Among Jack Bauer’s many death defying stunts you can now add jumping the shark.
For my money the season got off to a bad start when they nuked Valencia. Forget that Magic Mountain would be closed for the next 99 1/2 years, an event that cataclysmic was so jarring that the show stopped being escapist fun. And the reality is, were a nuclear bomb to explode in a populated area it would kill far more than 12,000 and cause the rest of the population to shit in their pants. There would be mass hysteria, a giant exodus out of LA, emergency and disaster units sent to the scene, and the President of the United States might not just move on to other things in an hour. It’s stretching believability to think Jack can get from downtown to the Mojave Desert in eleven minutes but this event was too big to just let slide on creative license.
As was accepting that the evil mastermind behind everything this year was Jack’s father. How convenient was that? Are we going to learn next year that his mom was Golda Meir?
Producers tried to delve into the characters’ personal lives and it didn’t work. Yeah, I guess Jack has father issues if daddy’s a Bond villain. Will Chloe have a reconciliation with her ex-husband? Since it was fairly impossible to understand what her ex, Morris was saying half the time anyway I have no idea. I’m not sure she does either.
Whenever they add a new woman character to the show that is hot you can bet she’ll be tortured. The minute I first saw Nadia (Marisol Nichols -- pictured right) I thought, round up the rednecks and drunk frat boys, there’s gonna be a whuppin’! And sure enough by hour seven, she was tied to a chair, squirming and pleading.
And so the geeks in the audience wouldn't feel cheated, there was the scene where Peter MacNichol got to sit in a van and watch as the VP’s assistant had sex with a Russian spy. A lot of chat rooms were empty for that five minute period.
The 24 story line always has that feeling they’re just making it up as they go along but no more so than this year. Whatever happened to the President’s sister’s boyfriend getting beaten up? Or those suitcase nukes? Or Jean Smart? And Jack kills loyal agent and good friend Curtis? Oh well…time to move on.
Ricky Schroder was then brought in to do everything that Curtis used to do except we all LIKED Curtis. And he's the SILVER SPOONS kid. When he tried to be a bad ass I kept expecting the terrorist to send him to his room.
What exactly is Karen Hayes’ job? And how many times can one person quit, be reinstated, fired, re-hired, put into custody, and released within one day? It was like Opie & Anthony's entire career distilled down into one day.
Then CTU is invaded (again). Great impenetrable security. Anyone can just slip in by coming up through the employees lounge. Jack got to play DIE HARD in a government nerve center, one of the cast members was killed (Milo ain’t Edgar, sorry), and producers saved money by not needing outside sets or location shooting for two episodes. Next year I expect four agents to die when terrorists plant mold in CTU (but it’s the kind of killer mold that only lasts one hour so it’s business as usual after that). I was surprised, by the way, that Milo stayed dead. Considering he sustained an arm injury earlier and was able to ditch the sling in two hours, I figured he had healing powers almost as amazing as Jack’s (who was shot, knifed, bruised in the ribs but felt no ill effects).
And ultimately the world is put to the brink of World War III because Jack has to save Audrey Raines. “Check please!”
I love 24…or at least I did. I also appreciate how hard it is to keep the suspense going and find new problems to solve. So I’ll be back next season.
Hey, anyone can have a “bad day”.
But it’s time to shake up the format. Set it somewhere else. Lose the Presidential subplot. I dunno. But if I may make a suggestion as a loyal viewer who only wants to love 24 and cheer – let Jack get us out of Iraq. And bring back Jean Smart.