Thursday, 4 February 2010

On the 8th Day Tony Rested… - Initial Thoughts on 24 Season 8 (and Introducing the Patented 24 Day 8 Death Counter)

24 is back and on these fair shores we are now 4 episodes in, my opinions of this season are forever going to be tarred by the lack of Tony Almeida but I’m trying to keep an open mind for Jack Bauer’s 8th “longest day of his life”.

I’ll watch 24 until the day it goes off the air for good, I’m strangely loyal like that, I stuck with Prison Break until it was mercifully put to rest and I’m still watching Heroes in spite of the utter gash they have been putting out recently, so Almeida or no Almeida I’m still a 24 fan.

Because let’s face it, even the debacle of day 6 (which was undoubtedly a debacle even if it did feature the return of Milo Pressman) which was 24 at its worst was better than 90% of the other rubbish on TV these days.

Yes there is some great stuff on TV at the moment, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Californication, Mad Men, to name but a few; but nothing with the exception of maybe Lost (more on that later) has seemed to have captured the imagination of people over the world like 24 and for eight years now, Kiefer and co. have delivered us an edge of your seat thrill ride week after week, year after year.

I’m trying to work past my bitterness at Carlos Bernard’s omission from this year’s effort, which now may or may not be the final season for the show, and give an unbiased critique of what I have seen in the first four hours of day 8.

First the good:

Freddie Prinze Jnr. has been shockingly good as Cole Ortiz, he may be a bit Captain America but I had serious doubts that I’d buy the Scooby Doo star as a CTU agent, but credit where it’s due; within a few minutes of the first episode, all memories of him in a blonde wig as Fred opposite a giant CGI dog were gone.

I’m also quite enjoying the endless parade of familiar faces appearing in various roles this year, I don’t remember a previous season where I’ve recognised as many faces as I have in the first four hours of this year, maybe that’s been a conscious effort by the producers or maybe I’m just watching a hell of a lot more TV these days!

So far we’ve already had Doug ‘Horace Goodspeed from Lost’ Hutchison playing the first four hours’ main bad guy Davros, and once I’d got past the surprise of seeing the bespectacled, straggly haired Dharma man as a bad ass eastern European mercenary I quite enjoyed his performance… until Jack shot him that is.
Then there’s David ‘Adam Monroe from Heroes’ Anders who has just popped up as the next tier of bad guy, Bazhaev’s son, we also had Domenick ‘ Herc from The Wire’ Lombardozzi’ as a cop in episode 3 and we will soon be seeing the brilliant Callum Keith Rennie as Russian mobster Vladimir.

That is possibly the booking I’m most excited about, I’m a big Callum Keith Rennie fan, I really think he’s a great actor and hopefully he’ll get something decent to sink his teeth into before he is inevitably killed by Jack.

The bad though at the moment is far outweighing the good though, and remember I am at least trying to be non-partisan here.

Anil Kapoor’s accent is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, I’m pretty sure that is his actual accent and so he obviously can’t help how he speaks but it is so distracting from everything he says, even when he’s trying to be serious, I’m cracking up laughing.

The whole Dana Walsh sub-plot is just awful; we have no reason whatsoever to care about this woman so why are we getting good TV time devoted to this tedious, and to be honest, lame storyline!?

Are we really supposed to believe that this woman was able to reinvent herself and land a job at CTU, I’m pretty sure that given the propensity for CTU hiring double agents and the like that they would run some pretty stringent background checks.

This whole subplot kind of reminds me of Kim’s battle with Gary Matheson in season 2, another storyline I didn’t give one about, the domestic strife of characters that we really don’t care about. That particular storyline was necessary to give Elisha Cuthbert something to do in season 2 and was at least made somewhat interesting only by Billy Burke’s psychotic and damn creepy performance, here though there is no excuse for making us sit through this garbage, and although both actors are doing their best with the utter crap material it still has me wholly disinterested.

Then we have Renee’s return: I wasn’t exactly her biggest fan last year and this whole dark Renee although seemingly promising is kind of hard to accept really, I’ll give it a chance though because let’s face it, anything is better than the irritating Renee we had last year; I personally don’t see why they brought her back.

