Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Previously on 24...

In case you haven't been paying attention, the current season of 24 rocks. Hard.

As contrived as the show's premise — each season's events encompass a single 24-hour day, which unfolds in more-or-less-real time over 24 hours (including commercial space) of programming — forces it to be, 24's writers manage to keep inventing new ways to yank viewers to the edge of the sofa and hold them there, trembling in anticipation.

One of the show's trump cards is the fact that no character — other than Jack Bauer, the tough-as-nails Counter-Terrorist Unit (CTU) agent played by Kiefer Sutherland — is safe from annihilation. This fifth season began with the assassinations of two of the show's most beloved figures, former President David Palmer (played with baritone gravitas in each of the first four seasons by Dennis Haysbert, now of The Unit) and agency administrator Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth). Then, just in the last two weeks, computer geek Edgar Stiles (Louis Lombardi) and new CTU boss Lynn McGill ("special guest star" Sean Astin, forever to be known around our house as "the fat hobbit") bought the farm. In the concluding seconds of last night's episode, longtime CTU stalwart Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) also appeared to get cashiered, but we'll have to wait until next Monday night to be certain. (At least, as certain as anything ever gets in the world of 24.)

When 24 premiered five seasons ago, I thought it was strictly a one-off. I frankly didn't believe the "real time" gimmick could work more than once. How mistaken I was. Despite the constant need, for dramatic purposes, to stretch the boundaries of "real time" beyond the point of credulity (characters on 24 routinely navigate significant distances in traffic-impacted Los Angeles within suspiciously brief timeframes, to cite one egregious and oft-repeated quibble), the production team does brilliant work keeping things fresh, fast-paced, and frenetically intense.

The only thing the show still needs: A love match between Jack and CTU's geeky technology guru, Chloe O'Brian (the one and only Mary Lynn Rajskub, who carefully treads that emphemeral space between eccentric-yet-endearing and disturbingly weird). I'd pay money to see that.

I can't imagine how a new viewer would step into the show in midseason and decipher all of the goings-on, but if you aren't already scheduling your Monday evenings around 24, now would be as good a time as any to start.


2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger MooTaylor offered these pearls of wisdom...

24 is THE best TV show around today. After last night's episode after McGill and Tony dying (I think he's dead, there's no turning back there), I don't think anyone is safe including Jack. Though Jack is the "STAR" - I have a feeling that the writers will somehow tick off viewers with this season ending in Jack's death. Who in there right mind would continue if Jack isn't there? Every Monday there's one *GASP*, and last night was Tony's death. BTW, the phone is blocked during the hour 24 is on. Family and work will just have to call back.

10:42 AM  
Blogger muldraker offered these pearls of wisdom...

Maybe Tony's not dead. At least, I'm hoping he isn't. I hate it that they would keep him around, show him every once in a while, and then kill him off. I loved it that when they weren't showing Jack in the field, they were showing Tony at CTU.

A fate worse than death is threatened on anyone who dares to even look at me during an episode of 24, let alone ring my phone.

1:46 PM  

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