With ratings in decline, and fans suffering from plot vertigo, the doom sayers of the media have begun picking the carcass of the once indestructible 24. While I pretty much agree that, despite its intensely cinematic beginning, season six has kind of lost me, I’m willing to give 24 the benefit of the doubt. Yes, the main plot ended early and some, including producer David Fury, consider that a mistake, but let’s face it, the idea that all global political / terrorist crises last exactly 24 hours tests the bounds of reason.
After six or seven seasons of that, you’d kind of have to start looking at the possibility that Jack Bauer is actually trapped in some holographic universe by alien puppet masters. Eventually, in his wisdom, Bauer sees the pattern and realizes that some force of intelligence is ruling over his “life” and begins tearing down the construct from within. Even this plot plays out, ironically, over exactly 24 hours.
The point being, 24 has become a cliche of itself. Jack Bauer killing friends, or family, has become an expectation anticipated with mockery. The parade of ludicrous deaths has become more of a low rent cabaret of cartoon violence. The character turns have become so telegraphed, they exemplify satire in the theater of the absurd.
And the season is varnished with missed opportunities. Morris having to deal with contributing to a second nuclear explosion would have made much more interesting grounds for character development than having him half heartedly teeter on the brink of ‘falling off the wagon’, particularly since his alcoholism is something we have no experience with.
But fear not, hope is on the way. Both Fury and Howard Gordon acknowledged, in separate interviews, that 24 was due for a complete remodeling. In a New York Times interview, Gordon went as far as to say “I don’t dispute it’s been a challenging season to write for us, but it’s reinvigorated our determination to reinvent the show. This year could be seen to be the last iteration of it in its current state.” A statement that defies the fact that the producers knew their formula’s days – or hours – were numbered.
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Copyright FOX)