"24" is back!

Tonight, I'll be glued to the TV for 2 hours, because one of my favorite shows, 24, is having its fourth season premiere at 8 PM tonight. In fact, it'll be on for two hours tonight and two hours tomorrow night (which means I'm going to have to hustle to make sure I'm home in time tomorrow). I can't wait.

For those who aren't familiar with it, 24 is a show that follows a single 24-hour period in the life of an anti-terrorist agent, Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland). Each episode represents an hour of that day presented in "real time" (complete with the occasional ticking clock in the corner to remind the viewer what time it is and with split screen montages leading into each commercial break to remind the viewer what's happening simultaneously). It's basically a thrill-ride, with nearly every episode ending on with a cliffhanger. When the format works (which is usually), it's an exhilarating show, unlike anything else on TV. (When the format doesn't work, such as when they are clearly stringing things along a bit to pad time that Jack may be racing between locations, it can be a little annoying.) Jack Bauer is the classic flawed hero. He frequently does things that are morally and ethically questionable (or even worse) in pursuit of the bad guys, but he gets the job done. (Certainly you'd rather have him on your side than not.) I became addicted during season two. I've been meaning to check out season one on DVD, but have never gotten around to it.

Season three was a bit of a disappointment compared to season two. It started out with great promise (the threat of a biological agent released in Los Angelels), was chilling in its depiction of the results of said agent being released in a hotel (which was quarantined), but petered out in the home stretch. Since then, they've gotten rid of most of the cast (most of whose stories were played out anyway). I'm hoping the fresh blood will reinvigorate the show. Certainly, the first four hours tonight and tomorrow will give me a good idea if this is going to be a good season or not.


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