Six Reasons Why '24' Has Jumped the You-Know-What
by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 8th 2010 11:00AM
What is going on with Jack Bauer? Have you been watching '24' this season, the first time set in New York City? There were high expectations that this might be the best season yet for '24' because we'd be seeing a lean, mean, older Jack who has been through the wringer and knows all the tricks and turns of the business. Comparisons were made to Jason Bourne, but with the Bauer edge.
Unfortunately, we're not seeing the vim and vigor of 'The Bourne Identity' or any of the other Bourne pictures. We're not even seeing the quality of '24' from seasons past. Instead, '24' has turned into something else entirely -- an empty shell of its former self. It's time to call it a day for '24.' The show has definitely jumped the you-know-what.
Comment if you don't agree with the following reasons why:
1. All work and no play has made Jack a dull boy. It looks like last year's illness really took a toll on Jack Bauer. Or maybe it's the actor, because Kiefer Sutherland really looks bored. He's still growling like Jack, but has he suddenly gotten too long in the tooth to run around like he used to? More and more, '24' is having other characters carry the action with Jack watching. They cut to reaction shots of Jack. Are they so busy setting up Freddie Prinze, Jr. as the new action hero that they've shelved JB? Considering the fact that Jack was ready to go to California with Kim in the first show, it's time to just let him go. Grandpa Jack has earned an early retirement.
2. Who cares about these women? When did '24' become all about the ladies? For the past three weeks, Renee Walker has dominated the main story, infiltrating the Russian mob. But, really, is this supposed to be the same FBI agent we met last season? She seems like a completely different person, and frankly, why should we care about her?
Then the subplot with Katee Sackhoff's Dana is just horrible. We're supposed to believe that a woman with a sordid, criminal past has altered her identity to become a CTU senior analyst. How did CTU miss her fingerprint records? And now she's being blackmailed by criminals and cooperating with them. It's bad writing and a dreadful character.
3. Empty action equals no drama. Since the first episode this season, all the action has been very pedestrian. All the cutting to Jack with a listening device doesn't make for an exciting chase scene. Since Hassan was rescued, all the action has shifted to the Russians and Renee and there's very little suspense because you don't care if one Russian kills another. They don't matter to us.
When one brother was shot last week by the father of both, what did it matter? There's like a lot of busy work but very little excitement. Even Jack's encounter last week, when he had to speak German, didn't amount to much. Compare this season to the fear of the suitcase nukes in season six when one actually detonated in Valencia, California, or last season when the President was taken hostage in the White House. This year is weak.
4. Where's the respect for Jack and Chloe? This new CTU is not only set up in New York, but has all new faces. Despite the lack of familiar faces, which should mean experienced agents, when Jack and Chloe were introduced, they received no respect. Hasn't anybody read their work files? Why are they always dissed?
In any organization, Chloe would have been trained on the new computers before being thrown into the fire -- and she'd be overseeing the CTU computer operators, not being treated like a lackey. Jack, meanwhile, cannot catch a break. Even when he offers to help CTU, like in the first episode, the new director gives him attitude. Jack should be given wide berth to do what he wants because of what he's done for the country in the seven days we've seen. He should have earned the trust of his bosses by now.
5. Too much gratuitous violence, not enough New York. '24' has always pushed the envelope when it comes to torture and interrogation and violence in general. But when Renee cut off a man's thumb to remove a monitoring device, that was a bit much. Jack swinging an axe to kill a guy, that was borderline, but at least inventive.
Then there's the issue of being in New York. If you're there, why aren't you using the location? You might as well be in Toronto! Aside from the U.N. exteriors, '24' has done nothing with Manhattan except show us taxi cabs. Think about it, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the Chrysler Building...
6. It's day has passed. What was once so innovative about '24' -- the running clock in real time -- turned stale. '24' has overstayed its welcome. It's not working anymore and the chances of recapturing the zest it had before is doubtful. What could they possibly do to recharge Jack's character, and Jack is the show? The very notion that Cole Ortiz is the next Jack is laughable. So far he's barely been Jack's shadow. And if it becomes the Renee Walker show, forget it. What should happen is simple; Fox ends '24' with this season.
[Check out episodes of '24' on SlashControl.]