I have to open this debate to everyone since three people, TODAY alone, described MI5 (Spooks in the UK) as the British 24. I couldn’t form words fast enough to verbalize a laundry list of reasons as to why there is no comparison between the two. MI5 is, without question 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.
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 through season 7 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 8 seasons (as both MI5 and 24 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).
Talk me down from the ledge
Tell me there are others out there that can’t wait for the next episode of MI5. Or, if you’re a 24 fan, it’s your turn. I’m willing to listen. Well, sort of. You have 23:59:45.