I've just taken in the second half of the four-hour premiere of season five of 24. What a show.
It's stunning, really. The violence, the political moves... this show is more like Syriana than you might expect. Excellent pacing keeps viewers enthralled from start to finish, with huge cliffhangers typically keeping it in our minds until the next episode. With ten minutes remaining in the fourth hour, I was satisfied. Bauer had just averted a negative situation and things were looking up. Of course, you knew something was coming. But they could've removed the commercial breaks and released those first few hours as a movie. Beginning, middle; climax, clincher. It's all there.
But we're only a sixth of the way through Jack's fifth day from hell, so clearly there are many other things at play. While the ending of the fourth episode was admittedly tame (no big cliffhanger for next week), the preview of upcoming episodes had me salivating for more. The benefit of the television format is the additional time to flesh out characters and storylines. Background characters like the First Lady and the Vice President (who looks just like Dick Cheney; creepy) have their own agendas and issues, which should ultimately converge with those of Jack.
It's an excellent show. Four hours in, I can't imagine that it's a good time to start... if you can find a way to catch up by next week, do so. It'll be worth your while.
By the way, I have to write six stories for my college paper this semester, and I'm currently planning on combining and rewriting these two posts about 24 into my first story. I may also write a second story for the first issue. I'll either post my stories or links to online versions when they are published.