As a kind of update, I've been watching 24 for the past 22 episodes (I seem to be more of a telly addict than wedgeantilles), and as you would expect, the story seems to be on its way to winding up. Unfortunately, as I am a Brit, and the programme is shown on BBC, it lacks the commercial breaks that make each episode up to an hour. Therefore for me, each hour of Jack Bauer's time only lasts 45 minutes, which makes for some interesting questions about just what our friends at CTU (that's the counter terrorist unit to you and me) get up to in their 15 minutes off. As was predicted in the previous write-up, the plot has got bogged down a bit, as Jack Bauer's daughter has just been kidnapped for a third time as far as I can make out, and now Jack himself is in the evil clutches of Dennis Hopper, who plays the arch bad guy in the series. There seems to be some problem with having the whole Bauer family together, as at least one of them seems to be being held captive at any one time!
However, despite these criticisms, I have to say i'm hooked. The split screen, which I was skeptical of like wedgeantilles in the first episode, has proved to be a good way of keeping the sense that lots things are happening simultaneously. The fact that the BBC have taken to showing the previous 3 episodes on Saturday night every month (that's 2 hours 15 minutes of solid 24) to keep you up to date on what is happening seems to suggest that the show is a hit, and it certainly seems to be popular with everyone I talk to (apart from my mother, who claims to despise and loathe television and then watches Holby City avidly every week).
A recent interview with Kiefer Sutherland in the Radio Times raised some interesting points in my view. The first is that since the timing on this programme has to be perfect, the actors must have to do each scene in a specific time limit, and get it pretty damn close to being right (I admit, there will be some leeway given the magic that editors can do). This seems like me to be a pretty tall order, but I haven't noticed any forced lines or speeded up dialogue by the actors, which impresses me a lot. The second point is more of a question. How are they going to make a sequel that isn't exactly the same as this series? (According to Sutherland, a sequel is in the works, and it will cover another 24 hours in Jack Bauer's life. Given that the opening titles include Bauer saying "This is the longest day of my life", what will the second series include? "This is the longest day of my life - again"? 24 episodes is as long as 3 seasons of a lot of series, so maybe the makers should stop the idea here? Who knows, they might make it work again.
Anyway, even after 22 episodes, I'm still intrigued as to what will happen in the end, and my father is still convinced that Tony is a bad guy (shock horror!), so I guess we'll have to watch the last two episodes too!
Give it a try. You may like it, you may find it totally monotonous and plodding, and if you start watching it now you probably won't have a clue what's going on, but at least it's an innovative idea in the sea of American sitcoms.