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.