I’m stuck at home with giardia, and I just finished a marathon run of Jack Bauer’s latest adventure-- I feel like the parasites inside my intestines are causing the 24 producers to violently excrete sloppy, stinking turds, as well.
I mean 24 has always been stupid, but you can always manage to suspend your disbelief because it is in-your-face visceral fun. I could not manage that this time. We’ve all come to accept that everyone on the show but Jack is a blithering idiot, but they’ve really outdone themselves this time. If they had replaced the people in charge with that Down-syndrome guy Brady, I don’t think we’d have noticed! Where to begin…
Why do they have to write the vice president as a raving apocalyptically-mad lunatic? “There’s a fly in my soup! NUKE THAT COUNTRY THAT FAYED COMES FROM! DO IT NOW!” Why does everyone go along with it? Have they all taken a drink from the crazy water cooler? What? What? What?
Why do they have to write the Russian president as a raving apocalyptically-mad lunatic? “OH MY GOD! YOU LOST A CHIP THAT BELONGS TO OUR NUCLEAR BOMB THAT OUR GENERAL USED TO KILL THOUSANDS OF YOUR CITIZENS! WE ARE OUTRAGED! IT MIGHT WEAKEN US AGAINST THE CHINESE! SO WE CHOOSE TO GO TO WAR WITH YOU, AMERICA! BECAUSE THAT IS BETTER FOR US! WAR! WAR! WAR! YES I AM A RAVING MAD PLOT DEVICE! NRRARG!”
Why do they have to write the Chinese as raving apocalyptically-mad lunatics? “Yeeeees, we shall gain an advantage over Russia by attacking the United States of America, on their soil, with Chinese-looking people, in their central anti-terrorism agency, on a day when they’ve just had a nuclear bomb explode in their country. I am sneaky Chinese plot device! We gain small advantage by committing act of war against most powerful country in the world. Hehehehehehe!”
That’s not even counting dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of tremendously impossible and stupid things that happen within the show that I guess we’ve become used to (Jack, you left your dad with a minor wound and the freakin’ Russian chip right next to a working boat with minutes to get away… if you even pretend to act surprised when he shows up next season, I will shoot you in the thigh). But the very premise of the season is just about as sensical as a surrealist cartoon, with everyone being pulled to and fro in the air, arms and legs dangling and flopping to crazy clown music. You start to think that the writers are now actively spitting in our faces, and even my normally high-powered 24 blinders can’t shield me from that.
And I bet George W. Bush feels smart watching this show (“See? I only invaded Fayed’s country [or the one next to it… you know the ‘evil’ one]. I’m not a madman!”)
Yeah. I tried to watch this season, I really did, but every time one of those horridly ridiculous plot holes showed up I’d toss the remote in disgust and turn the TV off. Every so often I’d give it another shot, only to go through the same process again. Ultimate example of an Idiot Plot.
Why are the Americans willing to use nuclear bombs against Fayed’s Country, whose government have not been directly implicated in the attacks, while China, whose agents attacked a federal bureau, gets off scot-free? Mr. I-Have-A-Big-Nuclear-Dick Vice President, why haven’t you at the very least called the Chinese chairman? “I WANT TO NUKE FAYED’S COUNTRY! NRARRRRRRRGOO!” I mean, these aren’t little fanboy nitpicks, they’re what the whole season is based on. How do the writers for this cash cow get away with this dreck? Isn’t this one of Fox’s biggest properties? Do they think just because we voted for Bush we would accept all government leaders being categorically insane? What? What? Huh?
I could see Wayne Palmer winning an election. He has a lot of positive baggage attached to him, and I could easily see him as being the sentimental favorite. The Pubs or Dems (depending on his politics) could easily try to snap him up as their guy for an election. And our country doesn’t seem to be a stranger to the concept of inheriting the throne. Palmer being president is probably the most plausible thing that happened all season.
Season 6 was definitely the worst so far, and your criticisms (particularly of the Russian’s motivations in all this) were reasonable.
It still had some very entertaining moments, however, including:
(1) Jack biting a guy to death
(2) Jack finally catching up with Fayed’s guys in the warehouse, taking them all down, and hanging Fayed. “Damn, Jack”
(3) Jack ranting at Heller at the end
I think it’s telling that after winning 5 Emmys last year (including Best Series), this year, it scored only 6 nominations–its lowest total ever. This is the first year it didn’t get a Series nomination, and the first year it didn’t get an Editing nomination (despite winning in that category 4 previous times!)
