24 Show Format
24 is a television series about an anti-terror agent, whom has exactly 24 hours per episode to stop a terror plot from taking place in the United States. Throughout the series, agent Jack Bauer, has to also deal with personal trials and tribulations, whilst at the same time try to protect America from disaster. The show re-defined what it meant to have high production values, what it meant to tell intelligent stories in which the audience has to pay attention throughout and stay glued to the TV screen. The heavy use of effects, such as, split-screen and jump-cuts are evident throughout the show and used as a form of storytelling, to help the audience keep up with the intense twists and turns on the show. On the other hand, the format means that the action will keep on coming relentlessly. Also the stress and tiredness of the events of the day can be emphasized with clever use of make up and costume (characters get more dirty and more tired as the day progresses).
The Split Screen Effect
One thing that stuck in my head was the constant use of the 'Split-Screen' effect. Anyone who is a fan of music-videos will be used to the split-screen tool being used to tell many different stories within a story. The specific use of split-screen in ‘24’ is very reminiscent of music videos by Destiny's Child and Micheal Jackson, used to stretch out the storyline and improve the narrative within a short time-frame. In the Destiny's Child song 'Emotion' a scene may open with three or four split screens, some of which provide a view inside a room or building that the character in shot has yet to enter. In ‘24’ a similar style is used, action is shown from multiple angles, some of which don’t immediately make sense. The use of split-screen requires the viewer to pay attention; ‘24’ is not a program one can breeze through with one eye on something else.