The 24 Death March
I don’t watch much TV other than for sports. Most years, my wife and I choose one show at the beginning of the television season that we TiVo and try to keep up with. Usually, we’re disappointed in what we choose. Over the years, close friends have advised us to watch the show 24. For the first 5 seasons of the show, we dismissed the advice thinking that it just wasn’t our thing. Earlier this year, though, the buzz about the show became such a loud roar that I couldn’t ignore it any more. I made the decision that 24 would be the 2006-2007 show that I was going to watch (even if it’s not touchy-feely enough for my wife).
Demonstrating my normal obsessive-compulsive behavior, I decided that I couldn’t just jump into season 6 (starting in January) without watching the previous 5 seasons first. So, with the help of Netflix, I started watching episode 1 of season 1 in early July of this year. Last night, I completed episode 24 of season 5. Whew! Just in time. That’s 120 episodes in roughly 150 days (most of it with my butt on the seat of my cycling trainer). Of course, I didn’t watch one per day. Even obsessive-compulsives have to take a break now and again.
Having slammed all this television into my consciousness over the last few months, I can’t help but draw a few conclusions about the show. For 24 fans, these may stir some thoughts and generate excitement for the coming season. For non-fans (who probably punted on this post before they got to this point), you just won’t understand what I’m talking about or even care. In either case, I don’t think I’m giving away anything that isn’t completely obvious. Here goes:
- Not surprisingly, all terrorist activity in the world seems to be based in Los Angeles.
- CTU can tap a cell phone in a parking garage 5 stories underground, but they can’t catch evildoers using their cell phones at CTU headquarters.
- Jack always has to carry the baggage of an impossible relationship.
- CTU always has to have a mole AND at least one asshole (who comes around in the end).
- Jack always needs to ask his compatriots loads of favors that involve their risking at least their jobs and perhaps their lives. Jack ends up saying please and thank you often because of this.
- Everyone at the White House knows Jack personally.
- Travel time within LA does not count toward the 24 hour total. People are always 15-20 minutes from their destination. Right.
- CTU security is a sieve.
- Drug addiction, gunshot wounds, knife stabs and electro-chock torture merely slow Jack down. He has usually fully healed/recovered by the next episode.
- In season 1, the “previously on 24” segment lasted 1:45. By season 5, this had grown to 2:15. I felt robbed of 30 seconds worth of drama in the later seasons.
- Season 4 was the best.
- The ending for season 5 was the best.
I really like the show and am looking forward to the premier of season 6 in January. The jury’s out on whether being able to watch back-to-back(-to-back-to-back . . . ) episodes make it more or less enjoyable. I certainly removed all the suspense from the cliffhanger endings. Do I qualify for membership in the 24 club now?