Unfortunately, I thought we had closed the book on this debate but given the fact that Jack is back and 24 is again part of the television landscape, it bears repeating…again. And, since there will be a Spooks feature film in the not-too-distant future, why not be ahead of the curve and end the debate before it begins.
Instead of creating yet another troubling argument that goes on only in my head, I have to open this debate to everyone since it’s that time again when 24 fans are putting the show on a pedestal while describing MI5 (Spooks in the UK) as the British 24. Must I verbalize the laundry list of reasons as to why there is no comparison between the two? MI5 was, IMHO, one of the best shows on television, if not the best. MI5 out-distances 24 in writing, acting, storyline, believability, editing, use of music and more. AND, it has Harry Pearce.
Jack Bauer won’t (or can’t) die
The fact that you watch every episode of 24 knowing full well that Jack Bauer won’t die no matter what happens is enough to place it well below the realistic nature of MI5. 24‘s only “bit” is that each season takes place in 24 hours. Having seen all 10 seasons of MI5, I’ve often wondered why the writers have never shied away from killing off characters or banishing them to Siberia, both major and minor, during a season. I finally came to the conclusion that as frustrating and as mind-numbing as it is to invest emotional effort into the characters only to have them “disappear” or actually die by an assassin’s bullet or explosion adds the realism that is lacking in 24.
It’s tough enough for any series to last a decade in today’s television landscape as both 24 and MI5 have. With MI5, it has to be a brain rush to write a series of this nature that gives you the freedom to be real, to be fresh and also keep the audience as tense as humanly possible with every explosion or every bullet leaving the chamber because we truly don’t know who is coming back each week. On 24, Jack Bauer always heals by the next week (or next hour since it all takes place in 24 hours).
Someone, talk me down from the ledge
Tell me there are others out there that can’t wait to binge watch MI5 again. Or, if you’re a 24 fan, it’s your turn. I know the newest incarnation of 24: Live Another Day is shot in London so that helps me a bit. But, I’m willing to listen. Well, sort of. You have 23:59:45.