This year’s nods:
Kiefer Sutherland (his 6th acting nomination for the show)
Jean Smart (her 2nd)
Sean Callery’s music (his 6th nod for the show; he’s won twice)
Sound Editing & Sound Mixing (both for the “10-11pm” episode)
Stunt Coordination (for the “2-3pm” episode)
I think it’s more that the writers are running out of new ideas, and they are especially running out of ways to surprise the viewers – since we’ve pretty much seen all the standard “twists” and tricks in the first several seasons. Each new attempt at a “twist” becomes more predictable.
IMHO, part of the problem with the current approach is that they still try to constantly escalate the danger – always trying to outdo last season’s threat, or last time a similar situation arose. They need to think on a smaller scale, so that plot elements remain at least a little more plausible. They also need to come up with something that varies from the current formula. Of course we need Jack out there in the field – that’s a necessary basis of the show. But the rest of the current formula is always: drama and backstabbing at CTU, occasional attacks on CTU headquarters (always succeeding due to aforementioned drama and backstabbing), white house tension between president and advisor/vice-prez/wife, irrelevant time-filling side jaunts like cougar traps and the president breaking up with his new white girlfriend (season 3).
At the end of Season 6, I put out my idea for Season 7. Involving a change to the formula and events happening on a smaller scale. Now how do I get this idea to the writers?
That’s a great idea. I bet so many things can be refreshed just be getting the hell out of L.A., and especially out of the country. Hell, they can still have the target BE in the U.S.A. (please not L.A. again, though), with Jack abroad trying to foil it and CTU doing its usual CTU things. Jack in China would be fantastic, but Kiefer’s attempting to speak Chinese would probably strain credulity. The only place where you can count on every two-bit crook to know at least some English would be Hong Kong, which I guess could work. To be honest, I’d love to see something in Africa or the Middle East, but really, any place besides North America will do just fine.
Something like a new supervirus emerging from the Congo, with a frantic multi-nation race to capture/contain it. The finale could have Jack finding the last contaminated monkey and biting the virus out of it, at which point the virus just dies amidst Jack’s super-hard Jack-saliva. Then he shoots himself in the thigh because he has nothing else to do.
24 went over the cliff along with the car in the middle of the first series. Since the whole hackneyed amnesia gambit it’s all been downhill (though the ending of Series 1 was one of the bleakest moments on television ever, almost redeeming the last tweleve hours of that series.)
Here’s my idea; Jack Bauer needs to start losing limbs. Maybe some torturer takes off his hand at the wrist, or he steps on the land mine and loses a leg; something to make the mission more personally and physically challenging for him. Hey, the shock of it ought to be a good ratings boost for at least four or five subsequent episodes, and whenever things get slow Jack can have a flashback to the incident, or be paralyzed by phantom pains, or whatever. And it’ll make a great addition to the drinking game; you know, a sip for every finger or toe, half a shot for something like an ear or facial scaring, and multiple shots for major limbs or removal of organs. Eventually, Jack will be left like the Black Knight rocking on his pelvis while waving stumps of arms around, and then they can segue into a revival of The Six Million Dollar Man with Jack playing the cyborg protagonist.
FWIW, 24 did the same thing in season 2 as well. The nuke went off and all of a sudden it was “we have to nuke these bastards right now or the whole world will think the USA has no balls. Mr. President doesn’t want to go along with it so we’ll have him declared incompetent and we’ll go ahead.”
The first few hours of season six were awesome. But once they killed Alexander Siddig’s character off, it became much less interesting.
Plot holes that were too ridiculous for TV:
The Russian nuke chip, from an old model of nuke, is a key to the entire Russian defense network.
The Vice President doesn’t notice that he’s been getting sloppy seconds for like… a year.
The assault on CTU, which is apparently the easiest building in the world to get into if you’re a terrorist.
No one suspecting Papa Bauer’s complicity in Graeme’s death even though Papa was the only one in the room with Graeme when he died.
The endless supply of terrorists and good guys who can show up at a moment’s notice to duke it out. At least this time they made reference to calling in reinforcements from District when the backup from Division got nuked. Cheng’s men on the other hand, came out of nowhere.
Also when Jack and Bill Buchanan are flying out to the oil derrick, they’re in the air for ten minutes… to go six miles. So they’re cruising along at an astonishing 36mph!