The series finale of "24" delivered the show's trademark mix of action and drama as it wrapped up another eventful day in the life of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). This year, the rogue spy battled both friends and foes before ending the day facing exile.
Many critics have hailed the creative resurgence of this onetime perennial Emmy Awards contender. However, neither of our two Emmy experts -- Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (Awards Heaven) -- foresee an awards comeback for "24." How fast the mighty have fallen!
For its fifth season in 2006, "24" finally won best drama series and Sutherland reigned as best actor. In 2007, Season 6 was deemed a disappointment, and the show failed to contend for the drama series Emmy for the first time in its run. Although "24" had made the top 10 -- as determined by a popular vote of TV academy members -- the sample episodes failed to impress the judging panel enough for the show to make it through to the final round of nominees. Then-reigning champ Sutherland did contend again in the best actor race, for the sixth year in a row, but lost to James Spader ("Boston Legal").
After being benched in 2008 because of the writers strike, the former Emmy powerhouse made a lackluster return to the race in 2009, failing to score bids for either series or TV movie ("24: Redemption"). Sutherland, who was a fixture in the best actor in a drama series category, was snubbed for the first time in the show's seven years. He had to make do with a nod in the TV movie actor race for "24: Redemption" and lost to Brendan Gleeson ("Into the Storm").
Boomer and Rob agree that reigning champ "Mad Men" will contend again this year, as will "Breaking Bad," "Damages" and "Dexter." Boomer believes freshman hit "The Good Wife" and the departing "Lost" will also make the ballot, while Rob thinks "House, M.D." and "Big Love" will round out the roster. Rob thinks Sutherland has an outside chance of making the top six in the crowded lead actor race this year, while Boomer ranks reigning champ Cherry Jones -- who portrayed America's first female president -- in the sixth slot in the supporting actress category.
Maria Elena Fernandez delivers a must-read wrap-up of the series, including interviews with exec producer Howard Gordon and fan favorites Mary Lynn Rajskub (the stalwart Chloe) and Gregory Itzin (the slippery ex-president).
Photo: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in the finale of "24." Credit: Ray Mickshaw