I’m about ready to hop the train on the TV show 24. Last season was surprisingly good considering it was the 5th (order from best season to worst: 1,2,5,4,3). Here are the problems I’m having:
- President Wayne Palmer. This is not working for a number of reasons. First, there was never any indication that he was politically active except by way of his brother. When he was his brother’s Chief of Staff I’m pretty sure they explicitly said that he got there by way of private industry. Even setting that aside (say he got in on the sympathy vote), Wayne Palmer does not look or act like a president. And even setting that aside, what happened to the shrewd and worldwise Wayne Palmer of season three? He’s been replaced by an airy idealist. If they wanted to give the Democrats back the White House and they wanted a link to David Palmer and someone to keep the charge they should have dusted off former Vice President Jim Prescott. That would have had the added value of a former veep who tried to angle out the president being the victim of another veep trying to do the same. That brings me to…
- Vice President Noah Daniels. Holy cow, this guy oozes menace. How many disloyal villainous vice presidents are we going to have? I’d say that it’s so obvious that it must be a red herring, but they did that last season with Hal Gardner. Powers Boothe is great, but he would have been better in the Gardner role.
- Tom Lennox. I realize when the plot takes place over a 24 hour period you don’t have a whole lot of time for nuance, but seriously the hyperactivity with which he wants to imprison all Muslims everywhere is beyond comic book and his demeanor so snivelling that we have no choice but to hate him. Meanwhile, his plan is so outlandish and offensive they should have tried to put as reasonable a face on it as possible to make it seem less so Someone that seems either sorry that what he believes has to be done has to be done or seems coldly analytical about it. Not someone who seems excited about the prospect of throwing brown people behind bars. And how could he have not known that Palmer would be reluctant to implement such measures? And if he feels that way, he should have supported someone like Noah Daniels from the beginning. With President Logan utterly disgraced up against his hand-picked and unelected successor, the election should have been a cakewalk with whomever they nominated.
- Wayne Palmer’s moralizing. I almost wanted to disagree with Palmer on principle about internment. His argument was predicated on the notion (repeated ad nauseum for emphasis) that America’s best weapon against radical Islam is American Muslims. What a ridiculous argument. If he’s going to moralize, how about: we don’t intern an entire ethnic or religious demographic because we’re America and America doesn’t do that. Yes, there was internment in WW2, but we’ve been hung over from that ever since.
- Muslim stooges again. Look, I understand reluctance to make Islamic radicals the main enemy every single season, but come on. We’ve had Muslim terrorists that are stooges of the oil companies, stooges of the defense industry, and now stooges of Russian nationalists. If you don’t want to use Muslims then don’t use them, but for heavens sake stop making them puppets for western interests.
- Jack Bauer. There comes a point where you’re hoping that someone pops him just to put him out of his misery.
- Graem Bauer. I gotta admit, I thought the revelation for Graem was well-played. But again, do you really have to have such a schmuck in such an important position? They should have made this guy Jack’s evil twin. All of Jack’s abilities plus a little more warpedness in the head. Absent that, let’s have someone with some presence. Though I guess that’s the point of…
- Philip Bauer. Man, when did James Cromwell get so old? He’s certainly got more presence than his fictional son, but Jack could eat him for lunch (which again is why it’d be better to have his buff brother as the villain). Cromwell is great, but why didn’t this part go to Donald Southerland? I guess cause they didn’t want his villainy to be so obvious? I dunno, I guess I don’t have as much a problem with Philip, except for the whole family soap opera thing. