Hard to believe, but after all these years, 24
is as vital and compulsive as it always was. For this fourth series, the rules are still the same: all the action takes place in real time, and the series again follows a single day in the life of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).
Fortunately, Jacks knack of attracting trouble hasnt deserted him either, and quickly, its business as usual. Starting the series with a fresh romance, a different job and one heck of an explosion, it doesnt take long before Jack is back in action, and hes soon joined by a mixture of new and familiar faces.
To talk about the plot would be unfair, as 24 is consistently a dish best served cold. Suffice to say that theres a heady mix of plotlines, twists and downright brilliant cliffhangers. Perhaps the cocktail isnt as fresh as it once was, and there are moments where you cant help but feel that plausibility is being stretched a little too far. But accepting that is part and parcel of the 24 experience, and arguably part of the fun.
Thats because even as it approaches its final stages, 24: Series 4 maintains a tremendous momentum and level of intrigue, and by the time the clock ticks for the last time at the end of the 24th episode, odds are youll be thirsting for more. Bluntly, in spite of its flaws, 24 remains one of the most essential shows currently on television--and this series offers ample evidence why.--Simon Brew