i guess the whole concept of watching a TV show with the same compulsive behavior exhibited by crack addicts became introduced to me when i found a show called 24. i was not an original follower of the series and came somewhat late into the fray in 2006 (fortunately so because i could watch all the episodes of the best seasons back to back). however, the environment was prime for me to discover 24 during the summer of 2006, as i spent my time bumming around playing craploads of poker and staying at my home in westchester isolated from the rest of society. i was almost holed up in my own little mini bomb shelter, watching episodes until 6 in the morning when my parents started waking up, only knowing the world of 24.
if you don't know what 24 is, quickly slap yourself in the face. then buy the first 5 seasons on dvd/bluray and watch them. then thank me. the show is truly revolutionary in terms of storytelling and its main character, jack bauer. the real time aspect of the show lends itself to be the perfect vehicle to show bauer's unpredictability (although by the later seasons you've begun to expect the ridiculous already).
i said earlier that i found 24, but in some sense, 24 found me. i once considered myself a patriotic guy, us history was actually my favorite subject in high school (i actually enjoyed watching movies like gettysburg in class). i also considered the military (a very short fleeting idea) as a possible career option when i was younger. so, it was no surprise that i'd relate to jack bauer. he is who i'd want to be if i were a true badass. a patriot that has strong believes that he would die for and principles he will never forsake. one quote from season one sums up his personality well:
"You can look the other way once, and it's no big deal, except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time, and pretty soon that's all you're doing; compromising, because that's the way you think things are done."
bauer's machiavellian and uncompromising attitude while good for saving the world, proves disastrous. he continually sacrifices everything in pursuit of protecting his family and his country, which turns him into a modern day tragic hero. the collateral damage from his actions are a curse for the kind of life he lives, he cannot both serve in the role of the country's protector and have strong personal relationships. equally compelling as finding out how jack just pwns everyone in sight is relation to the sacrifices he must make in order to accomplish his mission.
i became so engrossed in the show that i finished 4 seasons within a week. that's prob around 60 hours of television in a 168 hour period. i became so obsessed that i started humming the theme song whenever i was doing something epic (like trying to convince my sister that jack bauer would definitely rent a golf cart to cruise around in when visiting the palace of versaille, what i dubbed the "justice tour") i probably watched season 1 around 4 times or so, which is kind of like the equivalent of watching a movie 48 times (the only movie i've watched that many times is the matrix, which is probably around 100+ times).
i mean jack bauer just makes you want to kick ass in the name of justice. i mean it was so lol when kiefer sutherland head butted jack mccollough when they got into a verbal spat, part of me was like, there must've been a good reason for JACK, er i mean kiefer to do such a thing.
i must say though that 24 has indeed run its course. the whole show became somewhat formulaic after a while. season 6 was terrible, season 7 was slightly less so, and season 8 was pretty meh except for the last 8 hours, and then the ending was meh. and now, i cannot really conceive of a possible world where a single person would
a) go through that many ridiculous days
b) be right in almost every situation in terms of what the best course of action to take is
c) survive every single life threatening scenario he comes across (including voluntarily stopping his own heart to fake death)
d) not go insane after all those days
it's good that it's at its end, though the series finale kind of left it open for a sequel. however, while the ending shows the unraveling of bauer's psychological well being after having everything taken from him, it does not really provide a good enough closure for his story. i hope that will be resolved in the movie that will be made later this year.
it's strange that it almost feels like a relationship is ending after watching shows like 24 and lost. i wonder how much more it must feel like that for the cast and writers of those shows.