Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another day, another 24...

All things considered, Day Five of 24 was pretty doggoned awesome.

Here's what I loved the best about this season:
  • Jack's back, baby. Day Five gave us plenty of vintage, hardcore Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). That's what we tune in every Monday night to see.

  • Chloe O'Brian: World's Hottest Super-Geek. Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) started the day getting jiggy with an honest-to-goodness boyfriend, and ended it arm-in-arm with an ex-husband we didn't even imagine she had. You go, nerd girl. (I'm still waiting for that Jack-Chloe hookup, though. Now that would be Must-See TV.)

  • The dead did not rise. The show where anything can happen did not find a way to resurrect either of its star villainesses from previous seasons, Nina Myers or Sherry Palmer. Let dead female dogs lie.

  • Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy. Peter Weller, the erstwhile Buckaroo Banzai and Robocop, made a wicked cool turncoat bad guy. You just knew the moment would come when Jack would have to take him down, and he did. With extreme prejudice.

  • So long, Edgar. Chloe's perpetually pouty would-be suitor Edgar Stiles (Louis Lombardi) got the infamous silent countdown clock following his death. A fitting send-off for a character who had served his function.

  • No Kim, almost. The planet's most annoying offspring, Jack's daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), made only the briefest of appearances this season, and wasn't given the opportunity to make the usual nuisance of herself. If we never see that little bimbo again, it'll be too soon.

  • The ridiculous remained sublime. The show managed to avoid its usual penchant for stretching the boundaries of credulity beyond the breaking point. Almost every turn of events made sense (at least within the already fantastic context of the series) this year. Good job, writers.

  • New characters rock. Unlike last season, where several of the new additions to the primary cast wore out their welcome quickly, I enjoyed the character arcs of martyr-in-the-making Lynn McGill (Sean Astin), lead terrorist Vladimir Bierko (Julian Sands, who managed not to amputate anyone's limbs all season), Vice President Hal Gardner (Ray Wise), and especially Homeland Security honcho Karen Hayes (Jayne Atkinson) and her craven batman, the ambiguously gay Miles Papazian (Stephen Spinella). I really hope Karen returns next season, as I'd like to see how the relationship between her and CTU head Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) develops.

  • Cliffhangers! Nice way to wrap the season, with Bauer in the clutches of the Chinese secret service. "Tomorrow" should be a whale of a ride.
And now, for the handful of items that didn't work for me this season:
  • President Loser. Man, was Gregory Itzin's POTUS Charles Logan the most obnoxious character in the history of television, or what? And could we be any more obvious, casting department, in lining up an actor who is the spitting image of Richard Nixon? Thank goodness we won't have Logan to kick around next season.

  • First Lady sings the blues. Jean Smart is a talented actress, but I got nearly as sick of her drippy, mentally unbalanced Martha Logan as her husband did. And the seduction scene in the finale? Doctor, my eyes!

  • Jack's abominable taste in women. Either he goes for the hyperactive anorexic type (typified by Kim Raver's pointless Audrey Raines) or the hippie hausfrau type (typified by Connie Britton's Diane Huxley, the woman Jack lived with during his between-seasons disappearance). Can we hook the man up with a real woman, please? Fortunately, Raver is committed to another show in the fall (The Nine), so we won't be seeing much, if any, of her skinny butt around these parts next year.

  • Only the good die young. I was sorry to see three of my favorite regulars — former President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) and husband-and-wife operatives Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) and Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) go down in blazes of glory. Some smart producer should cast the fetching Aylesworth in another series, like, yesterday.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Tom Galloway offered these pearls of wisdom...

The one thing that really annoyed me about this day is that it never should have happened. It's never explained 1) how Christopher knew Jack was still alive (and as I recall, he sure seemed surprised when Jack popped up in his office) 2) how Christopher knew exactly which four people knew Jack was still alive 3) why the heck you target the non-Palmer three of those *and* try to frame Jack as Palmer's killer since all that's gonna do is insure Jack's coming back to go medieval on you. I don't think Palmer's death alone (at least sans Jack-a-like) brings him out of deep cover. And the last thing any sane/competant type like Christopher would want to do is have Jack get involved.

Trivia note; as far as I can tell, Martha Logan and Jack Bauer never appeared in a scene together, the only time I can recall two characters in the star credits managing to avoid this for a whole season.

1:22 PM  

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