Reviews: Twenty Four

Live Another Boring Day

24 should have stayed dead.

Like every other fan, I was disappointed when the show ended—especially since the show suffers from a reverse Star Trek Movie Curse and ended on an inferior year. 24, at its best, provides a propulsive blend of heart-stopping suspense and impressive Character Development, a deconstructive meditation on Cowboy Cops and by-the-book politicians, a compelling dose of Gray and Grey Morality. It's escapism, but also that rare show that helps gird us for real life by showing us heroism both ordinary and badass. The eighth season kind of pushed it too far, but it definitely had its good moments.

Live Another Day is a miniseries, covering only 12 hours, and as such the business is compressed. The intention was to create a concentrated dose of 24-flavored awesome, but the show actually backfires by highlighting the flaws in the original concept. In Live Another Day, everything happens fast; story arcs that would have taken 12 episodes go at twice the speed now, and they work fine. The original show could have progressed so much faster. Of course, it didn't, because it took the time to focus on its characters, give them room and time to breathe... something that LAD doesn't. Jack is almost a cliché in it, doing what he does simply because that's what he does; nobody else has had very much time for motivation. Kate Morgan, the new Distaff Counterpart played by Yvonne Strahovski, is the only character with any real character arc, and that mostly due to Strahovski's acting chops. The action is sped up, but the character work is left at the same speed, and the miniseries suffers for it.

With only two episodes left, there's still time for them to turn the show around. But if they continue making miniseries continuations, I hope they rewire the internals some. Tension is tension, but the originals only really found their footing when they started digging into the characters' personalities and letting them twist in the wind. That's something LAD doesn't seem to have time for. This isn't 24, it's The Mockbuster version of same. And I'm bored.

Day Seven (Contains major spoilers)

So, after a break caused the writers' strike, the pulse-pounding show that is 24 returns with a fairly large Re Tool, moving from Los Angeles to Washington DC.

What worked:
  • Tony's return- surprisingly well. The issue of his "demise" in Season 5 was skipped over fairly quickly and the explanation was good enough. Tony was well-motivated and his murder of Larry Moss was one of the shocks of the season.
  • Kudos to the writers for having the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique not always work. Slight docking for continued awful Techno Babble.
  • Most of the new characters. Renee was fairly good, President Taylor had a shaky start but got very good towards the end and Olivia Taylor did Sherry Palmer-manipulation in a manner most great. Nice to see the last one get her comeuppance too. Cara had a good Nina-vibe going until she died.
  • The general plot, with qualifications. The White House bit was very good.
  • 24: Redemption, which was pretty good.

What didn't:
  • The show still can't sustain one "plot" for an entire season. Plan it out better please.
  • Jack's illness. Who here seriously believed that Jack Bauer would die from mad cow disease?
  • Kim Bauer. For all her improvement, she was still not necessary to the plot and seemed to serve only as a remedy to the common "Oh, no, we need two more episodes of plot" syndrome.
  • Janis Gold. Like Chloe before she was Rescued From The Scrappy Heap, made worse by Chloe's presence.
  • Some incredible stuff- like a private company acquiring legitimately medium-range ballistic missiles.
    • Further note, don't pluck missile names out of thin air either. Python 5 is the name of a real missile- an Israeli short-range air-to-air one too.

All in all, this was a fairly good season by the show's standards and a welcome return to form. That said, I still feel that the show hangs too much on Jack Bauer and that he should get less of a focus.

4/5. Roll on Day Eight!