24 – Conflict, Suspense, the Unexpected–Savor It While It Lasts
I am not much of a television watcher. Probably because I have been an avid reader since early childhood–I remember going to my first library at age six–I am never quite satisfied how the directors and producers put the show together. I find fault with characterization, scripting, dialogue, carting, scenery, and so much more. My mind can always create images so much more vivid and satisfying. Imagination can be both creative and personally satisfying.
With that said, I have to admit that my sense of humor is strange almost black. (Now before any of you think I am a racist, please check out what the literary term means). I do not like slapstick comedy or comedy that mocks authority.
I grew up with the Three Stooges, the Bowery Boys, the Firestone Theater, Ernie Kovacs, Jackie Gleason. I loved the Damon Runyon Theater, Molly Goldberg, Amos and Andy, and I Love Lucy and Topper. But over the years, I changed as the writing evolved or regressed. It is all a matter of opinion and taste.
I do not like shows where youngsters ridicule oldsters. I do not like violence for its sensationalism. It is a big turnoff both of me and the channel if the show’s blood and gore does not fit tightly into both theme and plot. NCIS has been my favorite for several seasons. I rarely turn on any channels other than 2, 4, and 7 so I never even saw 24 until this season when it came on by chance. When the major stations interrupted their normal broadcasting for one of their interrupted, extended, not-so-special specials preempting my shows, I decided to surf. Boy am I glad I did!
24 has a great gimmick. It is shown in real time. An hour in the life of a rogue government agent is presented in 60 minutes sans advertising with 24 episodes in each year’s filming. Thousands of years ago the Greeks used it when staging their drama trilogies. Perhaps the greatest Western of all times, High Noon, used the same pace.
I make sure I see every episode and have my TIVO set to record it if something happens to interfere. Protagonists Jack Bauer and Renee Walker play off one another as the set showcases the real D. C., a city of contrasts. The antagonist Dubaku like many twisted minds plays as amoral rather than immoral. President Allison Taylor acts like a leader and a woman simultaneously which makes her real. The plot that twists and turns and never stops. The good guys turn into bad ones when one least suspects. The plot always carries a punch. The peril of innocents is always at the top.
As each episode ends I wonder, “Are there really people like that? Could this happen? Does this happen?” I am so committed to the series now in its seventh year, that I went out and bought myself the first six years episodes. We are running a Premier Season marathon right now. Eventually we will get through six years. Meanwhile I am savoring every minute. I try not to contrast the seasons. I am intent on watching the character grow.
If you haven”t checked out 24 as yet, take a look see. Jack Bauer is America’s James Bond without all the gadgetry and sexual machismo. Fox is to be commended for scheduling this one. Now I have only to worry how long will it last before someone pulls the plug….