24 (Season One, Episodes 1-4)

Creator: Robert Cochran, Joel Surnow
All memories of the pink fuzzball of Legally Blonde were mercilessly crushed
once the first episode of this TV series-now-on-DVD was finished. Fans of the show will not be surprised to learn that after a short break, Jessica and I watched Episode 2…then Episode 3…then checking the clock to see if it was that late…Episode 4. Yep, we finished the whole disc.
Being a rental (along with LB) we’ll have to go back for 5-8.
More thrilling than any multiplex, megagazillion dollar blockbuster, 24 piles on calamity on top of peril and mixes it all up with heavily carbonated paranoia. And on DVD, where there are no commercials (save the product placement by Ford and Apple), the effect is even more like a series of jolts to the heart.
The gimmick of having each episode play out in real time is a good one, and in a way justifies the contant peril that is going on (though in real life this would probably lead to a nervous breakdown). It also allows us to engage in the characters as we would a novel, and to have minor moments play out as major twists. The chessgame that is the Terrorism Unit’s interaction is marvelously detailed, the shifting allegiances dramatically complex.
I don’t know how this will all play out (and if you’ve seen the first season all the way through, keep your mouth shut, please) but Episode 4 showed a bit of slowing down, keeping Jack in a warehouse for most of the episode, and slightly letting things down with a dip into cliche’d dialog: Jack is a “loose cannon” and, the line I love to hate, “You just don’t get it, do you?” fortunately said by a minor character. Will the series remain this tense all the way through? Will it show its narrative strategy too early? Will we have heart attacks by the end of it all? Stay tuned, because I think we’ll be finished with the whole series by the end of next week. Tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic…

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