24: Die another Day - some spoilers
The Following Takes Place between 5:03 and 5:06pm. Typing takes place in real time.
The new season of 24, which oddly enough is only going to be 12 episodes, is in two words: a stretch. But fun.
Set against headline-ripped issues of government document leaks and drone strikes, Jack Bauer returns as the only human being capable of stopping some terror plot unfolding by the minute in London, where he happens to be.
Back are our old friends the multiple PIP screen layout to juxtapose plot elements or points of view. Cool when it debuted (in 2000 it was still kind of a challenge to do multiple PIP in non-live television). Anyway it still has its place and still works as part of the overall theme of the show.
Critics have said that Kiefer is too old to be out saving the world. I disagree. At 48 he's not that much older than me, so he is most certainly not old! Liam Neeson is kicking butt all over the world and he's in his 50's. Besides in this season Kiefer is mostly holding people at gun point and yelling at Chloe over his cell phone earpiece which works even underground and never needs to be charged.
He could just about do most of this from a seated position.
Returning are the President and his aides from last season, a dopey head of CTU (now the CIA station chief in London because let's face it, there is no CTU) who gets every call wrong, and a pair of field agents who get every call right, but are kept from leading the operation, so they need to go rogue in every episode.
Thus far we have only seen a little bit of torture. The previous seasons basically established that the CIA (sorry, CTU) will torture anyone at any time and always has "a guy" standing by who presumably is an off books contractor.
We have a villain, played by Michelle Fairley (just off of her Game of Thrones role), who has no problem torturing her own family (and not with the usual culprits of meatloaf and tuna noodle casserole!)
Of course Chloe is there along with her Edward Snowden / Julian Assange counterparts, able to hack into any computer system instantly and decrypt level 12 security in 8 seconds flat, remotely. All she needs to do is open a socket.
There is a computer geek at CTU who can do all that same stuff if need be, but he'll probably be dead soon.
Overall the show is good post-9/11 escapism. It is nice to see enemies associated with actual world events, rather than in season 4 or 5 where we were fighting extremists from the province of Whassupistan.
Maybe once Jack saves the day he can hop over to NBC and save those kids from Crisis. The male-female team on that show, who look and act and talk and dress a lot like the ones on 24 could use his help.
12 short weeks later and another (hopefully last) season is over. They decided to do 11 episodes for the first 11 hours, then the 12th hour in the first 45 min of the final episode and a handy "12 hours later" card followed by some contrived scenes wrapping up the 24 saga, yet not killing Jack Bauer so he can always come back for 24: Tomorrow Never Dies.
I don't mean to be mean, but while this season was classic 24, it was quite ridiculous. I know the COW has a nice article currently with the effects house, in my opinion the visual effects were the worst part of this season. Shots of drones flying over London and smoke effects were very cheap looking.
Jack gets some revenge but loses a lot including some of his soul.
Chloe has more sourpuss faces than ever before and manages to out-Assange the world's best hackers.
The CIA leadership, like CTU previously, showed itself to be totally useless, while the low level analysts do most of the heavy lifting.
Ok. So it is typical 24, and to be fair I religiously watched all 11.75 episodes, but hoped it would end soon.
Would it be awesome to have a final 24 back in LA? Maybe. But I vote to let it end here.