24

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
24 TV Poster Image
A tense thriller for adults and mature teens.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 31 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 58 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

A major theme is teamwork. While Jack and his allies always seem to end up accomplishing their goals -- save the president/country/world -- they do so through very iffy means, including torture, deception, and much more. All of this sends a strong message that the "right" ends can justify the means, no matter what those means might be. The show also clearly takes the perspective that it's worth sacrificing almost anything for the greater good and places a strong emphasis on duty and loyalty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack may be the hero, but he's a not a clear role model. Murder, drugs, torture, etc. -- he's done it all. However, he is loyal, resourceful, and resilient, and most of his actions are geared toward helping keep the country (and/or people he cares about) safe. The show is full of characters with questionable motives and means; every season includes double-crosses and betrayals, even by those who are supposed to be the "good guys." The show has been critiqued for potraying villains stereotypically.

Violence

Intense violence -- torture, gunplay, stabbing, poisoning, explosions, plane/car crashes -- sometimes with blood.

Sex

Fairly infrequent sexual references/activity, though characters (mostly women) do end up scantily clad in some scenes, and sex (whether for pleasure or as an act of manipulation) is sometimes implied via bedroom scenes.

Language

Very frequent use of "dammit" by Jack; other words include "hell" and "bitch."

Consumerism

FOX News plays a major role in the show. The Sprint logo is visible on constantly-in-use cell phones, and many vehicles are product placements as well.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jack used to use heroin but talks about it with regret. Minor characters drink and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 24 is a very addictive series all about terrorism. The violence is relentless, albeit usually somewhat bloodless (with the notable exception of some gory torture scenes), and the lead character is rarely remorseful for anything he does in the name of duty/accomplishing his goals. Villains are sometimes portrayed stereotypically, although, in general, the show depicts women and minorities without bias. Discussion of sex is common, but not a major plot element. Because 24 is expressly designed to be addictive, parents not wanting their teens to watch every episode should probably avoid letting them them get started at all.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 15 year old Written byTsion January 29, 2011

NO KIDS!

Don't get me wrong. 24 is an extremely intelligent, addicting, well-written, and well-acted show. Though it can get very repetative, it is consistently m... Continue reading
Adult Written byGermanshepard17 August 8, 2014

Not at all inappropriate, nothing website makes it seem like

I am a parent of three children, ages 9, 12, and 13. My family and I watch this show together all the time (except the nine-year old) and it is a great family e... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMyWinterFirefly April 14, 2010

Fine for kids 12-13 with parental guidance and fine to watch alone past that :)

I started watching 24 with my parents when I was 12. It was fine, there were some scary parts then which is why I was glad my parents were there. But when I tur... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bykaitlynaline July 25, 2010

What's the story?

In an age of both real and imagined terrorist threats, 24 brings us Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), a rugged hero who works with the U.S. Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) to fight those who threaten the country. His methods of fighting terrorism are often repugnant, but his quest is always driven by duty and honor. What makes this series unique and compelling is its structure. Each season follows just a single day -- each episode accounting for one hour (i.e., playing out in real time). The CTU is thrown into action by a major threat, such as nuclear bombs, viruses, or plots against the president. But even as Jack fights the bad guys (who have included Arabs, Russians, and Americans), he finds the time to make intimate connections with others, so viewers can find empathy for him despite his outrageous circumstances.

Is it any good?

With its breathless pace, moral dilemmas galore, and an innovative format, 24 is an extremely exciting show ... for adults. With its frequent gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, explosions, high-speed chases, double-crosses, deception, and some sexual content, 24 is definitely not for younger kids, though some teens may be able to handle the violence.

While Jack is the hero of 24, his aggressive tactics diminish his character as a role model. Sometimes the series' formula wears thin, with certain scenarios playing out over and over again, but well-developed characters, especially CTU agent Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), keep it interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the series' frequent moral quandaries in 24, which can provide good jumping-off points for talking to teens about right and wrong. Does the end justify the means? What would you do in Jack's position?

  • How does the show make you feel about the way government and politics operate?

  • How do the characters on 24 demonstrate teamwork? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Character Strengths

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