I had never seen it. In fact, the only thing I knew for sure about "24" was that Jack Bauer is like Chuck Norris crossed with Mr. T, but with Indiana Jones' resourcefulness and James Bond's determination. In other words, I expected my television to explode from awesome.
Maybe that was part of the trouble... because those first three hours drove me CRAZY.
OK, so this guy is so damn cool he singlehandedly stops global warming. Jack Bauer sleeps with the lights on - because the dark is afraid of Jack Bauer. And what does CTU decide to do after the Chicoms kidnap him at the end of last season? What anyone else would do when the person in question has saved the world five times - they let him ROT for 20 months. And then, when they do get around to bringing him back, they've only done it to give him to some OTHER mortal enemy who wants America dead. (Starting with Jack.) NOT ONLY THIS, but they also give the Mortal Enemy access to all our satellites and communications frequencies.
Who wrote this episode, Harold Pinter?
Mind you - this would be like the Patriots losing Tom Brady in free agency, waiting two seasons for their entire team to fall apart, and then trading away their only four remaining good players to get him back - only to then trade him away again, with draft picks, for a punter. Maybe Bill Belichick should run CTU, because nobody else can.
Naturally, they do this and then don't plan some sort of contingency so they can track the other guy, too. I mean, why on earth wouldn't you trust a shady Islamofascist who wants to kill your best operative? And then, after Jack escapes anyway (because people pass out from his badassedness, leaving the coast clear), nobody thinks to say - ok, we left him here, he showed up there an hour later, and the other guy had him for half of that hour. They can't use all of that to maybe get within the general neighborhood and start searching?
There's more, and some of it involves spoilers, but let's just say that there was a great deal of coming up small in a big situation in those three hours - including the dad of the neighbors (you know the guy, the half-fading white afro candy ass) who decides to drive away and do the kid terrorist's bidding. Nobody owns a gun? You can't drive away, park, walk back and cap the kid? "I'll kill your family if I see anyone else," he says, but the genius is sitting WITH HIS BACK TO THE LIVING ROOM WINDOW.
If all else fails, drive off, call the cops, and then double back around and plow through the damned window with your damned car. It's hard for Kid Idiot to shoot people when he's changing your oil the hard way. And then, guess what? You have the address for the drop, the last phone number the kid dialed, and ample time to get Jack Bauer on line two. (I'd aim for Bauer directly, mind you, and not go through channels - they'd arrest you and blow up your house.)
Instead, the candy afro guy decides to go ahead with what Kid Idiot wants, to the point of killing another guy INSTEAD OF THE TERRORIST. And don't say that Kid Idiot had a gun - so did the guy he killed. It didn't stop Candy Afro from rushing him.
Of course, the only guy who has a clue is the jackass neighbor who is obviously an eeeeevil Islamophobe - and who gets whacked for his jackassery. Naturally, the crusading good guy of the hour is the lady who preaches to the FBI about how everything they do is illegal, then the moment they show up with an actual warrant from a real judge (with a gavel and everything), she destroys the files they've requested. And lectures them more.
Not that she wasn't enabled. Ol' Tom Paris there knows that she's a preachy little holier-than-thou, but he and both his agents leave her alone after serving the warrant. I thought that they were there primarily to keep an eye on her while he did the search - but NOPE. Brilliant move, Kasparov. (The only guy with the huevos to actually call BS on her is the Islamic guy who was arrested with her - and BTW, that was HER FAULT because he had nothing to do with it.)
I could go on...but then again, I couldn't. Really. I bailed after the third hour. They were all just too stupid. God, I hope that's not a realistic portrayal, because if it is, we may all have to move to Iceland or something.