The curtain has fallen upon the 8th season of ’24′ and the producers claim that this was the final one. I keep a certain dose of skepticism about this, as the main character – Jack Bauer – was still as alive and as in bad shape as in most other final episodes of the previous seven seasons. It may be for the big screen feature that was announced, and I am quite curious to know what format that film will take as an alternative to the real time 24 x one hour episodes in real-time, which were the trademark and the principal gimmick pacing the series for the whole duration of the eight seasons. This format imposed a certain gradation of the development of the action and of the characters in the time-frame of each episode and in the time-frame of the season, which became the duration of a full day in the life (and sometimes death) of the characters. Here relies much of the strength but also of the weakness of the formula, as after placing aside the bigger or even smaller credibility questions (like when do the heroes eat, sleep, go to the bathroom?) the fans of the series learned the pace and the rhythms and knew in many cases what to expect next with a precision of minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=399Hiwua0J4

(video source FoxBroadcasting)

’24′ was said to be the ultimate post-911 series, and it raised serious moral questions about the approach of members of the CTU in fighting terror attacks and terrorism threats in a period when the American society and the whole world was confronted with the same type of questions. The other dilemma the main heroes faced permanently is between individual action and the trust in the system – a system we quick learned is completely corrupt (in the eyes of the authors) to the point that any character from the rookie agent in the CTU to the President of the United States can be a suspect or eventually a traitor. There are few certain things in the world of ’24′ – the ‘do not kill (your people)’ taboo is broken in the second season, the trust in the institution of the presidency in the 4th or the 5th, even the complete dedication of Jack Bauer to his country is put under a big question mark in the last season, when he seems to engage in what looks like a personal vendetta at the expense of the world peace. What is left is maybe the protective love of Jack for his daughter and the friendship between him and Chloe – too little human feelings in such a savage world.

Yet, the human dimension is what stays for me from these series. After the eighth season I cannot remember how many times Jacj saved the world in 24 hours, I am pretty sure that atomic bombs were twice exploded in the US, that ballistic rockets were shot on the big American cities, and chemical and biological attacks happened several times and I cannot really distinguish between them. What I do and will remember is that I have seen in ’24′ the first Afro-American president at work a few years before Obama,  I watched Nina’s treason and Terry’s death in the first season, I resonated with the start and tragic end of the love story between Michelle and Tony Almeida, I shared the dilemmas, achievements, but also mistakes and treason of several fictional American presidents. Actually the turmoil that engulfs president Taylor in the last season was one of the reasons to watch this season attentively – a season which I started as a viewer with a big dose of skepticism and some boredom, but which became one of the best, and not only because by mid-season we new it will be the last.

Or will it not?