I admit that I gave up on 24 after about Season 4. It was all too stressful and didn't agree with my blood pressure medication. According to recent reports, it's now become too stressful for the TV executives too, who are pulling the plug on the show after they finish shooting the current batch of episodes. 24 was to the noughties what The X Files was to the 90s - a seminal series, which managed to create its own vivid parallel universe. To conspiracy theorists, both shows revealed supposed truths about the actions of sinister government agencies. But 24 was more shocking and brutal because its subject matter was terror rather than the paranormal and extraterrestrial. It will be remembered for its social and political context - the climate of fear existing post 9/11 - as much as for its relentless pace and amphetamine-driven plotlines. The question now is whether Jack Bauer can ever truly retire. I'm picturing an old folks' home in southern California in about 2040. An
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