a moment to take a breath and discuss with The Other Viewer my latest theories on who’s doing what to whom and the like.  They manage to cram so much into each episode, it’s astonishing to consider how other dramas pad things out so that 45 minutes of screen time actually take place over the course of days.  The thing with 24 is that, while it built on the foundation of shows like Murder One, it broke the mould in so many other ways and it itself became the influencer.

Now we arrive at season 5 and begin to wonder whether it can compel the audience in the way it used to.  Is the format good enough to last another “day”?  The answer on the evidence on display on Sunday was an emphatic “Yes”.  Jack was living an anonymous life working on the oil rigs after faking his own death at the end of last series, and was seemingly at the beginning of a relationship with a local woman and her son.  Former President Palmer turns up and, just as the words “Guest starring Dennis Haysbert” dissappear off screen he gets shot through the head.  Cut to Tony and Michelle living a comfortable life and seemingly happy, and then a car bomb kills Michelle.  Although the invincible Tony lives on, this really set the tone well.  And we got two episodes for the price of one!  Back on form… Jack’s back, baby, Jack’s back.

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