A/V Room









24 - Season One, The Unofficial Guide

Review by Jack Foley

CONSPIRACY theorists of the world united to get behind the first series of 24 - one of the most exciting dramas to come out of US TV in ages.

Beginning with the now classic tagline, 'right now, terrorists are plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate, my wife and daughter are in danger, and people that I work with may be involved in both', the series then proceeded to deliver 24 scintillating episodes of real-time drama that had viewers hooked.

Much of the strength lay in its ability to tease the viewer and offer plot twist after plot twist, along the way to its jawdropping finale - a humdinger of a cliffhanger which expertly set things up for season 2.

What's more, such was the post-episode euphoria which greeted each Sunday night, that people couldn't wait to talk about it, establishing Internet forums to discuss what they had just seen and their own ideas on what would happen next!

Never one to miss a neat trick, the Contender Entertainment Group had expertly tapped into the excitement surrounding the series by releasing an unofficial guide, which comes complete with a detailed breakdown of the events as they unfold, as well as comments, anecdotes and any questions arising from each episode.

And while it may sound like one for the anoraks only, there is no denying that reading up on all of the conspiracies is fun.

The research has been thorough, particularly during the post-episode commentary, which gives you everything from geographical history of the locations used (buildings, cities, etc), to background info on the implications of the assassination of President John F Kennedy (surely, the starting point for 24), and the role of women in the series.

Interesting, too, is the fact that the internet was apparently flooded with complaints following the season finale, in which viewers were deprived of the comfort zone they had come to expect from safe TV.

The book's summary of this process raises its own questions, while helping to place a knowing smirk on the face of anyone who is sickened by Hollywood's need to give everything a happy ending.

Likewise, the programme's willingness to tackle difficult issues, such as terrorism and its own government's frailties, so soon after 9/11 is considered and even admired by the authors.

As such, it makes for compulsive reading, particularly given that it is willing to criticise as much as it praises, whenever it feels an episode has cheated its viewers, or thrown in a twist for the sake of it.

This is well worth the £7.99 cover price.

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