Today was supposed to be a completely different column, but I got so excited watching 24 last night, and then I noticed that the next Potpourri would be the 24th one, so I decided to combine the two, with my review and some extra potpourri. Also, at the end I have listed the Hoody Award nominations one more time. The deadline is October 31, at midnight, if you want to vote.

24 FOX
In 2001 the nation was still reeling with the after-effects of 9/11, and watching it on the news every night. There was uncertainty whether a show about terrorists, assassination attempts, and other general mayhem would catch on. But it turned out that America was ready for some escapist action, and 24 became an underground hit.

The premise of the show was that each episode was done in "real time," an hour of the characters' lives during one frantic day. The first season ended with something incredible, that sort of set the bar for guts in programming, so that everyone had high expectations for Season 2, which didn't disappoint in its opener, including a jaw-dropping scene for the main character. The whole season ran pretty much that way.

Which brings us to Season 3, which debuted last night. The expectations were high, as 24 has become "Event Television." They even aired it as one long piece, without commercial interruption, like a movie. The show, if you managed to watch it, was slower than in years' past, but I could live with that okay, partly because I saw how many new characters and plot-lines were being established, and also because I'm a fan of the slow-building tension that just eats at your gut.

So I was happy watching with my family, calming my mother down who asked about every other thing happening, as if some how my dad and I were supposed to magically know what's going on. Then came the twist at the end.

Perhaps not as rawly visceral as last year, but still it felt like a mule kick in the head. People, if you never watch TV, shows like 24 are reason to start. This show in particular is a roller coaster ride if there ever was one. You never know who to trust, you never know what will happen, you never know who will die. It's not a show to believe in. It's a show to watch and enjoy. And on that level, it's as good as it gets. Tuesdays.