Another season of doltish, action-packed fun is over. America’s soap-operatically inclined counterterrorism force managed to hunt down its generic Muslim nemesis (turned out he was linked to a hot and totally un-hejabbed American hitwoman who was practically right out of an “Austin Powers” fantasy), foil a nuclear cruise missile strike on Los Angeles, and, after all that was done, fake the hero’s death so that he could escape … well, never mind. The final episode with Jack Bauer — Kiefer Sutherland to his dad — heading for Mexico to avoid the consequences of his no-holds-barred approach to defending our way of life.
The important thing is that it’s clear that there will be another season of bad writing, bad acting, and incredibly strained political, military, and romantic scenarios. All that’s certain is that there’s only one man in the America of ’24’ who can get anything done right — and the last we saw of him, he was walking into the sunrise in an L.A. train yard.
2 Replies to “Making America Safe — for ’24’”
I’ve taken a couple of days to digest the finale of 24, and I feel today like I did when the show ended the other night: empty. Not that my life is empty without 24 (well, it might be a bit), but that the final show was kind of empty. Yeah, it had some exciting parts, but I think the show lacked the punch and drama that the others have. The Secret Service showdown at the end was more exciting than blowing up the missile over LA. And Jack walking off into the sunrise? Well, I already know that 24 is reupped for another season, so Jack will be back. (If you don’t think he’ll be back, you don’t know Jack – sez the tagline.) Maybe I’m just feeling a bit like a chump for having ridden the 24 train all season, then being a little unsatisfied with the final hour. Maybe Lost will be better tonight. That’s a good show.
You’re so right about “24.” To be serious for a moment, the show is a travesty. Making an honestly engaging show that entertains with fine acting and writing and by bringing up scenarios and issues that actually move people and relate to their lives — it’s not an impenetrable mystery how to do that. Yes, it’s very hard to do. But examples abound, both on cable (especially the HBO stable) and on broadcast. I’m not saying that “Law and Order,” “CSI,” “Numbers,” “Lost,” “The West Wing,” or any of those are at the apex of modern thought and culture, but hell, that’s not the point anyway. Each appears to make an honest-to-goodness effort to treat storytelling and maybe even issues seriously, treating characters seriously, treating the audience seriously.
“24” does none of that. At the end of the season, all they’re trying to do this point is put a plausible wrap on a series of implausible — actually, the term I’ve used before is “cartoonish” — events and characters. For god’s sake, they’ve resurrected Jack Bauer twice from apparent death in just four seasons (and in both cases, he just went picked up right where he left off as if nothing happened). Anyway, it’s clear that Fox doesn’t really care, because they have an audience that goes along with the nonsense. And they also have nearly eight months before they go into the next season — plenty of time a)for the audience to forget how lame and flat the recently concluded production was and b)for the marketing geniuses to spin the bejeezus out of the wonders in store for next year.
The only thing I’m uncertain of is whether I’ll be watching or not.