Thursday, 22 January 2009

Twenty Bored

There are terrorists planning to assassinate a presidential candidate. My wife and daughter have been kidnapped, and some of the people that I work with may be involved in both. Oh, and David Palmer's son may have killed somebody, but he probably didn't.

There's a nuclear bomb about to go off in Los Angeles. An American business looks like it's behind it. But, you know, Jack Bauer's daughter is going to be running for a bit. And getting caught in bear traps.

There's a weaponised virus strain loose in LA. Jack Bauer has a heroin addiction. They need to break a druglord out of prison. Oh, but somebody may say some naughty things about the President. And something involving a guy called Alan Milliken. Who I don't care about.

In case you haven't worked it out, I'm going on about a common theme in American drama 24, which has beautifully returned to our screens on Sky One. It seems they can never complete a series without introducing a very boring plotline that has nothing to do with anything. I call the phenomenon "getting Twenty Bored". But it happens all the time, so it can't be that big a phenomenon. 24's been away for 18 months now due to writers striking and Kiefers drinking. The writers have promised that it will "go back to it's roots" and be "rebooted". This scared me, as the last time it "rebooted" was around the time of Series 4, where something awful happened. They decided to dumb down the "one plot that takes 24 hours to complete" regime, and added a new "plotline is resolved within four hours, new plotline takes over" tactic. It might as well have been four series' of a show called 6. Which sounds good on paper, but really isn't.

And then a grizzly bear started gnawing on her remains. She got a silent clock for that scene

As the seasons went on, so did the plots. We had a nuclear power station melt down, which is heartfelt on it's own... but we had to be given the emotional backstory that Edgar Stiles' grandmother was stuck on the island the power station was melting down on. Emotional overload! The writers decided that this strand of plot wasn't emotional enough, and decided to let Edgar's grandmother commit suicide. And then a grizzly bear started gnawing on her remains. She got a silent clock for that scene.

This "reboot" was not going to plan. It got worse as the long days continued, until we reached the final abomination that was Series Six. We had a nice idea about suitcase nukes and the potential death of Jack Bauer... until about episode 10 where the writers decided to involve Bauer's entire extended family. There was also the kidnap of a blonde haired effeminate Bauer relative, and a final scene set near some docks, where the bad guy died. And one of the characters announced she was surprisingly pregnant. This was not longer a reboot... it was a rehash.

The fans were very vocal about this series. I'll be honest and say that I haven't even watched three of the final episodes. I didn't have much hope for this new series.

But... it's been good so far. Five episodes in, and we've had enough twists and turns than we did in previous series, everything seems believable so far, and for the first time since 2002, I'm watching the episodes once a week, as they air on TV. I usually wait til the end of the series and watch all 24 episodes in a day. I'm also doing something new, which is watch the new series with somebody whose never even seen 24 before. It's nice to get a fresh perspective on it.

It's also nice to know that in this reboot, we have a plot that I don't care about! It wouldn't be 24 without it. This time, it's Did The President's Son Roger Kill Himself Or Not? , a plot that I didn't welcome with open arms. But, luckily for me, we're five episodes in and the plot is beginning to make a connection with everything else going on! This excites me, as it's never been done before. But then again, when Chloe ended up looking after a baby in Series Three, I never did suspect that it was behind the virus attacks in any way. Would have been cool though.

I look forward to the rest of Day 7. Don't fail me, Bauer

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