I’ve been a huge fan of Fox’s 24 since it’s first season. It was a very cool concept, showing events in real-time, one hour per week, for a total of 24 episodes to comprise an entire day. I absolutely loved the clock that appeared at the end of every commercial break, indicating how far along we were in the episode and how long we had left in minutes until the inevitable nail-biting cliff hanger. And like clockwork, every episode ended at the top of the hour with the clock going to :00 just as the clock in my kitchen did.
It’s been the same for five seasons, but for season six of 24 things are different.
Since I watch my programs on Tivo and I have the capability of seeing how far along the program is along the bottom of the screen, I noticed something odd a couple of weeks ago at the end of an episode: At the end of the program (which was supposed to be the top of the hour), there were still 3 minutes left of my one hour recording. I thought that was kind of strange, but I figured maybe it was a fluke.
Well… no, it wasn’t. Now it seems that every week 60 minutes of “24 time” translates into 57 minutes of real time. Maybe it’s one of those pesky Star Trek temporal anomalies…
Now before you chime in with “Duh, dude, don’t forget about the commercials.” remember that every season prior to this one they’ve factored in the time spent on commercials into the clock. So if they went to a 3 minute commercial break at 7:28 on the 24 clock, when the show returned it would show the time as 7:31, showing the elapsed time.
However this season what they’re doing is adding an extra minute over each of 3 commercial breaks, so that by the end of the episode you’ve lost 3 minutes of “24 time.” Compared to the example above, what happens now is that when you come back from commercials, the clock shows 7:32 instead of the correct time of 7:31, and they advance it an additional minute two more times during the episode.
Oh sure, 3 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of the 24 hour day that comprises the season, that adds up to one hour and 12 minutes. That means that over the course of this entire season we’ll actually get one less episode of 24 than we’ve gotten in the past.
Now Fox, you didn’t really think that no one would notice, did you?.