It pains me to say this, but it looks as if 24 has finally jumped the shark. (On a separate note, has "jumped the shark" now jumped the shark as well?)
The Fox show has never been more popular, and before you accuse me of going off on one of those "the show was awesome when only a few of us cool people watched, but now that the masses are hip to it it sucks" elitist rants, hear me out. Let's go through this point by point:
1. Real time no longer
The original gimmick on the show was a unique one - the entire season took place in real time. It didn't take long for that to be ignored, to the point now where every single location in Los Angeles is roughly 10 minutes away from CTU. Unless CTU Headquarters is on some sort of floating base, this makes no sense. Not to mention how hair doesn't get mussed, facial hair doesn't sprout, and painful injuries seem to heal quickly without the benefit of medication. I don't know about you, but if someone put a 10 inch drill into my freaking shoulder, I don't think I'd be well enough to go back to work for at least a week.
2. Recycled plot points
CTU is compromised, again. Someone wants to take out the President via the 25th amendment....again. Someone wants to kill the President, again. Another CTU employee with a speaking role is shockingly killed....again. You get the idea.
3. LA - Center of Doom
Since the show is based mostly in LA, the vast majority of terror activity is centered there. This way, Jack Bauer and company are always 10 minutes away from locating and stopping said terror.
4. Hanging plot points
Former President Logan is suddenly shoehorned back into the story, as is his crazy wife Martha and ex-Secret Service agent Aaron Pierce. Within two episodes, after stretching the plot enough to make it so Martha has to stop being batshit crazy long enough to talk to the Soviet first lady, which in turn will prevent an international incident (don't ask), Martha goes off the rails and stabs her ex-husband in the chest. As the clock ticks down to close out the hour, Charles is in the ambulance, crashing, and utters a plaintive "Maaaarthaaa..." as he flatlines. This has never been mentioned since, even in a passing manner, by any character, which makes it seems as if the entire thing was dropped in afterwards for pure shock value. Now, there are still three "hours" left, but by now if anyone brings up the Logan's it will be a clumsy attempt to tie up the numerous loose ends.
The whole thing has been very sloppy, and it is at the point now where most viewers can see things coming a mile away (who didn't call Gradenko's arm being chopped off the minute they placed a tracking device in it?) Word is the producers plan on blowing up the format for season seven, and not a moment too soon. Speculation is perhaps the show will span a 24 day period, which at least opens up some possibilities for the characters to travel.
Please, Fox, rescue this show!