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

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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