Tanya pointed out the other day that having a DVR causes you to watch a lot more TV. Case in point: 24. I missed the first three seasons. I never knew when it was on and once you miss a single episode, you’re kinda done. Now that I have a DVR, I’ve haven’t missed any of season four. Furthermore, the first three seasons are available on DVD, so not only am I watching more TV from this season, I’m catching up on previous seasons. We just finished season one tonight.
[Note - there are some first season spoilers here - not big ones, but some nonetheless]
First off, there is alot of filler – at least in season one. There are long sequences (the girls escaping from the kidnappers leaps to mind) where there’s all this action and suspense, but everything ends up back where they started. Secondly, by the end I thought it was over the top on the amount of resources the bad guys had. I mean, they kidnap his daughter again? Maybe it bothered me more because I watched the whole season over a couple of weeks, instead of several months. Finally, the story flow really feels off – but that’s the nature of the real-time format. In a more typical series, there’s a slow build towards a final confrontation with a collection of connected yet distinct stories. But 24 is like a single 24 hour long movie, except that it doesn’t have a clearly defined 3 act structure. It kust puts the pedal to the metal at around episode four and doesn’t let up. That’s not as exciting as it sounds – stuff just happens…and keeps happening. There’s no time for reflection or anticipation which makes it much more difficult to enjoy the story.
I realize part of the show’s gimick is that it’s a full 24 hours. But really, I think the story – at least season one’s story – would have been better told in 14-18 hours. Of course, that won’t stop me from watching the current season or starting in on season two.