Sunday, January 15, 2006
24 is the most exciting show on television. Anything can happen. Catastrophes and personal disasters that pull no punches trash TV's normal rules for acceptable plot twists. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer is ruthless, interesting, sympathetic, intelligent, and relentless in the face of personal tragedy, bureaucratic impediments and terrifying danger. I'm invested in Jack, and also in all the minor characters (and every other character is a minor character). I want to know what will happen next. I root for the good guys, hate the bad ones, and my frustration over the stupid ones, who always come to the wrong conclusion, nearly wrecking the planet with their by-the-book misjudgments, is very disturbing. My heart pounds faster during the show, and stays pounding for some hours after.
However, so far this year, unfortunately, for all the excitement, the great characters, and my involvement, there is nothing new.
During the first two hours we had nothing that has not been on previous seasons. Jack comes back from the "dead". There is an army of bad guys. There is mass hostage taking; a teenager who tries too hard and becomes involved in the action; a love interest who is compromised; important people assassinated; lies; torture, threats, promises and lies leading to information; lots of government officials being dispatched by Bauer; a key insider linked to the plot... etc. Exciting, yes! But it's not new.
Unless things change, we can expect more torture, betrayal, twists, more bodies, Jack going in and out of custody (held alternately by both the good guys and the bad guys); and a lot of terrible threats. We have in previous years (in addition to the items already mentioned) had nuclear explosions and threats of global epidemics. How much worse can it get?
(One non-sequitorial comment: I miss Elisha Cuthbert as Jack's daughter. Since Jack has resurfaced, she ought to contact him. She had thought her father was dead. Now that he is known to be alive, she should spring back into action. In her years on the show, she had the worst, most ridiculous plot lines. But she herself was sympathetic, and I hope she comes back with a classy and intelligent story line.)