Now that it’s over, Season 5 of FOX’s “real time” action epic 24 — it’s most successful ever, with a 12 percent ratings jump in the key 18-to-49 demo, placing it in the top 15 — was clearly about endings.
Key cast members like Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) friends and CTU-mates Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth), and Edgar Stiles (Louis Lombardi) were killed in the line of duty. Jack’s pal, former-president David Palmer, was assassinated as well.
Jack began the “day” living unassumingly undercover with a woman and her teenage son in the SoCal sticks a brief 18 months after faking his own death to escape arrest by China for espionage and murder at the end of season four. But this semi-familial calm was quickly shattered with the murders of Palmer and Dessler, a decoy airport hostage attack, and nerve gas falling into the hands of anti-Russia terrorists bent on preventing an impending Russo-U.S. anti-terror agreement. Jack is back in fray with the death of friends to keep him focused and alert throughout another REALLY BAD DAY of peril, suspense, intrigue, and -WARNING- scenes of graphic violence.
Speaking of endings, Jack’s job has been hell on relationships. Over five seasons he has lost a wife; killed a former girlfriend-coworker-mole; seen an undercover Mexican girlfriend killed; led his only daughter, and more-or-less current girlfriend (Audrey Raines, the Secretary of Defense’s daughter, played by Kim Raver) to believe he was dead at the end of Season 4; blew off his new undercover “family” at the beginning of Season 5.
And at the end of Season 5, when he is finally reunited with a quivering Audrey, he is spirited off by… to…
Oops, can’t tell you. Why? The season is over you say? Because FOX just announced that it will re-broadcast the entire fifth season in 12 weeks this summer with back-to-back episodes on Friday nights beginning June 16.
FOX is aggressively keeping the burgeoning franchise in the public eye before its Monday night return with Season 6 in January 2007, with episodes available on both iTunes and MySpace.com, its 24 Inside web interview show with cast and crew, games, and books.
Additionally, in April FOX signed Sutherland to a new deal to executive produce and star in three more seasons of 24, with Jack battling terrorists and somehow surviving it all through the 2009 season – so there is plenty of gripping action in the offing.
The summer double-up is an excellent way for those new to the series to see what it’s all about and get caught up with Season 5 in half the time; and of course seasons 1-4 are available on DVD.