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24 and How It Fits into Many Genres

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Essay title: 24 and How It Fits into Many Genres

A genre is a group of texts that have similar features(Messere,2006) ; genre is another word for category (1957, Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language). In television shows are placed in categories such as situation comedies, soap operas, cartoons and all types of dramas. Sometimes a new show comes along and can not be placed in to any existing category without denying certain aspects of that show(Creighton,2003). The show takes bits and pieces from different categories and then must be placed into its own category. The show I looked at Fox’s 24 dose just that. 24 takes from different genres such as crime dramas, political dramas, espionage dramas, and political dramas and makes a genre all for itself. On top of that 24 has something that no show has, it is brought to you in real time. Real Time means that every minute on the show is actually a minute in the characters lives; one show takes an hour out of your life as well as the characters. This plus the fact that 24 borrow all theses pieces from different kinds of dramas will help me prove that 24 is a Real time crime/political/espionage drama with romantic tendencies(Cochern,Surnow,2001). To further help me prove this I will be looking at the show through the critical method of genre criticism. Through out this essay I will exhibit the certain parts of 24 that make me think that this show is in a genre by itself.

The text I analyzed is Fox’s 24, which stars Keither Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit (C.T.U) agent Jack Bauer. Bauer with the help of other C.T.U agents, government officials, other law enforcement agencies, and snitches must foil a terrorist threat in America. In this particular season (3), Jack has been undercover working to bring down the Salazar drug empire. He has just taken care of that case when a dead body carrying the Corrdia virus is left at an Los Angeles Health Unit . Jack is thrust back into action to find out where this virus and the body came from, and if anyone else is potentially carrying the virus. During this time the other characters are involved in not just the search for the virus but their own personal issues such as Tony Almeida and Michelle Desslers marriage, Chase Edmonds and Kim Bauer’s relationship, President Palmers re-election campaign, Wayne Palmers adultery issues and Jack’s love life.24 is a show that is presented in real time meaning that each show is an hour of the day. A season consists of Twenty-four episodes, the equivalent to one day hence the name of the show 24. I looked at the hour of 8:00pm-9:00pm, but I also have seen every episode to date (3/19/06) of the series.

I will be using the critical method of genre criticism to prove my point that 24 is in its own genre. Television genre criticism is rooted in both film genre theory and criticism, and rhetorical criticism (Gorbeck, Vande Burg, Wenner).I’ll look at 24 through an inductive genre analyses. Inductive genre analyses develops a description of a potential genre recurring features by identifying and analyzing the shared similarities among these texts(Gorbeck, Vande Burg, Wenner). I will be looking at the semantic and syntactic features within 24 that place the show in its own genre (Altman,1995). genre criticism uses many different approaches to analyze the text. I will also look at 24 in a ritual approach. A ritual approach focuses on underlying mythic, culture-typal themes, and often uses a semiotic/structural analysis(Messere,2006). Rick Altman(1995) description of the ritual approach is “sees Hollywood as responding to societal pressure and thus expressing audience desires”.

24 is a crime/political/espionage drama with romantic tendencies. While watching this show I noticed that 24 has elements that consist of many different genres within the show.

Crime-

24 takes has elements of that of a crime show such as, The Shield (Chiklis, Mazzara, White, 2002), Law and Order(wolf,1990), The C.S.Is(Harms,1999), New York Undercover (Wolf, 1994) and NYPD Blue(Arkadre, Kevin, 1993). Jack is a somewhat typical cop, he shots first asks questions later. He is always focused on solving crimes, getting the next lead, breaking the perp, and saving the day. He is sort of like The Shield’s (Chiklis, Mazzara, White, 2002) main character Vic Mackey in that they do what they have to do to get results. They will break the rules as long as that they solve the case. An example of this is that Jack breaks Ramon Salazar out of prison to stop Ramуn’s brother Hector from releasing the corrdia virus on Los Angeles (LA). Jack starts a riot that gets many officers killed and hurt, but its o.k. as long as Jack saves the country again. The same goes for Vic Mackey he beats suspects, blackmails witnesses and trades money and drugs for information and all is forgiven as long as he brings in the bad guy. Ritually speaking this is prevalent in most crime dramas,

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