Call me an addict if you like, but I've watched every season of 24 live on Fox TV as it unfolded in its real-time scenario AND I've watched them all on their subsequent DVD releases -- with the exception of Season 6, at present -- along with their special features and commentaries ... so you can only imagine the kind of outright glee I experienced when I happened across "The Secrets of 24: the Unauthorized Guide to the Political & Moral Issues Behind TV's Most Riveting Drama" on the shelves at the local bookseller, had to have it, and read it right away (a rarity for me if based solely on my ever expanding library of "things to read before I die" library). Like the show, I couldn't put the book down, so much so that it begs me to offer one surprised observation from the getgo: why are these "Secrets" unauthorized? It would appear that many of the essays contained therein either quote what show creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow have publicly said about the program, about its influence, about its topics, etc. Indeed, it appears clear the Cochran and Surnow even dissected some of the pieces presented here in their interviews. It's a mild curiosity more than it is a major gripe, but couldn't the mere act of making this an official sanctioned publication only helped its sales?
Well, enough with the semantics ...
The "Secrets of 24" is a stellar book, the perfect companion for fans of the show's idea. Rather than spend time exploring the various controversies of each series, the authors have collected interviews and essays from think tank types, almost all of exploring some facet of the ideas that fuel the show's popularity. From political differences (both liberals and conservatives love the show but for very different reasons), from academic differences (what does TV say about our society at large versus what does it say about us militarily) and even quick swatches of infotainment (brief interviews with the cast and crew about the show, its impact, and what it all means in the scope of television history) get terrific play between these covers, and there's so much to explore you'll find yourself watching the clock -- inserting your own 'plunk-plunk-plunk' like the show ticks down each approaching second -- hoping to "just read one more page" before going to bed ... until you realize it's morning, and, oh no, work is calling! If you're as jazzed about the exploits of Jack Bauer as I am, you won't be able to put this one down.
I'll admit that I generally don't put a whole lot of stake into what comes out of any actor's mouth when they're sermonizing about the evils of our world, but, thankfully, "Secrets" avoids most of the pratfalls by having these contributors focus on 24 as a phenomenon, even when they don't so much see the show in that vein. From politics to people, from terrorists to Tinseltown, everyone here has something to say. There are admittedly a handful of interviews that don't so much relate to 24 as they could have, but, all in all, these "Secrets" are best shared amongst the fans of the award-winning TV series. If anything, this book will help you pass the time waiting for another day in the life of Jack Bauer ... and reliving the old ones.
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