I recall our own Professor Thoreau being a 24 fanatic, but don't know if anybody else is still watching this show. In any event, Salon's Laura Miller (free ad serve required) calls for the show to be sent to a small-screen Camp X-Ray without further ado:
My biggest complaint, however, is the clenched humorlessness of CTU. To which people will often respond that a 24-hour nuclear/chemical weapons/presidential assassination crisis is hardly the time for jokes. Au contraire, mon amis. As Jerry Dunn's invaluable subcultural slang dictionary, "Idiom Savant," demonstrates, the professions that generate the most extensive, creative and funny slang are precisely the ones that deal in life-and-death situations: cops, nurses and soldiers. Black humor and wisecracks are crucial tools to building camaraderie in high-stress jobs that expose people to the worst of human behavior and suffering.
But there's no camaraderie at CTU. Instead, these waspish drones bicker and intrigue like the staff of an insurance company or a poetry magazine—any office where the stakes are so low that people get easily sidetracked into currying favor and screwing their enemies. Don't tell me there's no room for esprit de corps in CTU, when everyone who works there can always be persuaded to spare a few minutes to berate a co-worker or have a heart-to-heart with some wigged-out relative. The most miserable trick of "24" is that it takes what's probably an exciting and meaningful profession and makes it seem just like the swamps of mean-spirited triviality where most Americans work.
This seems like an odd complaint. Is there much doubt that GWOT-related government offices are filled with petty people devoted to bickering and office politics? I tuned out 24 after the second season, but my realism gap with the show was always its presentation of supremely competent and fast-moving government officials who wouldn't fuck up the proverbial one-man parade. But I'm intrigued that the writers have contrived to bring back the great Penny Johnson for another round of villainy. Has nobody else remarked that Penny Johnson not only has the distinction of playing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in two different movies, but has been a regular or recurring character on what must be a record number of top-notch television shows? Deep Space Nine, ER, 24, Larry Sanders… She's the anti-Ted McGinley. Keep your Sutherlands. Make mine Johnson or Johnson-Jerald!
Also, has anybody ever gotten a full season of 24 on DVD and watched the whole show in 24 hours? That would seem like a must-do stunt for a true fan.