In the last 48 hours, I have watched 18 episodes of series 2 of 24.
Unfortunately, unlike Jack Bauer, I have had to eat, sleep and go to the toilet, so I still don’t know whether the President will get the information he needs to call off the strike on the three generic, un-named Middle Eastern states. It’s very exciting.
Having watched season three and season one, the opening episode of this series piqued my interest by making it appear to be the beardiest season yet, with both CTU head George Mason and protagonist Jack Bauer sporting some impressive face furniture. I figured that neither of them would have time to remove their beards because there was a nuclear warhead about to be detonated in Los Angeles, speculating that, what with it being real-time and all, there wouldn’t be space for a tedious shaving scene.
Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed: the tedious shaving scene occurred at the end of the first episode, leaving Bauer beardless, and an annoying plot twist involving some plutonium removed all of Mason’s facial hair before it became a feature for seasons to come. Of course, having foolishly already watched the third season, by which I knew only the baddies sported facial hair, neither of these beard-based twists came as much of a surprise.
My addiction to the empty-headed American spy drama comes at a cost not just to my time, but also my sanity: for, though I find the draw of the next implausible escape sequence implied by the cliffhanger at the end of every episode irresistible, the Los Angeles Counter-Terrorist Unit seems staffed by imbeciles all of whom are related by complex social or familial ties which make the smooth running of any given operation all but impossible.
This is compounded by the silly claims that the show is in “real time”, which are blown every commercial break (which thankfully I am spared by watching the DVD edition) when, in spite of four or five minutes elapsing during which I should have been indoctrinated with advertising, everyone plot-crucial seems to sit exactly still. You might expect five minutes to be quite long enough for the siege which has just come to an end with a building being stormed, guns blazing, to come to its bloody conclusion; apparently not. Even the sharp-shooting Jack Bauer seems incapable of downing a hostile whilst the adverts are on.
Luckily, this addiction will be satiated by simply completing the series. Until then, anyone planning on making a real-time drama about my life will end up creating some strange, ironic meta-entertainment, shortly followed by being taken down by a tactical team from the Fox intellectual property lawyers.