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

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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 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