24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 7 (5PM-6PM)

After a four year absence, 24 is returning to TV in the form of a “limited series.” Shortened seasons for broadcast shows are in right now. Big-network programs like Hannibal, The Following, Sleepy Hollow and Under the Dome are taking a page out of the British/Premium Cable model, offering shortened seasons of around 12-15 episodes without the traditional option of extending the season. 24 is embracing this model as well, cutting Jack Bauer’s “day” in half to (theoretically) tell a tighter story and keep costs down. How well 24 translates into 12 remains to be seen, but there is no denying of the excitement of having Jack Bauer back on the small screen.

As a limited run companion piece to our series-spanning Dead Series Discussions we – Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix -will be posting reactions to each episode of Live Another Day as it airs. These “ReJacktions” are not as long or formal (ha!) as our other posts on the series, but instead give us a chance to add some reflections and observations for each episode. Once the season has ended, we’ll give Live Another Day a proper Dead Season Discussion before bidding farewell to 24. At least until Jack comes back again.

This week’s ReJacktion is focused on Episode 7 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.”

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 just hate these people”

It’s the first character development we’ve seen from Jack Bauer since he chatted with Senator Mayer and Larry Moss in Season 7. As Jack apologized to Agent Morgan for some “enhanced interrogation” with Simone, he says “I just hate these people…for thinking there could be anything that would justify what they’re doing.”

Every conversation Jack has ever had about ends and means has been coldly rational. They’ve been about the calculus of one tortured man versus one prevented nuclear detonation. They’ve been about the needs of the many weighed against the needs of the few.

But what if this was the real Jack Bauer the whole time? Continue reading

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24: Live Another Day ReJacktions – Episode 6 (4PM-5PM)

After a four year absence, 24 is returning to TV in the form of a “limited series.” Shortened seasons for broadcast shows are in right now. Big-network programs like Hannibal, The Following, Sleepy Hollow and Under the Dome are taking a page out of the British/Premium Cable model, offering shortened seasons of around 12-15 episodes without the traditional option of extending the season. 24 is embracing this model as well, cutting Jack Bauer’s “day” in half to (theoretically) tell a tighter story and keep costs down. How well 24 translates into 12 remains to be seen, but there is no denying of the excitement of having Jack Bauer back on the small screen.

As a limited run companion piece to our series-spanning Dead Series Discussions we – Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix -will be posting reactions to each episode of Live Another Day as it airs. These “ReJacktions” are not as long or formal (ha!) as our other posts on the series, but instead give us a chance to add some reflections and observations for each episode. Once the season has ended, we’ll give Live Another Day a proper Dead Season Discussion before bidding farewell to 24. At least until Jack comes back again.

This week’s ReJacktion is focused on Episode 6 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.”

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
Jordan randomly finds some suspicious files connected to Kate’s husband, Adam, and Steve tells him not to waste time looking at them right now. Mole much, Steve? That was a groaner moment for me, along with Naveed’s “surprise family member(s)”™, Heller’s sudden decision to give Jack carte blanche and Rask’s “magical wake-up juice.”

But guys, this episode was really good.

Why? Because it rediscovered the breakneck pace that made the best seasons of the show hum. More importantly, it subverted my expectations on several occasions, and that’s really saying something for a show like 24, that has been repeating itself since Season 2.

First, almost everything Kate. She’s tied up and tortured and I’m thinking “oh great, Belcheck is going to rescue her at the last minute with a well-placed bullet.” Nope. MI-5 knocks Belcheck out cold. That starts to get me really excited that the show might actually let Kate get out of this situation on her own (props if they killed her, but they wouldn’t). Then MI-5 starts a gunfight and I’m thinking “great, saved by someone else.” But no, one guy sticks around and Kate takes him out and frees herself. Let me repeat: a female agent got out of a deadly jam without help from Jack or really anyone else (two episodes after she basically saved Jack’s ass with a convenient air duct). Is this really 24? Sure we’ve seen Jack (and Sarah Walker) do this before, but he’s Jack.

Second, Jack makes a blind guess about Rask’s testing him on the name of the account manager. Of course he guesses right, but how often have we seen Jack just take a 50-50 shot (and Chloe fail to find the information in time)?

Third, MI-5 bungling everything. Yeah, we’ve seen other official parties–numerous suits from Division, Marvin the earless cop, Herc from The Wire–get in Jack’s way before, but the thing is, almost none of them have been this believably well-intentioned. Sure, it’s all based on dementiaphobia, but the Brits’ plan was valid enough for me (especially as it came from Jo from Spooks!)

Fourth, Simone. It’s stupid to replace Naveed’s cold feet with Simone’s after last episode, but her story takes so many twists in its few short scenes that I didn’t mind. I wish we knew better how/why Simone stabbed Farah, and it might have been more interesting if Jasmine had been hit by a car, neatly accomplishing Simone’s mission. Still, I half expected Jasmine to get hit or get away, so having Simone get pasted by the bus was nice. Of course, the real twist would’ve been if Simone was killed by the bus. Not the case.

Lastly, Steve. Yes, I know that Moles is the alternate title for 24, but until we know who he’s really working for, I’ll go with this one. Had he straight up called a known bad guy (a la Nina, Marianne, Logan, Sean, Dana) I wouldn’t be so forgiving. As it stands, it looks like Steve is somehow connected to framing and “killing” Adam (I don’t think he’s dead), and may not be connected with terror family (fingers crossed).

On top of this, Jack lies to Mark about Audrey’s happiness in marriage, Mark gets a call from the Russian minister, Rask blows himself up (along with the entire MI-5 team) rather than face capture and we find out that Jack has been a “freelance badass” for the past couple of years (awesome). There’s so much going on in this episode, and for me the good is trumping the bad.

What do you guys think? Is this episode “a mole too far,” status quo for late-era 24, an exciting throwback, or something else entirely?

vlcsnap-2014-06-05-07h27m11s234 vlcsnap-2014-06-05-07h27m55s174 vlcsnap-2014-06-05-07h28m04s9 vlcsnap-2014-06-05-07h28m11s72Zach
As I emailed ya’ll immediately after watching this episode (cleaned up for our army of loyal child readers):

EFF YESSSSSSSS Continue reading

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