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24: Series 5 - 25.97

The adventures of Counter Terrorism Unit agent Jack Bauer have rarely been dull. Yet after four series of battling the bad guys in real time, some could rightfully wonder whether 24 had lots its edge, and its ability to surprise. The fifth season should put any such doubts to shame.

Set eighteen months after the dramatic finale to Season Four, things get off to a shocking and pulsating beginning. You won't find plot spoilers in this review, yet it's as if the writers realised they had some serious carpet-pulling to do to keep the show's audience intrigued once again. Set, as usual, over the course of one single day, there's then a slight lull in the first third, before things spring ferociously into life. Make no mistake: if you can overcome the usual need to suspend elements of your disbelief, this is the best series of 24 since the first, and as it winds near to its equally dramatic conclusions, it's simply hard to take your eyes off it.

Joining the usual cast too is a procession of familiar names. Peter Weller (Roboocop), Sean Astin (The Lord Of The Rings) and C Thomas Howell (The Hitcher) are among those doing their curriculum vitae no harm, but the acting honours are taken by the wonderful combination of President Logan and his first lady, played by Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart.

With a denouement that sets up a sparkling sixth season, this fifth series of 24 is a genuinely significant achievement. It's packed full of surprises, isn't afraid to take a few risks, and as all good thrillers should, it keeps you on the edge of your seat for far longer than is comfortable. A superb show, very much on top form.--Simon Brew

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
I HAVE NO SUPERLATIVES LEFT! : Series 5 of 24 smashes through excellence from the first episode and never lets go,episode one here is so action packed so mouth falling good that i couldnt anticipate it carrying on in the same vein,it does and what a series,too good in fact,and maybe the best series of them all.
Series 5 isnt that different than any other series,more politics,mor terrorists,more racing against time along with the fact that you are never sure who to trust,but the edgy drama never loses itself in all of that,tense,taut,and even more violent series 5 needs a medal of honour.
This series is so action packed that it should contain a health warning and the end of the series sent me into near faint mode,my brother who has never watched 24 in his life watched the final episode and it couldnt have made that much sense to him but even he was shouting at the tv and now he wants to watch it from the start,wise choice brother,everyone else should do the same.

Rating: 5:
Completely Absorbing - The best series to date : This is the 71st review of series 5 on amazon, so maybe a good summary is required.

Its the best of the series's to date. More exciting, twists, turns, action, a whopping roller coaster ride.

Its absolutely superb television best watched on dvd so that you can go at your own pace rather than await 1 episode a week.

You get more from the series if you watch the previous series's in sequence. That way you can understand the characters and their history.

Its so fast paced that some loose ends remain, and some of the action and plot seem unrealistic and a bit far fetched.

But do not be put off. This is the best TV you can watch. Simple as that. Completely absorbing, you can watch hours at a time, most people do.

This series starts of with a simple problem, that when investigated gets more complex and uncovers plot after plot.

Fantastic.

Rating: 4:
A bit of politics : Get off the fence, scriptwriters, tell us your real polititical sympathies. Palmer-Democrat-Decent, handsome, charismatic. Logan-Republican-Slimy, evil, Nixon lookalike. Also, could someone like Mike Novick move seamlessly from one side of the political fence to the other?

A few loose ends were left untied as well, such as the fates of Evelyn Martin and her daughter, and of Wayne Palmer.

That apart, a rollercoaster ride, and the tension was kept cranked up throughout. Bring on season 6. Is Jack Bauer going to finish up as president? He is obviously modelled on Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, and he did.

Rating: 2:
It gets even sillier : It's on one of the local TV channels. When I saw Jack walk into an atmosphere of nerve gas holding his breath, I lost interest (nerve gas is also absorbed through any exposed skin, so a full protective suit is necessary). It still has exciting action and I still have a crush on wonderful I-open-my-mouth-only-to-change-feet Chloe, but this is simply too silly.

Rating: 4:
More of the same, but that's a good thing : In six words: fans will love it; detractors won't.

Sort of. Jack's adventures do take a less familiar route as the CTU landscape is bulldozed with different characters moving around and- well, I'll say no more. There may be some surprises. Jack is (as ever) thrust into very complex, time-limited situations involving terrorists, political enemies and having to placate the emotional needs of his loved ones. All in 24 hours. It's what we want, and expect. It's a solid season, with Kim's absence making the whole experience much less annoying. Series detractors (and those who like to imitate fashionable opinions) will overblow the presence of torture scenes, but really one takes out of the programme what one has an affinity for, and I did not find the torture gratuitous, in any sense.

And an almost-spoiler-but-not-really: the setup for season six shows it going the exact way I was hoping season five would go, and did look great. Watch out!

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