Salem: It’s time: Eight, entertaining seasons of 24 are coming to an end
Show has always been bold and prescient – creators and fans know it’s time to say `hasta la vista, Jack Bauer’
And why not? The man’s entitled. Eight entire seasons of long, drawn-out, incredibly eventful 24-hour “days” . . . the endless chasing and shooting and being chased and shot; the inevitably violent and wrenching loss of virtually everyone he ever cared for; the persecution by skeptical authority figures who simply refuse to accept that he is never, ever wrong . . .
The constant stress of repeatedly and pretty much single-handedly making the world safe for democracy, and never, ever getting any of the credit . . .
It’s a wonder he’s kept it together this long — though if you’ve been paying attention lately (spoiler alert), star/producer Kiefer Sutherland and his 24 co-conspirators are pulling out all the stops in these final few episodes. Jack Bauer is kicking ass and taking names. And shooting people in the head. It hasn’t been pretty.
Much as I and my fellow fans are going to miss 24, I think we can all agree that its time is over. We’ll keep buying the DVDs, and we’ll be the first in line when they get around to making the movie. But as far as weekly TV is concerned,24’s day is done.
It was a bold and unprecedented television experiment that worked better and longer than anyone could have anticipated, including its creators.
It has, in that period of time, proved remarkably prescient. When the show first went into production in early 2001, terrorism was a remote and ephemeral concept, something that happened elsewhere. And the notion of electing a black man to the White House was, at the very least, highly unlikely.
A month and a half prior to 24’s debut, the shocking events of 9/11 gave the show’s focus a sudden, harrowing currency. And then in 2008, a month and a half before the start of 24’s seventh season, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States.
But 24’s most significant legacy may be what it has done here, for Canadian actors. Starting, of course, with Sutherland, 24’s inspirational leader both on and off camera, driving the relentless action in almost every scene as an actor while at the same time working tirelessly on almost every other aspect as a uniquely hands-on executive producer.
Remarkably, for an American show that isn’t shot in Toronto or Vancouver, 24 has always employed an inordinate number of Canadians: Leslie Hope, Elisha Cuthbert, Mia Kirschner, Justin Louis, Alberta Watson, Carlo Rota, Kari Matchett, Geraint Wynn Davies, Michael Shanks, Colm Feore, Carly Pope, Callum Keith Rennie, Chris Diamantopolous . . . and, notably, the very funny Shaun Majumder, who, after only two episodes, managed to incinerate a large portion of Northern California.
Even more remarkably, fellow frostback Sutherland had very little to do with it. In fact, it was two of his producing partners, Joel Surnow and Bob Cochrane, who had both worked here in the late 1990s as writer/producers on La Femme Nikita, and were thus very familiar with and eager to exploit our phenomenal local talent pool.
As for Sutherland, he was just happy to have someone familiar to smuggle hard-to-get, much-missed Canadian candy and cigarettes across the American border. Jack Bauer would be appalled.
Now, of course, it’s too late. Hasta la vista, Jack. Enjoy the time off. See you at the movies.