Critics Agree: It's Time for Fox's 24 to End

Why eight seasons is enough

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On Monday, Fox's nerve-racking prime-time drama 24 draws to a final close. In the last few days, the show's head writer joined critics in eulogizing the show and declaring that "its time had come." The show has long divided critics who've praised its innovative real-time narration but skewered its seeming endorsement of torture. Nevertheless, those who have had the most invested in the show--its fans and creators--say now is the best time to say goodbye to Jack Bauer:

  • The Jack Bauer Storyline Needed to End, says Howard Gordon, 24's head writer and executive producer: "I don't think Jack is ever going to recover from what's gone on. It just keeps adding to the weight and complexity and darkness of his character. The character has never gone happily ever after; that's just not in his wheelhouse. The show is ultimately a tragedy, and we have to play that and honour that... I think the appetite would have been there to keep going, if there was another story to tell. But Jack Bauer's story has a beginning, a middle and an end. And I think we've just come to the end."
  • The Final Season Has Been Terrible, writes Robert Blanco at USA Today. Let's be done with it and keep in mind the better attributes of the show, he argues: "We can't let one bad day ruin an entire series. Granted, it's hard to maintain perspective when we're clenched in the last-gasp grip of one of the worst 24 seasons ever. But sad as this may seem, it's not unusual for a great TV series to leave us wanting less... Think of the audacity of breaking -- and stretching -- a Bondian adventure into 24 time-driven, hour-long installments. Is it any wonder the show relied on red herrings and multiple conspiracies, shifting every six hours or so? It has always been senseless to complain about the inevitable starts and stops in the story, the way villains get away just before being caught or die just before revealing crucial information. That's part of the price of admission for what has been, overall, a terrific ride."
  • It Has Already Made Its Mark, writes Gary Levin at USA Today: "It proved that a densely serialized thriller -- demanding viewers tune in each week to follow labyrinthine plots -- could work in prime time and was among the first network series to reap huge rewards in DVD sales. That paved the way for Lost, Heroes, Prison Break and like-minded series to reward loyal fans' obsessions in later years. And, in an odd confluence of drama and policy, it helped frame the public debate on the use of torture in interrogations."

*Bonus AOL's TV Squad nabs a clip of Jack Bauer unhinged. In the latest season, he's been increasingly mercurial:

Jack goes in pursuit of former President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) as part of his continuing quest to avenge the murder of Renee Walker. President Logan quickly learns that you really don't want to mess around with an enraged Jack Bauer. The special agent wears a frightening black mask and basically just completely terrifies the bad guys.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.