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My Favourite TV Shows - 3: 24

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Crapblog @crapblog
My Favourite TV Shows - 3: 24

Considering I did a countdown of my least favourite TV shows, I thought it would be fitting that I mentioned my top three programs. Now I’ll just set out the criteria. This will mainly be judged by how excited I get/got before watching an episode of the show. This obviously means that it is a subjective opinion, so while production, direction, writing, characterization etc. are all important to me, there are just some things which I can’t help but enjoy. I will also be taking into account consistency. So although shows like Prison Break and The O.C. were great for a season or so, they got crap, and so cannot make the list. I’ll also say that whilst my anticipation before an episode of Lost was huge, the massive disappointment I felt when it finished means that it too cannot be included.

So my number three is 24. I first watched 24 in 2006 when it had been around for a while. I borrowed the DVD box set of season 1 for a weekend. I watched the first 18 episodes non-stop before taking a quick nap, and then watching the rest of the season. After that, I got hold of the rest of the DVDs. I was so hooked it was ridiculous. I often watched episodes on 1.5x speed, so that I could see what happened quicker (that was the quickest speed at which I could still understand what was being said). Having blitzed the first 5 seasons, I found myself in the excruciating position of having to wait for a week between episodes, but the build up of anticipation only made it better.

What was so good about the show? Obviously the real time format worked incredibly well. Firstly, it was revolutionary. While Seinfeld and Friends had each done one real time episode, 24 was the first show of its magnitude to take on the concept full-time. And it was absorbing. On top of this was incredible writing. Due to the show’s format, the plots needed to be intricate. Plato wrote in his Poetics that a good story should consist of events which plausibly lead to one another, and for 24, that was unavoidable. Over this intricacy, the twists and turns were well scripted and often surprising. Episodes more often than not ended on huge cliffhangers (which is why I had to watch them consecutively). The dialog was rarely sentimental, and lines were always befitting of the characters who spoke them. The show also addressed current issues. The show drew a lot of criticism for depicting Muslims as the bad guys, but that’s the world we live in. It accurately portrayed these Muslims as the exception rather than the norm. It addressed another issue in the use of torture. This is again a debate which has been hotly discussed of late (waterboarding etc), and as in life, 24 gave us advocates and opponents. There were complaints of the graphic depiction of torture, but that’s what I loved about it. The show was never afraid to tackle these issues head on.

On top of all of this, the show had brilliant, likeable characters, of which Jack Bauer was possibly one of the weakest, despite being an excellent addition to the show. To name just a few, Nina Myers, Terri Bauer, Tony Almeida, David Palmer and Charles Logan were all great assets for the show. And then of course there was Chloe. I love the fact that the writers created a computer geek who was socially retarded, sticking completely to stereotype rather than trying so hard to buck the trend which inevitably leads to an unrealistic character. Her lack of etiquette meant that she was able to say to other characters what everyone was thinking. It also made her incredibly funny in the best way, in that the humour was ingrained in her character and the way she was acted, rather than forcedinto her lines. She added moments of comic relief in a show where there shouldn’t have been such levity, and it was very welcome.

When 24 came to an end, I was distraught. Fortunately, it ended very well (unlike other shows *cough* Lost *cough*), meaning that I will remember it well. The movie however, may not be such a great idea…

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