24 series review

Seasons 1 and 2 ran from 2001 to 2003.

24

Commentary

Only covers the first two seasons.

Season 1 (mid-point)

Favourite show: A+

Definitely the best new show on TV; possible the best, period. I can’t actually find anything bad to say about it, except that so much has happened already that I don’t know how they’ll keep it up the remaining hours they have left. But I’ll certainly be watching to see…

Season 1 (end)

3rd favourite show: A-

Turns out that 24 hours is a lot of hours: as predicted, the second half of the season just didn’t live up to the first. While the series was worth sticking with to the end, some subplots started to grate: Kim’s increasingly stupid (and inexplicable) actions; Terri’s amnesia plot (I kid you not); an odd Lewinski-type storyline (albeit one with a good punchline). And when all else failed, they’d just repeat elements—like kidnap Kim again.

All that grousing aside, the show retained some stellar moments and was, overall, an exciting, original program, and Kiefer is great in it. But it does drop a few grade points since mid-season.

Season 2 (mid-point)

2nd favourite show

Could they really repeat the roller-coaster thrills of season 1, in the same real-time format? So far, that’s a resounding yes. In these days, the idea of a terrorist bomb set to go off in Los Angeles doesn’t seem too outlandish at all, and it’s the basis for getting both Jack and Nina (!) working together (!) to stop it, while Palmer, now President, manages it at the executive level. While dealing with a possible conspiracy against him. And while Kim (sigh) is once again in trouble with the police.

Yes, poor Kimmie is once again the show’s one weak link, as the character seems unable to shake the effects of last season’s string of bad decisions, even though she is making better ones this year.

But enough about that. New characters introduced are working well now, having been thoroughly integrated into the main plot line—though we really don’t know in just what role yet. Sherry is back, and we don’t know what her game is yet, either. And someone’s just been kidnapped—and it’s not Kim! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Season 2 (end)

Jumped the shark

To “jump the shark” refers to a formerly good show that starts to deteriorate in quality, finally reaching some level of badness that it simply can’t come back from.

Let’s trace 24’s devolution, shall we?

I quite liked the first half of the season, except for the violence, especially of the torturing variety, which I often found excessive and disturbing. And then, much like last year, Kim’s plotline started to become absurd. The girl simply ran around getting tangled up with one psycho man after another. At this point, mind you, rolling your eyes and sighing at the badness that was Kim’s plotline was almost part of the 24 viewing experience. So Kim’s “jump the shark” moment was when she was caught in the leghold trap and the cougar showed up (the first of her ridiculous predicaments), but she didn’t take the whole show down with her.

In fact, the 24 writers themselves apparently became kind of embarrassed about the whole Kim thing, and suddenly she wasn’t on every episode anymore. But it’s like the badness that was concentrated there spread out and infected everybody else’s stories.

Mike, the President’s right-hand man, the one guy he’s been able to count on all these years, heads up a plot to depose him as being “incompetent” because he and everyone else in this Democratic party is so eager to go bomb Arab countries that they can’t delay it for even four hours. (Heck, even Dubya had more patience than that.) Uh huh. And CTU, under lock-down after being bombed, lets Michelle’s psycho brother in to wander around freely. Uh huh. And Jack? Oh yeah, he’s getting tortured to death. A whole episode and a half of torture, because we haven’t seen enough of that yet. Right.

The season ended on a kind of cliff-hanger, with the President getting infected by one of the terrorists from Season 1. It’s a clever, time-tested ploy to get the viewers back. But I won’t be joining them.

Cast

Stars Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer

Co-stars Elisha Kuthbert as Kim Bauer, Dennis Haysbert as David Palmer, Sarah Wyntner as Kate Warner (S2), Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida, Sarah Clarke as Nina Myers, Xander Berkeley as George Mason, Penny Johnson Jerald as Sherry Palmer, Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessier (S2), Sara Gilbert as Paula Schaeffer (S2), Leslie Hope as Teri Bauer (S1), and Karina Arroyave as Jamey Farrell (S1).

Also see: Alias series review