Why You Should Not Watch 24

Sorry for the barrage of posts, but I'm home today and trying to catch up.

Fans of the Fox series 24 will no doubt be insulted by the title of this post.  I'm sorry, but this is for your own good.  I've only watched a few episodes of 24.  The first season I watched the premier because I thought it was a cool concept.  There wasn't a lot of hype back then, and I figured it wouldn't last.  I didn't get addicted because I was in seminary and only had time to watch WB shows (Everwood & Gilmore Girls).  Sad, I know.

The next time I watched an episode was here in Idaho.  It was a rerun from I'm not sure which season.  I quickly got into it for all the reasons everyone else did.  Then in the very next episode Jack had to shoot a good guy in cold blood to stop a terrorist attack.  I tried to take this in stride, "Its just a TV show," I told myself.  But it really seemed unnecessary.  In fact I would definitely say it was gratuitous.  There are all kinds of addictions in the world.  Most of us don't think about violent images and thrilling situations as addictive, but I think having a taste of these things make us want more.  I did not want to get hooked on a show that made me feel the way that episode did.  So I swore off 24.

In the last few weeks, we've landed on 24 a couple of nights flipping channels (we only have like 15 channels and most of them are public television, not that there's anything wrong with that).  It started with the deal where Jack was helping some African boys escape forced combat.  That gave me the impression that we were dealing with a new, compassionate, socially aware 24.  So we watched an episode here and there.

Just when I was starting to get into it and figure out some of the side plots, it happened again.  There was violence all along the way, but it was bearable (why would we enjoy watching something that was "bearable"?).  Then last night we watched a knife murder presented in a very realistic way.  It was such compelling television that it was hard to turn away.  However, a voice in my head told me this was not right.  We should not be entertained by this.  I want to keep watching for exactly the wrong reasons.  If I can watch this fictitious account and not be upset by it then I have become too callous.  I don't want to be that way.

24 goes way too far.  I don't believe in strong censorship, but I do believe in responsibility.  This is not a show that anyone should CHOOSE to watch.  This is a show that could still be good and exciting and even meaningful without reveling in such violent depictions.  I realize there are bloodier shows on TV.  There are more sexual shows on TV.  And there are shows with more foul language.  There is something about the realism, however, that makes 24 harder to stomach.

Call me legalistic if you want to.  Just think about it.

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