24 - Season 1

Release Date: 15 September 2008 | Certificate: Suitable for 15 years and over
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Such a simple idea--yet so fiendishly complex in the execution. 24, as surely everyone knows by now, is a thriller that takes place over 24 hours, midnight to midnight, in 24 one-hour episodes (well, 45-minute episodes if you extract the ad breaks). Everything to take place in real time--on-screen and off-screen time the same--which means no flash-backs, no flash-forwards, no nice handy time-dissolves. Every strand of the plot has to be dovetailed and interlocked to make sure that things happen just when they should, in the right amount of time. Not that easy.

Creator Robert Cochran and his team of writers and directors have done a pretty impressive job in putting the jigsaw together and keeping the tension ratcheted up high, as Federal Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) hares around LA trying to stall an assassination attempt on a black Presidential candidate and rescue his wife and daughter from the clutches of the Balkan baddies. Twists, turns, revelations and cliffhangers are tossed at us with satisfying regularity. It’s not perfect: we get some hokey plot devices (instant amnesia, anybody?) and the final twist, once you start thinking back, makes no sense whatsoever. There are altogether too many huggy family moments ("I love you, Dad." "I love you, son"); and as for überbaddie Dennis Hopper’s "Serbian" accent…

Even so, this is undeniably mould-breaking TV. Sutherland, rescuing his career from the doldrums in one heroic leap, fully deserves his Golden Globe. Sets and locations are artfully deployed--we gain a real sense of LA’s splayed-out geography--and Sean Callery’s score is a powerful, brooding presence. Like Murder One and The Sopranos, 24 is one of those series future TV thrillers will have to measure themselves against.

Release Date: 15 September 2008
Certificate: 15 - Suitable for Persons Aged 15 or Over
Catalogue No: 2402801069