Speaking of which, I know Chloe is pretty much as 24 as Jack now but the ways they keep finding to keep her involved are getting tenuous now, as much as I enjoy Mary Lynn Rajskub’s work as Chloe I’d be quite happy to see the back of the character.

The fact that the show has been haemorrhaging viewers in the States shows that people aren’t getting hooked in this year for one reason or another and you can’t really blame them.

This season just feels like a retread so far: evil brother, nuclear material on US soil, bad men from Russia, bad men from the Middle East – if this was originally set to be the final season then you would have thought that 24 would want to go out in a blaze of glory not in what is essentially an amalgam of seasons past.

I’m hoping Callum Keith Rennie can bring his usual brand of awesomeness to next week’s proceedings and spark my interest in what, with the exception of a few great moments, has been a pretty lacklustre return thus far.

If I seem overly critical it’s because I care, the character that made me love the show may not be around anymore but I’m still a huge 24 fan and it pains me to say that judging what I’ve seen so far it kind of feels like Jack should have maybe stayed in retirement…

…So to try and maintain a healthy interest in the show this year, even if it turns out to be a major disappointment, I’ve decided to keep track of all the deaths that happen in the twenty four hours of Day 8.

I’ve always wondered just how many people breathe their last and how many of those Jack is responsible for during a season of 24, so for the remainder of the season I’m going to be operating my patented, in no way morbid, 24 Day 8 Death Counter…

* x2 of Victor Aruz’s ‘associates’ - Manuel Escobar & Mauricio Teyes were killed by a bullet to the forehead, presumably by Davros’ men, before the ‘day’ began so cannot be counted, but for their contribution to 24 canon they deserved a brief mention.

Hour 1 –

x2 NYPD cops (assumed, as it was never confirmed they were dead) shot by Davros’ men who were pursuing Jack and Victor Aruz.

x2 of Davros’ men – the first ‘Jack Bauer Kills’ (JBK) of the season. One takes an axe to the chest and one gets thrown down a stairwell. Less than an hour earlier Jack was playing with his granddaughter and her fluffy Polar Bear…

Victor Aruz – dies after rocket launcher attack on CTU chopper by Davros, also may have succumbed to earlier gun shot wound suffered at the hands of aforementioned bad guys killed by Jack

x2 CTU Agents (Johnson & Torres, I think were their names) killed in the CTU chopper explosion which was caused by Davros’ rocket launcher attack.

Episode Death Total = 7

Cumulative Season Death Total = 7

Jack Bauer Kills (JBK) Total = 2

Hour 2 –

No deaths, but an innocent housewife was shot in the leg by Davros.

Episode Death Total = 0

Cumulative Season Death Total = 7

JBK Total = 2

Hour 3 –

Jim Koernig – executed via a bullet to the head by Davros

Maggie Koernig – executed via a bullet to the head by Davros

Episode Death Total = 2

Cumulative Season Death Total = 9

JBK Total = 2

Hour 4 –

Davros – (JBK) shot twice by Jack Bauer as he was about to execute Cole Ortiz.

CTU Agent – stabbed in the neck with a pen by Farhad Hassan

Episode Death Total = 2

Cumulative Season Death Total = 11

JBK Total = 3

Be sure to check back in with the 24 Day 8 Death Counter each week as the show progresses.

Other Musings:

- Quick Football thought – Robbie Keane this week signed for Celtic on loan until the end of the season; a move which was greeted by comments that it was the team he supported as a boy. Yet when he moved to Liverpool the other year, correct me if I’m wrong but his excuse for leaving Spurs was that he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play for the team he supported as a boy.

How many teams did this guy support as a boy!? I bet it cost his parents a fortune for replica kits.

- Dollhouse appears to have finally hit its stride and is now building to an appetising crescendo, it’s just a shame it took them so damn long to get there!

- Lost is back on Friday night (Worst. Scheduling. Ever. Sky1) and I’m actually the most excited I’ve been for a returning show in a long time.

I really am intrigued as to what they have in store for us this year and I’ll be posting my thoughts here next week.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Gareth, it's not David "Adam Monroe from Heroes" Anders. It's David "Julian Sark from Alias" Anders. :)


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