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TV shows have evolved over the past several decades to become much more cinematic. Shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men challenged the very nature of the medium. Another show that made watching TV feel more like a trip to the movies was 24. The action-packed thriller took a bold premise and top-of-the-line action scenes to create one of the most memorable shows of its era. You can still watch it today. But where exactly can you find it? 

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer | Greg Williams/FOX/Getty Images

What was the premise of ’24?’ 

24 followed a government agent named Jack Bauer, working with the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU). Bauer is known for his cutthroat and effective tactics. Along with being a skilled interrogator and agent, he’s also a killer when he needs to be. In season one, he attempts to foil a plot to assassinate the future President of the United States, David Palmer. Throughout the show’s nine seasons, he gets into plenty of adventures where he risks it all to help protect national security. 

That premise may sound like any number of Tom Clancy novels, but what made the show so memorable was the format. Each episode played out in real-time. Each season consisted of 24, one-hour-long episodes. Unlike other shows that cut back and forth over long periods of time, 24 was unfolding at the same pace the viewers were watching it. This helped ratchet up the suspense in a show that thrived on that. 

’24’ left quite a television legacy

What was 24′s legacy? It helped usher in a new era of TV that felt more like a big-budget blockbuster. Every episode of the show felt like its own self-contained mini-movie. It also helped revive the career of Kiefer Sutherland, giving the talented actor an iconic role he could call his own. It’s impossible to imagine the show without Sutherland’s steely presence.

It also helped brighten the star power of talented actor Dennis Haysbert, who portrayed Palmer. Over the years the show had numerous talented cast members to help bring it to life. While that led to a high attrition rate among the show’s characters, it also ensured it had a new, talented ensemble around Sutherland. 

The show featured a rather unceremonious end for Bauer, as he (spoiler alert) ends up being sent to a Moscow prison to live out his days to help save his best friend, Chloe. So will Bauer and company ever return to help save the world again? According to Sutherland, you can never say never, as reported by the Independent

“I’ve always left the door slightly ajar for 24 if someone comes up with a great idea … As an actor, 24 remains one of the most dynamic experiences I’ve ever had. Where a character was allowed to have such highs and lows in such a fast period of time is a gift.”

If the right idea came along, there’s no doubt Fox would bring it back. But for now, all we have are previously aired episodes. Where can you watch those? 

Where can you stream ’24?’


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If you’re interested in catching up with Jack and his friends (and enemies), you have some options. You can certainly purchase the show’s DVDs. The issue is that this is a costly option, and physical media is becoming less popular as streaming services grow in usage. The best option for watching 24 is one of those streaming services, Hulu.

Every episode from all nine seasons is available there, and you can watch the evolution of the character. 24 may feel like it’s from a bygone era with some of its controversial depictions of terrorism and torture. But there’s no questioning the suspense and real human drama it put on display.