24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season Eight

“JACK GOES ROGUER THAN USUAL”

Title Card24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders,may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 8 of 24, which premiered in January of 2010.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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MegaMix
First of all, as (potentially) my last introduction to a 24 DSD, I’d like to say this has been an amazing experience. Also, I’d like to say that my fellow writers are all scholars and gentlemen…and douche bags. But seriously, folks, great guys.

Secondly, ummm…Renee, is there any chance that you and I might go out sometime? (Answer) I’ll take it.

Okay, now that all of that has been cleared up, on to Day 8.

The first thing I want to bring up is that I always find it interesting to know at what point writers/producers know that a TV show is going to end. For 24, as far as I can tell (i.e it’s never been completely confirmed), they seemed to know early enough to basically give us the answer in the trailer for the season. The initial trailer states “All Jack Bauer has to do is survive one more day.” As we all know, that may have been true in 2009, but Jack will Live Another Day.

Nextly, (since I feel we didn’t talk about it enough last session) let’s talk about the women in Jack’s life up to this point. Continue reading

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season Seven

“THE REPRODUCTION HABITS OF MOLES IN THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT”

Title Card24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders,may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 7 of 24, which premiered in January of 2009.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Patches
I loved most of Season 7. Let me tell you why, and explain the “most” qualifier, in five short essays.

A Watchful Protector

Day 7 was a season with many potential film comparisons, depending on who is the story’s central character.

If the story is about Renee Walker, it’s Platoon. Walker attempts to navigate a slippery slope while competing philosophies (Jack Bauer as Tom Berenger’s Sgt. Barnes and Larry Moss as William Dafoe’s Sgt. Elias) battle for her soul.

If the story is about the returning Tony Almeida, it’s Traitor. Is Tony a good guy or a bad guy? We’re never really sure until the end, but it all makes sense when all is revealed.

But it’s not. 24 is the story of Jack Bauer. This makes Season 7 The Dark Knight. (I think this makes Chloe Oracle and Renee Robin, but we won’t get into that. Bill would make a pretty amazing Commissioner Gordon though, wouldn’t he?)

When Season 7 aired in 2009, the cultural and political backdrop could not have been more different from that during the show’s premiere in 2001. Continue reading

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season Six

“THERE IS NO GOD”

Title Card2.4 (two-point-four) is a mindnumbing and nauseating television series. Beyond the what?!, why?!, who?! and OH GOD DAMNIT GUYS is a show that reached a new level of terrible “story”telling and dropped the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for only 1 full seasons–24 Episodes plus a lot of sadness–2.4 is one of the most infuriating shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Viva Laughlin, Heroes, Eli Stone, all twentyseven Survivors and three of four eps of Sean Saves the World, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Run of the American Television show 24” that began with Season 1 in 2001 and is now returning with the mini-series Live Another Day. Perhaps 2.4 doesn’t quite reach the painful heights of hammer blows to the head, or others like a kick to the testes and papercuts, or even stubbing your toe, the flu or Rob Schneider movies, but it was somehow a strong awards and ratings contender and it was, admittedly, fun to rip on.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing the only season there was this month, in anticipation for the debatebly related premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 1 of 2.4 — sometimes referred to as Season 6 of 24 — which premiered in January of 2007.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 2.4 and 24, as well as more strong language than usual. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Zach
This season sucks balls you didn’t even know existed.

When we (Patches, Jeff, MegaMix and myself) were discussing which seasons we wanted to take point on, I knew immediately which two needed to be mine: first, my favorite of ‘em all, S3; and second, the single most infuriating season of television I have ever had the misfortune of watching — this one. “Season 6.” Or as I have taken to calling it, Season 1 of that campy slapstick gem 2.4, a spinoff of 24 in which the world cares not for logic, and the writers are no longer bound to antiquated notions like consistency or motivation.

In this world, anything can happen — literally anything, even if it is in direct contradiction to established character traits. Family members of Jack Bauer can pop in and out of thin air and conveniently be mastermind terrorists. Morris O’Brian can be the most important person in the show. Episodes can be spent showing Jack’s ability to navigate the autism spectrum. Jack can overcome John-McCain-ian PTSD in about 10 minutes by killing one of his closest allies. The vice president can invoke the 25th amendment without anyone in the room having an opinion about whether or not this is a good idea. Singularly important White House staffers can disappear for an hour with a known terrorist hanging out with the president and no one thinks this needs further investigation. Lines like “it’s ACH-med!,” “Send medics to the basement I’m Mike Doyle,” “He was right all along and I… this is going to get much worse,” and “What are you smoking? // I’m here to blow away the smoke,” are said earnestly. A sitting president can give a sleepy speech calmly discussing that there was a nuclear attack on America.

