Sunday, January 09, 2005

TV: 24

I gave up on 24 midway through the second season, came back for the very end, then gave up again at the beginning of the third season. There's only so much suspension of disbelief I can muster. When every single scene makes you yell at the TV, "Oh, come on!!!" it's time to cut your losses.

I tuned in for tonight's two-hour fourth season premiere, though, for one major reason: no Kim. Jack's idiot daughter Kim, the dumbest character ever on a TV show (and I am including the likes of Gilligan, Gomer Pyle, Chrissy Snow, and Ann Coulter), has been cut from the cast, and that alone was enough to make me check back in. I mean, this is a character who got her foot caught in a bear trap and was menaced by a mountain lion. She couldn't cross the street without giving away a government secret and being taken hostage. And she's gone, blissfully gone!

And I mostly liked the show. Kiefer Sutherland is very good, as he has been since episode one; his broody menace is highly effective. Although he's mostly used up his bag of tricks. When he shoots a suspect in the leg to get a confession, it's no longer shocking. We've seen him cut the head off a suspect before. There's very little he can do to shock us now, which is rough for a show that depends on a steady flow of shocks.

Yes, Kiefer's good, but the supporting cast is troublesome, as always. In order to plant the suggestion that any one of them could be a bad guy in disguise, they all tend to make stubbornly stupid mistakes -- primarily, ignoring every single thing Jack says. "Are they impeding Jack because they're terrorist moles?" you're meant to think. But if they're not, then they're simply very, very bad at their jobs, which undermines the already-tenuous plausibility of the show. (As does, I suppose, the fact that all those moles keep popping up in the government, but at least if they're moles, they have an excuse for their incompetence.)

But 24 sure does action right. From a train wreck in the beginning moments, to the kidnapping of the Secretary of Defense (a powerful William Devane), to a shootout outside Union Station, the action is tense and tight.

There are already some elements that are making me groan. Jack is dating the Secretary's daughter without his knowledge -- and of course, she gets kidnapped, too. (Every woman in Jack's life gets kidnapped once or twice a season.) And the Kim character has been matched in stupidity by Debbie, the girlfriend of the son of the terrorist mastermind. If she survives the second two-hour block Monday night, 1) I will be amazed, and 2) she certainly will not deserve it. You know, the women on this show tend to be dumb bitches or pure evil. I wonder if the show's creators had mommy issues?

So yes, I will be checking out tomorrow's episodes. Kiefer is compelling, the action is riveting, and I really dig that Geoff Pierson, formerly the slovenly idiot father from Unhappily Ever After, is the new President of the United States. (I wonder if a bunny puppet voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait will appear as a member of his Cabinet?) I'm not fully committed to 24 again, but after four hours, I think I'll have made my decision on the season, for better or for worse.

Labels: ,

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by