Each season covers the events of one day in the life of federal agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, as he is trying to prevent a domestic terrorist attack. The show also follows Jack's colleagues at the Counter Terrorist Unit in Los Angeles, as well as the actions of the terrorists and typically an important political figure such as a Senator or President.
This real-time nature of 24 gives the show a strong sense of urgency, emphasized by the beeping of an on-screen digital clock appearing behind a black background before and after commercial breaks (the latter of which, via a "split screen," reveals certain visual plots and locations simultaneously). At various times during a segment of a show the digital clock appears at the center bottom of the screen. Throughout every episode the action switches between different locations, following the parallel adventures of different characters all involved in the same story.
The series completed its fifth season on May 22, 2006. In April 2006, 20th Century Fox Television renewed Sutherland's contract through season eight, but has only renewed the series through season six 1. A movie version is planned for 2008 2
On May 9, 2006, episodes of 24 were made available for purchase on the iTunes Music Store 3. On May 22, 2006, episodes of 24 from the first season and the fifth season were made available for purchase from 24 on myspace. The pilot episode and the first episode of season five are being given away through a promotional deal with Burger King at Burger King's Myspace site.
The first five seasons follow a similar format, with a main story arc featuring Jack Bauer and the Counter Terrorist Unit dealing with a threat posed to national security. During the course of a season the primary arc usually changes once or twice. Surprise sacrifices, backstabbings, and other plot twists are common. 1In under seven years, there have been five presidents on 24. Each season also has several major subplots that span most of the episodes and are interwoven within the main plot. Throughout each season, Jack Bauer often faces intense personal anguish in addition to his tasks to stop the terrorists.
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack BauerEach season occurs in "real-time" and starts at the top of the hour on a given day. Each episode portrays one hour of that day, with one season comprising 24 episodes. The show is set largely in Los Angeles, so the "time" is set in Pacific Standard Time. Every episode begins with: "The following takes place between time and time." The exception:
Season 1 begins each episode with Kiefer Sutherland saying "The following takes place between time and time on the day of the California Presidential Primary." The importance of this introduction can be understood below in season one's synopsis.
AKA 24 Hours
The Seven Network, Australia