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#24. The only show I've religiously watched in the past two years is 24.

Well, all that's changed now that I have TiVo, I suppose. Now I simply don't need to know when a show is on, because the machine will figure it out for me. Now this is technology I can use!

But in the pre-TiVo era (mine, anyway), I had more difficulties. I never knew when anything was on, and I played sports two or three nights a week. So even if I did manage to figure out what I wanted to watch and when, there was a good chance that I'd be away when it aired. And somewhere along the way, setting the VCR to record was a task that I undertook only for the most critical situations. Like taping 24.

I'm not sure why I got so into the show, to be honest. I do like Kiefer Sutherland -- Lost Boys and Young Guns and all that -- but I'm not sure his presence alone would have held my attention through two full seasons. I'm not a teenage girl, after all.

I do like the concept of the show, though. Certainly, the 'real-time' parallel-story aspect is intriguing, and most of the plots have been more or less plausible. Oh, the segments with Jack's daughter got to be pretty old, other than the fact that she was the prettiest eye candy on the show. But could one real-life person get into so many unlikely and diverse jams? For chrissakes, girl, just go home and lie down or something! Leave the child-abusing, wife-beating guy alone, and forget the fool robbing the convenience store, and simply don't go with the scary guy in the woods to his cabin. Just go the hell home already! Honestly. just call a damned cab, all right? You're exhausting me.

And, to be fair, a few of the plot elements have been a little hard to swallow. Certain series of coincidences that stretch the imagination, and some plans that have worked out just a little better than they should (or worse than they should -- did they give Jack an upside-down horseshoe at the beginning of this thing?). But the suspense is there, and if you can overlook the occasional inconsistency, it's one of the more gripping shows on television.

Which is a double-edged sword, of course. I stopped watching ER after about three seasons, because I just couldn't take it any more. So much drama, so many crises. And certainly, a real emergency room can be like that -- I've worked in a hospital myself, and have known quite a few medical personnel. It can be hectic, and overwhelming, and terrifying. But it's not that way every damned day. Of course, the show can't include the lulls and down times -- there's no story there to speak of. But watching emergency after emergency being dealt with for an hour each week stops being entertainment after a while in my book. It just makes me tired.

And I wonder if I've reached that point with 24, too. To be honest, I haven't even watched the last three episodes of the second season. I've got 'em on tape, ready to roll, but my wife and I haven't been able to get ourselves in the mood to watch them. The VCR's been patiently waiting for weeks -- months, now -- but we just aren't interested right now. I'd like to finish it off before the third season gears up, but on the other hand, maybe I'm done with the show. Maybe I've just had a bit too much drama for a while. We'll see, I suppose. If nothing else, I'll set the TiVo up to tape the new season. Maybe I'll just record them all, and we can wait until next year to decide whether we want to watch it. Surely by then we'll be ready to pack our lives with action and suspense again. Life's not all Family Guy and Simpsons, you know. Even if it should be.

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