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Counter Torpor Unit: Can "24" Be Saved?

Is it just me or is this season of 24 a monumental disappointment? I'm sorry but I find myself wishing Day 6 were over already. Sure, Jack just managed to get out of a Chinese prison but that's no reason we should find ourselves trapped as well.

Yes, we're in that vale of death known as pre-sweeps but still I was hoping for a lot more excitement than what we've been getting lately. So how can the show's producers get 24 back on track? Here are some pointers.

1. No more moles.

You heard me correctly. Enough with the moles. Did anyone really think that Nadia was the leak at CTU? Um, nope. Instead, we had to slog through two episodes that had poor Nadia being alternately interrogated and ignored until some faceless guy we've never seen before (but who worked with Mike Doyle in Denver) finds the magic bullet and proves Nadia innocent. Bravo guys. You cleared the least likely suspect in the leak and managed to learn something about racial profiling in the process. Well, bully on you. Maybe you could have given the woman the rest of the day off after having an agent strangle her in a detention room. Just a thought.

2. No more Mr. Nice Jack.

What was up with this week's episode in which Jack calmly spoke to the autistic Brady in a calm soothing voice, engaging him in a mission to nab "Mr. Gredenko"? (Yes, he actually referred to one of our major villains as "Mr.") I'm sorry but the scenes between Jack and Brady may have well also contained them jumping over a shark in the room and did anyone bother to consult Dustin Hoffman to make sure he was okay with the actor playing Brady stealing his entire Rain Man shtick? Hell, at least there was no mention of People's Court.

3. No more random new characters.

What happened to Philip? Or Marilyn? Or, hell, Walid? There are always a revolving cast of characters on 24, but it's felt all rather pointless this season when they keep losing the precious traction they've gained by jettisoning characters like it's going out of style and bringing in some new faces for an episode or two. I'm not digging Rick Schroder's Mike Doyle but he at least adds some much needed spark and conflict to the sagging show. But did we really need Devon Gummersall's security consultant around this week? (Not to mention his brother Brady to boot?) Or whatshisname who tries to sell Mike out? Nevermind that there's been no mention of former President Charles Logan's condition since the ex-First Lady stabbed him a few episodes ago. Work with what you've got and stop trying to cram so many characters down our collective throat. Sheesh.

4. Tell Chloe to lighten up.

Chloe kissing Morris not as an act of passion but to test the recovering alcoholic's breath? Good. Chloe glowering in the shadows as Milo and Nadia make out? Not good. I understand that Chloe is a fan favorite (or so the series' producers remind us at every turn), but the girl definitely needs to lighten up a bit. She makes teenage angst seem positively cheerful by comparison.

What do you all think? What can save 24 from sliding further over the brink? Or is it too late to save this once great series?

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Jericho (CBS); Friday Night Lights (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); The Great American Dream Vote (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); Crossing Jordan (ABC); Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll (CW); According to Jim/In Case of Emergency (ABC); American Idol/'Til Death (FOX)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Medium (NBC); Lost (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: America's Next Top Model.

On tonight's episode ("The Girl Who Takes Credit"), the girls are given some harsh lessons in what not to wear (sadly, no Trinny or Susannah in sight) and must create department store displays using themselves as the mannequins (no Kim Cattrall in sight, either) and pose in a fashion shoot as men.

10 pm: Lost.

I can't tell you how happy I am that Lost is back on the air again. On tonight's episode ("Exposé"), we finally see the conclusion to a long-dangling plot point as Sun learns the truth about the Others' attempted kidnapping (and decks Sawyer), fresh graves are dug, and an accomplice of the Others right in the castaways' midst is exposed. (Please be Nikki and Paolo!)

Comments

The CineManiac said…
I didn't read much more than the introduction since I haven't watched Mondays episode, but I think that shows my agreement right there. I still haven't watched the newest episode. And the last few episodes I've watched half-heartedly while doing other things, because honestly I just don't care all that much this season.
And sure they'll kick it into high gear at the end of the season as they always do, but this year the usual lull between the amazing beginning and the kick A** end seems to be particularly dull.
Vladimir Bierko said…
I'm not sure about this season, but I think next season should be a prequel to Day 1.

24 doesn't do lost-style flashbacks, but a whole Day set before the first season would fit it's style.

Think about it, a Day 0 where Jack takes down the bad seeds in CTU alluded to by Mason in Day 1 and we get to see Tony, Henderson (who was with CTU prior to Day 1 as well) and Nina in action. Plus, it's a way to bring back Sherry and then-Senator Palmer.

A seson like that would a great promo for FOX to sell tons of the Day 1 DVD box sets too.
Anonymous said…
Seriously.