Anything can happen, no matter how ridiculous. If you go into it with that mindset, it can actually be pretty fun to watch, in a Mystery Science Theater kind of way.

It’s hard to put into 800 words exactly what sucks most about this season. Continue reading

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season Five

“EVERYONE YOU LOVE DIES RIGHT AWAY”

Title Card24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 5 of 24, which premiered in January of 2006.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Jeff
In season 5, 24 is on the decline. It’s not that the show is bad, but unfortunately it recycles several old ideas and brings us new characters and situations we never knew we didn’t want.

At CTU we get unwitting mole (and Chloe banger) Spenser Wolff, post-LOTR Sean Astin as Lynn McGill, the requisite “suit from Division” who comes in and messes everything up (along with his meth-head sister), Soul Man himself, C. Thomas Howell, as Kim’s psychologist/boyfriend, Barry, and also Miles Papazian. I hate Miles Papazian.

Elsewhere we get a love story between Aaron Pierce and Martha Logan. We get a candidate for worst non-season-6 episode, in which a Russian sex slave goes all Mrs. Ortega on her captor. Worst of all, we get an overly complex hierarchy of foreign and domestic villains involved in a plot hatched by weasely Charles Logan, whose evil is revealed in the most high-stakes ridicu-twist this side of season 6.

There are still classic 24 moments, scissor meets neck, submarine showdown, Walt Cummings’ beating, kneecapping Miriam Henderson and Jack choking half of the cast (seriously: Walt, Curtis, Barry, Collette, Audrey, Miles, Bierko). However, characters like Curtis and Edgar get brushed aside, with the former sitting out 6 episodes, and the latter sidelined until he catches a case of nerves, er, nerve gas. Chloe gets more of the same-old, secretly helping Jack on no less than three separate occasions. By the end of the season we meet her never-before-mentioned ex-husband, Morris. Sadly, he’s here to stay.

More baffling: Continue reading

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season Four

“IN WHICH AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE MEETS AN IMPLAUSIBLE OBJECT”

Title Card24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 4 of 24, which premiered in January of 2005.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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MegaMix
Whew! Season three was good. Like, REALLY good. So, what now? Where do we go from here?

From the start of 24’s fourth season, there is the sense of a radical shift in the style of storytelling the producers are utilizing. Instead of using three season-long arcs as they had for the previous days, they chose to adopt the “barrel-through-a-series-of-disasters” method that creates a relentless pace of intensity not seen before on the show. “Hold onto your butts!”

In some ways, this was a pretty interesting way to tell the new developments in Jack Bauer’s life, but not so much in others. This approach allowed the show to become the “action” series for which it would become most well-known, however, it ultimately takes away from the show’s ability to connect with new characters and create relationships like it had for three years. For me, this season comes off as an ultraviolent step in a direction counter to that which made the show great to this point. Continue reading

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season Three

“HOW A FATAL VIRUS THREATENED, THEN SAVED, THE CHANDLER PLAZA HOTEL’S TRIPADVISOR RATING”

Title Card24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 3 of 24, which premiered in October of 2003.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Zach
This is the best season of 24.

In my opinion, it’s not even close. There are of course people who disagree with me, but they are dead wrong. Chappelle wrong. This season has it all: a new, interesting, and largely topical threat; great villains; Jack’s best sidekick; “play action” fake-outs, one of the series’ only non-rage-inducing relationship arcs; moments of revenge so long-awaited that even on viewing 80 I cheered and giggled like a school boy; and moments which genuinely shocked the viewers on a level not seen in the series outside of the end of S1 (and I contend one was more shocking). And if you want my truly radical fan-boy opinion… the finale of S3 has the best season ending scene… and is the single best episode of the show. It was never that good before or after. Yeah. Said that.

What I like most about this season, however, is something that perhaps is entirely a projection — a wish rather than a reality — and probably not the actual will of the writers: to me, S3 is the highly symbolic, dark parable of the tragic hero that is Jack Bauer. In what follows, I’d like to look at the season through the lens of a few symbols and metaphors. Continue reading

24, The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives: Season Two

“DOING IT ALL FOR THE NUKE-IE”

Title Card

24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 2 of 24, which premiered in October of 2002.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.

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Patches
24 premiered just two months after the 9/11 Attacks. Although 24’s first season was closer to a family drama than the espionage drama/thriller it would become, no other show on television has become more closely associated with the War on Terror.

