Monday, January 10, 2005

Why "24" does not work any more for me

I have been a fan of the television series "24" for some time now. I looked forward to the new season avidly. I feel disappointed in the predictability of the plot.

Some excellent commentary is underway at blogcritics.

A couple of comments I posted there:

Comment 5 posted by Aaman on January 10, 2005 09:57 AM:
Flaws in the opener:

1. Terrible, terrible security for the SecDef - no trackers on his person, no cordoning off of area

2. Jack Bauer fails to tell Andrew (the hacker) how he looks like, although he asks him what he looks like.

3. Given the bloodthirsty nature of the terrorists, it is surprising they would let the teenage girl who followed the kid to the compound, leave. At the very least, they would have taken her in, more typically, they would have killed her in a real-life situation.

Now, for what's really wrong with this whole deal - I understand that it is de rigeur to set a stereotypical Arab-looking gang as the villains, similar perhaps to the Dutch being depicted as pillaging marauders in England in 1670, and vice-versa, but is that the best they can do? If I want terror, I can just read the newspapers, or Spiderman, come to think of it.

And after last night's episode, every teen girl who's got a crush on that hot Middle Eastern dude in her class, and is ignored by him, is gonna be following him around, and running to the cops when he says he's got to do 'some work for his father'.

Comment 6 posted by mike hollihan on January 10, 2005 02:48 PM:

Remember, this is the show that detonated a nuclear bomb in the deserts east of LA. So, "realism" is a relative concept here.

I thought it some stunning daring on the part of "24" to have that webcast of the terrorists dressed and posed like so many of the execution videos we've seen in real life, with the flag backdrop and the SecDef tied up in front. I'm sure we'll be seeing that image with Rumsfeld's face photoshopped on popping up around the web real soon.

As for Aaman's third point, it gets addressed tonight. And how.

I agree "24" started slow in hour one, but by the end of that first hour, I was rivetted, thinking "And we're off."

Comment 7 posted by Aaman on January 10, 2005 04:28 PM:

Is kidnapping the most popular mode of protest? Every season has had at least one.

Comment 8 posted by Temple Stark on January 10, 2005 05:26 PM:

Aaman - well, I'd say kidnapping is a good move for this program - it allows that split screen, different scene effect. Ad differnet scenes there as the victims get dragged aroud.

And those rescue / escapes are dramatic.

But, yeah, good point.

I had a sick feeling with the masked goon squad as well.

Comment 9 posted by Aaman on January 10, 2005 11:30 PM:

Tonight's(Monday) episode was further proof of why sequels never work when the plot device is exposed. It is so evident the writers are trying to set up enough plot devices to keep the action going.
Utter predictability has ruined the show for me. The banality of the office politics makes one hope things are not really that bad in OpCenter or CTU or what have you. The need to keep the dramatic action focused, while at the same time sustained means continuous stretching and over-complication of minor events.

Kiefer Sutherland is the only reason this show is still worth watching. His immersive depiction of Jack Bauer is well depicted, which is more than one can say for the half-baked, stereotypical villains. The token Muslim moderate is thrown in for good measure, but it does not really make it any more realistic.

This is one of the first times my DVR has been used to speedshift through pieces of the actual show, besides the ads. Although there were a couple of nice ads - like the one for Pepsi.

If tense moments happened every hour on the hour, it would be real easy to snooze for the rest of the time, as one is likely to do if the plot does not rise above it's current level.

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