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TV ends its war on terror

world Updated: May 22, 2010 01:17 IST

How many more ways could Jack Bauer have saved the homeland from a world of terrorists? How many more times could he inflict and suffer injury in round-the-clock cycles? How much can any man take?

Well, Jack operates at a superhuman pitch, judging from eight seasons’ worth of counterterrorism derring-do on 24.

In the hands of series star Kiefer Sutherland, Jack has done a bang-up job. So has 24, boldly shaking up serial drama with its ambitious and demanding formula.

24 ends on Monday at 8 pm EDT.

Premiering in the fall of 2001, it was a scripted drama’s answer to the red-hot reality genre spurred by Survivor.

Here, on 24, was hyper-real action, documentary style, with preserving Americans’ security the challenge. It seemed perfect for the time. Then the rules changed just weeks before 24 went on the air. Thanks to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the sense of cautionary dread that fuelled the series’ suspense struck many viewers not as slick escapism, but as a wrenching echo of their own altered world.