And it makes perfect sense. When confronted with a tragedy, especially such a shocking one, it’s only natural to seek comfort and strength. As the nation grieved, those traits propelled President George W. Bush to approval ratings as high as 90%.

Seasons 1 & 2 proved that Jack Bauer had those traits as well. He loved his family, loved his country, and would do anything to protect both. Simply put, Jack Bauer was exactly the person America wanted on September 12, 2001.

Although 24 was frequently criticized by civil libertarians and Islamic organizations for perceived Islamophobia, I think 24 generally did a good job dealing with Islam and terrorism. Continue reading

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Season One

“JACK BAUER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY OF THE CALIFORNIA PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY”

Title Card24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons–192 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and three of four Law & Orders, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the impending finales of Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

Please join us—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—as we take a look back at this series, discussing one season every month until the premiere of the new 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day in May 2014.

This month’s discussion is focused on season one of 24, which premiered in November of 2001.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24, and strong language. Parental discretion is advised.

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Jeff
24 was my TV series. It was the very first show I discovered on my own and watched as it aired from the first episode to the last. I took pride in the fact that I “found” it and could loan my season one DVD set to all of my friends.

The biggest selling point for the show is its real-time format. The one-episode-equals-one-hour / one-season-equals-one-day gimmick is brilliant. Real-time wasn’t exactly new to film and TV when 24 came along with several movies and TV episodes condensing time and using long takes (see the X-Files episode “Triangle” for a fun example). Even so, no 2-hour film or TV series was ever this ambitious with the real-time premise. Continue reading

Dead Season Discussion: Knocking Over the Board in Game of Thrones Season 3 (Part 4)

Title CardWelcome to the second installment of Dead Season Discussion, where Jeff of Slazenger1 and I discuss Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not only is Game of Thrones more popular than our first effort, ABC’s Last Resort, but it’s also a better program, meaning we probably won’t spend 2,000+ words discussing what we didn’t like about the show.

If the title didn’t make SEASON 3 SPOILERS obvious, then you need to start paying attention while you read. Oh, and also, book 3 spoiler alert. There are, however, NO spoilers from later in the book series, beyond what season 3 of the TV show covers.

For the final part of our Game of Thrones Season 3 analysis, we go back to the well for some more superlatives. If you haven’t read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 yet, here are the links. This time, though, there’s no theme. They’re all Reviewer’s Choice! Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Best Main Theme (Patches)
Ramin Djawadi: I have been a big fan of Ramin Djawadi’s work ever since his incredible soundtrack for EA’s 2010 Medal of Honor reboot. Although the Game of Thrones soundtracks aren’t at that level, the show’s main theme is the best theme song on television. It’s so good that I can’t watch an episode without watching the opening.

Most Blatant Ripoff of The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (Jeff)
Tyrion Lannister: The books make Tyrion sound ugly to begin with, something that couldn’t really be helped once Peter Dinklage was cast in the role. After Tyrion gets his face slashed during the Battle of Blackwater, the books frequently discuss his apparent lack of nose and general disfigurement. Rather than cause viewers to puke up lamprey pie every time they saw Tyrion, the TV team decided to go the CW route of “guy with a sexy scar.”  Probably a good move. Continue reading

Dead Season Discussion: Knocking Over the Board in Game of Thrones Season 3 (Part 3)

Title CardWelcome to the second installment of Dead Season Discussion, where Jeff of Slazenger1 and I discuss Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not only is Game of Thrones more popular than our first effort, ABC’s Last Resort, but it’s also a better program, meaning we probably won’t spend 2,000+ words discussing what we didn’t like about the show.

If the title didn’t make SEASON 3 SPOILERS obvious, then you need to start paying attention while you read. Oh, and also, book 3 spoiler alert. There are, however, NO spoilers from later in the book series, beyond what season 3 of the TV show covers.

For the last two days, we’ve discussed Game of Thrones’ third season. Today, we get a little deeper with our look at the best/worst performances, episodes, and scenes of the season.

Patches: Let’s move to our trademark superlatives, which aren’t really trademarked as much as we are the only people to call them “superlatives.”

BEST PERFORMANCE. Who ya got?

Jeff: I’m going to go with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister. Guy will probably never get an Emmy for this, but deserves one for the Hot Tub scene alone.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Patches: Coster-Waldau’s versatility and growth makes him my choice too. I’ll still give a shout-out to Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. He absolutely OWNED this season, mostly while seated. I would watch an entire episode of him writing letters, then ripping apart anyone who interrupts him. Continue reading