24:Larry Watson/FOX
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TV Show
June 07, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT


11:23 a.m. So here I am, holding myself hostage in my apartment because my editors have asked me to watch all 24 episodes of Fox’s terrorism thriller ”24” — in one sitting!

3 p.m. Hours pass. I drink what seems like gallons of water, and I’m realizing that Kiefer Sutherland is one handsome man. Especially when he’s in trouble. I’m also realizing that fast-forward is my new best friend. Without commercials, 24 hours of ”24” should only take me about 19 hours.

7 p.m. The guy who delivers my burrito is the only live human I’ll see today. Meanwhile, the new boss of the C.T.U., twinkly-eyed know-it-all Alberta Green, has just arrived on screen, and her arrogance makes me want to smack her. Or maybe I’m just starving.

11:35 p.m. It’s dark out, and I’m done with the first 12 episodes, already into the series’ second half, which people say isn’t quite as good. We’ll see…


4:45 a.m. My legs are cramped, and I swear terrorists are hiding in my bathroom. I’m in a state of mind where I want to WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPS, AND I WOULD ALMOST KILL TO RUN DOWNSTAIRS AND DANCE IN THE STREETS. Kiefer’s daughter Kim is in prison, telling off a surly cellmate. I relate a little too much.

5:54 a.m. I’m almost out of cigarettes — and yet, I’m also really into this show. ”24” has me hooked because every single character, from the night-shift waitress to terrorism mastermind Dennis Hopper, is motivated by the same basic human desire: finding peace. Bob Marley was right — we’re all part of one big, conflicted love. And, no, I haven’t taken any drugs!

6:13 a.m. I’ve just finished all 24 episodes, and I’m sad, which isn’t what I expected to feel at the end of this marathon. Sutherland’s Jack Bauer only had 24 hours to save his wife, daughter, and a presidential candidate from ruthless foreign killers. My challenge: to figure out why I love this show that seemed, in the beginning, like the sort of shoot-em-up espionage stuff I would hate. And, I have to do it before I pass out. Here goes…

Nobody ever told me ”24” would be as much about cheating spouses as CIA moles. Move over Tony and Carmela Soprano. Jack and Teri Bauer’s rocky relationship is every bit as messed up, without the language but with a bit less bloodshed. Teri with her I-could-sell-feminine-hygiene-products face. And Jack…well, he’s Kiefer Sutherland. That voice! Those eyes! I feel for Teri, whose basic curse in life is loving the wrong man — who also happens to be a great guy. Teri’s mixed emotions about being pregnant, and her gnawing sense that loving Jack isn’t good for her, gave me the strength to stay in and finish this assignment, even though my cousin called to invite me out for drinks.

TV Show
Joel Surnow,
Robert Cochran
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