Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dear '24' Writers: The Clock is Ticking

Dear '24' Writers:

You've almost lost me. While I'm well accustomed to wearing a series of bemused smiles on my face as I watch Jack Bauer achieve superhuman feats (this week's deadly accurate knife throwing comes to mind), as others routinely travel faster than the speed of light to get around places (with no traffic tie-ups or bathroom breaks), I'm not used to openly guffawing at the show, repeatedly, to the point where I'm wondering if I'm actually watching a spoof of 24 instead of the real Jack Bauer power hour.

"I don't know if I'm gonna make it to the end of this season," my husband said about 20 minutes into the latest hour of Jack Bauer's eighth bad day. I concur. Why? Let me count the reasons:

The Dana/Jenny storyline is abysmal. Just atrocious. Worse than the Papa Bauer debacle.

Chloe O'Brian, once a source of quirky brilliance, has been reduced to the embodiment of a snarl who walks around the office and delivers messages to others. I so want the old Chloe back. (Maybe you can resurrect Edgar while you're at it. It'd be as believable as some of the schlock that's on this once gripping show this season.)

President Allison Taylor talked openly, in the middle of the UN floor, about the fact that there are unsecured nukes on the loose in New York City.

And the clueless head of New York's CTU bureau, Brian Hastings, is even more clueless than the usual supervisors featured on 24. I know that by-the-books bureaucrats are often portrayed as one-dimensional cardboard cutouts and are routinely skewered on the show, but, in watching Hastings, I've been scratching my head at the inanity of what he says and keep wondering when he's going to stand up straight. When Hastings questioned how undercover agent Renee Walker could've stabbed the arms dealer named Vladimir when, less than an hour ago she'd been "having sex" with him -- she'd been coerced, under threat of violence by a gun-toting guy with henchmen, to have relations with Vladimir, something known as rape, not "having sex" -- I went ballistic. (There's a thoughtful piece about this issue on the Women & Hollywood web site.) They've sunk to a new low with incompetent supervisors here.

You don't have much longer before I decide that 24's not worth my time any longer after having watched it faithfully for years, even when it veered into wildly uneven territory that massively strained credulity. It had better get better soon. The clock's ticking.



For those of you watching 24, feel free to weigh in on your thoughts on the eighth season.

Image credit: Fox.

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