This season is such a bore. I didn't watch till last night. I don't think I've ever not watched on the night it aired. But I just didn't care.

re: pres logan. Totally. I think I left a note about this last week. It's so ridiculous that there's been no mention.

re: Mole. Not only was there no chance Nadia was the mole, the fact that there may have been a mole, again, at CTU was almost too much for me to take.

re: Philip. Seriously!

re: Cowboy VP. Ok, you didn't mention him, but I will. Why doesn't anyone besides the biscuit and Karen realize that he is a TOTAL LUNATIC.

I will disagree w/you on one thing. Brian Krakow is ALWAYS welcome in a show.
Synd-e said…
You pretty much said everything that I've had on my mind since hour five. At this point, with nine hours left, I do not see any possible way that this season can redeem itself, which which is a big letdown. If Jack turns out to be the father of Marilyn's son, that will just about do it for me. Especially if Audrey turns up alive and walks into CTS about 30 seconds after the that reveal.

Writers, please, do SOMETHING. Even a cougar at this point would be a welcome break from the disappearing characters and the more-convoluted than usual plot.
Unknown said…
The writers are definitely doing more acrobatics than usual this season. After killing off Tony and Michelle last year, I felt they owed us a kick-ass season 6. Instead, I'm getting my ass kicked. The stuff with Jack's bro and dad was interesting, but where'd his dad go? Can we follow up on that? Quit with the moles and get Marilyn to help Jack find him. (I want a "No, I'm the mole!" T-shirt.)

They're probably going to stretch out the recovery of the last nuke until the 24th hour, so in the meantime, we need more problems/puzzles for Jack to solve, and I do not mean laughable scenery-chewing, militaristic, over-the-top VPs. As nuts as the current administration is, I think someone might just raise their hand and say, "Uh, Mr. VP, did you take your meds this morning?"

Bring back Jack's change of heart about torture; it's about time the show explored the unreliable and inhumane part of torture. Why does everyone on the show seem willing to dump their morals by the side of the road so they can put expediency in the driver's seat? Let's see more angst, more uncompromisable principles, and less sacrifice of civil liberties in exchange for security.
rockauteur said…
I agree with virtually everything Jace says about 24. I have been a HUGE fan of 24 since its inception and the drama and intrigue this season has been so overshadowed by its time slot mate, Prison Break, a far superior show this season.

24 is just boring. After its kick ass season last year, I was expecting something to top it, but it went so-over-the-top that it was lackluster.

First of all, the mole story line is so played out and thankfully Nadia turned out NOT to be the mole, just a victim of racial profiling. By the way, don't you think by now CTU would have perfected their hiring practices? They've had endless moles working for foreign governments every season, I am sure they would need to hire a Senate Oversight committee to vet every resume and perform background checks. There's also the matter of CTU training for their field agents. Their field agents always get ambushed, never notice anyone sneaking up on their obvious government Expeditions to kill them, and most always die. If I was being sent on a mission with Jack Bauer, I would say no, thats not only a suicide mission but I won't even know what hit me because I never pay attention to anything. Come on people! Better training for your agents!

Vladimir Bierko suggests an interesting possibility - a prequel season. While the drama wouldn't be as intense (meaning we know Jack and Tony and everyone wouldn't die), it would be an interesting way to see fan favorites. I heard their movie may be a prequel, but it will probably end up being something that happens between season and drives the action for the final season of the show.

And yeah that whole Jack being nice to the autistic kid was definitely a shark-jumping moment. And how is President Logan doing? Come on, we need answers on dumb questions people!
rockauteur said…
I was also kind of hoping that on the way to the hospital, the EMTs were able to stablize President Logan. But due to a terrorist attack near by, the ambulance crashes down a ravine (in Los Angeles?). President Logan is thrown from the vehicle and survives, but of course all the EMTs are dead. Logan has amnesia, and can't remember he was once the President, and ends up being chased down by a cougar and deranged survivalist, until he remembers he has a way of locating Fay-Ed. He must track backwards to CTU (since pay phones don't work) to inform Jack before its too late. 24: The Logan Hours.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, when a show pulls a Rain Man, I think it is always a jump the shark moment. Add that to the predictable Nadia and coma storylines, and my interest level is at an all-time low. If the series continues beyond this season, they need to step out of their comfort zone. I don't know how feasible this would be, but what if Jack and maybe Chloe were on loan to an agency in London or Tokyo or someplace. Familiarity breeds contempt, and I'm starting to despise CTU Los Angeles. The White House shenanigans are getting old, too. The additions of James Cromwell and Rick Schroder to the cast have been the only bright spots this season.
Anonymous said…
I totally agree, and wrote as much myself yesterday. The nice Jack, the guy trying to sell Mike out, the retard on a mission, all awful.

and the turnover of characters means I don't care who lives or dies any more.

I love the idea of a prequel. Maybe the movie should be a prequel.

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