Hollywood long has been known for—ahem—taking liberties with the truth (just ask any composite character). In this video gallery, longtime HPAC Engineering Editorial Advisory Board member Ron Wilkinson, a professional engineer who moonlights as a film critic, takes a look at 11 movies and two TV series whose makers were not about to let HVAC fundamentals get in the way of a good story.

 

24, Season 5, episodes 12 ("6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.") and 13 ("7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.") (2006)

Winner of the 2006 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, Season (Day) 5 of “24” sees former Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who faked his death 18 months earlier, pressed back into action when his friend, former U.S. President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), is assassinated and three former colleagues are targeted for death. Bauer soon discovers the president, Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin), is part of a plot involving 20 canisters of VX nerve gas, which fall into the hands of terrorists. In Episode 12, the terrorists break into CTU headquarters and release a canister in the electrical room. Oddly, the electrical room is being used as an air-supply plenum for the entire building. Only the rapid closure of multiple space-age, bullet-proof, explosion-proof, airtight doors saves those in the main control room (the series’ stars). The situation worsens in Episode 13, as a corrosive agent that had been added to the gas is slowly eating away at the space-age seals. The plucky group devises a daring plan: Bauer will enter the VX-saturated area and fix the seals. Lucky for Bauer, the gas eats space-age seals, not humans. He holds his breath, runs to the failing seals, opens his official CTU emergency seal pack, and pulls out … DUCT TAPE! He quickly sticks down the duct tape, and the room is purified with fresh air in about 30 seconds. (HVAC engineers, if you don’t have a roll of duct tape in your desk, get one immediately. Be prepared.)

All that is left to do is reset the balky energy-management system and restore ventilation to the building, and CTU will be back up and running. Whatever VX is unleashed on Los Angeles will, presumably, go unnoticed among all of the other pollutants and contribute its own spectrum to the city’s famous sunsets.

Below is the entire 24-hour season boiled down to a 7-minute fan-made trailer. Clips from the scenes described above are shown between the 2:24 and 2:58 marks.