24 - Season 5: The first 2 hours reviewed
Review by Jack Foley
JACK Bauer exploded back into our lives in spectacular fashion as the fifth season of real-time series, 24, got underway on Sky One (on February 12, 2006).
Having gone into hiding at the end of season four – and presumed dead by all but four close colleagues – season five unfolded with the attempt to flush him out. But for what reason?
The bait was breathtaking – the murder of at least two prominent 24 cast members, one of them a former president and the other a former colleague. While the lives of a further two CTU agents were quickly compromised.
In the space of 10 startling opening minutes, the blue touch paper had been lit for another rollercoaster ride which succeeded in delivering the goods.
There are those who have written off 24 as being stuck in the same formula, yet season five proved there is plenty of life in the old dog yet. It remains one of the most exciting, compelling and downright nerve-shredding television programmes on the box.
The first two episodes may have lasted two hours, but they felt as compact as 10 minutes, throwing up plenty of questions, introducing new characters and tossing in plenty of action sequences.
As Jack Bauer, Kiefer Sutherland remains as convincing as ever in the lead role – ruthlessly determined, an efficient killing machine, yet a man still clearly haunted by the effects of past misfortune.
The loss of close friends and his subsequent framing for their murder is sure to place yet more strain upon him – yet somehow we suspect that he’ll be able to turn the tables.
Of the returning cast members who survived that opening sequence, 24 regulars can look forward to Mary Lynn Rajskub’s grumpy CTU technician, Chloe O’Brian, being given more to do (especially in the field), as well as recurring roles for Roger R Cross (Curtis Manning), Kim Raver (Audrey Raines), Louis Lombardi (Edgar Stiles), James Morrison (Bill Buchanan) and Gregory Itzin (as President Charles Logan).
New characters include a motley bunch of Russian terrorists, President Logan’s mentally unstable wife ((Jean Smart) and the usual smattering of shady government aides.
The terrorist threat remains unclear at this stage except to say that it seems to involve a Russian contigent. Indeed, the closing moments of the opening double bill found Jack arriving at an LA airport almost simultaneously with a group of terrorists, who proceeded to take everyone hostage.
And while obvious comparisons with Die Hard 2 and John McLane are certain to be made, there’s no denying that the excitement level is already at fever pitch and that 24 has us enthralled once again.
Season five of 24 already looks to be a corker – so expect Sunday nights to provide the most tense, sweaty and downright essential viewing of the next few months.
- Pre-order 24 Season 5 DVD box set
- 24 - Season 5 reviewed (with spoilers)
- Sutherland signs on for another three seasons of 24
- Read our review of the first two hours of Season 5
- 24: The Game - Be Jack Bauer for one day
- Season 5 preview
- Read our review of the explosive Season 4
- Catch up with Season 4 on DVD
- Catch up with all four seasons on DVD