The Running Man

I was thinking about Jack Bauer Kiefer Sutherland. Have you noticed? He’s actually not Kiefer anymore – he’s just… Jack Bauer. All the times. Take The Confession, the webseries streamed on Hulu. Sutherland plays a nameless killer, a hitman who murders in cold blood and then goes to a priest to confess his sins. Well, he’s just Jack Bauer gone completely bad. Not that Jack Bauer was a saint. Au contraire. That’s why the connection is easy.
Now, take Tim Kring’s new series, Touch. Kiefer plays a single father (Martin Bohm) who, after the death of his wife on 9/11, has to deal with a “weird” son. Given the kind of spiritual premise that we are all interconnected in this world, that little kid uses math and numbers to find these connections. It’s up to Martin, then, looking for the people whose life are destined to “touch”, to impact on each other in an unpredictable chain of events. Matin Bohn is no hero, he’s just an average man who finds himself stuck in an extraordinary situation. Yet, I keep on seeing Jack Bauer. Especially because he can spend an entire episode running from one place to another with a cell phone in his hand, not really sure where he’s going to end up to. But I also must admit that it hurts when people treat him bad or punch him and he doesn’t react like he should. C’mon Martin, we all know that there’s a little Jack Bauer in you! Anyway, this is not my point. My point is: Jack Bauer lives. No matter who Kiefer Sutherland is going to play: agent Bauer is one of the strongest characters in the history of TV. He’s an icon, he’s pop culture. And if you cast Kiefer Sutherland and make him run, talk to the cell phone and chase people… Well, you don’t need to put a gun in his hand and another terrorist threat in the world to remind us of the 24 world. That’s the power of very good shows and their franchise.

By the way, I really like Touch so far. I find it gripping and fascinating… Though I’m a little afraid of the Heroes‘ effect. I mean, Tim Kring is the creator and we all know how it ended up with Heroes: great first season, then just too much mess.
Let’s just wait, hope and see.


8 comments on “The Running Man

  1. Jaina says:

    This is a GREAT post! I don’t think Kiefer will ever be able to get out of the Jack Bauer shadow. After all, it’s HUGE!

    I watched the first 4 episodes of Touch but that’s all I could muster up. I thought Tim Kring was Heroes-ing it up a little bit to me. I mean, even the end of the opening credits with his name in a circle!

    You know what though? I think it’d be better with actual Jack Bauer.

  2. Jersey says:

    Thank you, Jaina!
    I do agree, Tim Kring tends to be a little too… Kring-centric! But the show really caught me, so I hope it won’t blow.
    And yeah, Jack Bauer would fit perfectly everywhere. Surely he knows how to cut to the chase and fix a situation with some punches and a gun 😉

  3. Definitely hard to extricate certain actors from their key roles; Shatner and Nimoy and their Star Trek characters were always the classic example, but Sutherland and Jack Bauer make a great modern day example. It’s especially true for Sutherland since not only does he still look the same as he did in 24 (and not just because it’s only been a short time — he really hasn’t aged all that much since he was in the Brat Pack!) but because part of what made Jack Bauer such an interesting character was the intensity with which Keifer Sutherland plays all his roles. Great actor, but I think those of us who watched 24 will be seeing Jack Bauer for eternity.

    I’ll admit I’ve somehow not managed to catch Touch yet. The Heroes connection is certainly worrisome… that show went off the rails so badly…

  4. sanclementejedi says:

    Nice post, I liked him better as the leader of a vampire gang in the Lost Boys. I lost interest in that 24 series after about 3 seasons and just never got back into it. I wish Sutherland would just branch out a bit.

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