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