Honestly, not having a TV, I kind of miss this stuff -really great fun!

May 27th 2010 Economist Magazine
The world according to “24”
Agent improbable

Jack Bauer is a cartoon. Yet some people take him seriously
http://www.economist.com/world/united- states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=16219301

A GROUP of terrorists is planning to kill millions of Americans. Only one man can stop them: Jack Bauer. Unfortunately, he has been imprisoned in a secret facility. And tortured. Then decapitated and fed to boars. “Fortunately,” says the president’s chief of staff, “he was trained for exactly that.”
   That was a spoof of “24” by Dave Barry, a comic writer. But the real thing is not much more realistic. In a typical day, Agent Bauer is shot and stabbed more often than he takes bathroom breaks, but it never seems to slow him down. The last two episodes of the eighth (and allegedly final) series of Fox’s hit show, which aired on May 24th, were as furiously absurd as ever. Russia is involved in a Middle Eastern plot to set off a nuclear weapon in New York, which the American president hushes up for reasons viewers quickly forget because—Dammit Chloe, there’s no time!—Bauer is disembowelling a bad guy to retrieve a SIM card with vital information on it that he has swallowed.

   The central conceit was a brilliant one. The action takes place in real time. Each episode is an hour of an action-packed day. A digital clock ticks loudly on the screen. The suspense is excruciating. The show was perfectly timed to resonate with real-world events: it began shortly after September 11th, 2001. Yet it long ago lost all contact with reality. An African general sends frogmen under the White House to assassinate the president. A private military contractor based in Virginia decides that it would be commercially wise to declare war on the federal government. And so it goes.
   All this is harmless fantasy, of course. Or is it? A disconcerting number of Americans take “24” seriously. During a televised debate in 2007, Tom Tancredo, a Republican presidential candidate, was asked what methods he would authorise to extract information from a terrorist suspect in a “ticking bomb” scenario. “I’m looking for Jack Bauer at that time, let me tell you,” he said. Bauer routinely tortures terrorists in disgusting ways to save innocent lives. Being a fictional character, he never tortures the wrong guy or extracts false information. Real life is not like that. Yet a Pew poll last year found that half of Americans think that torturing terrorist suspects can “sometimes” or “often” be justified. Only a quarter said “never”.

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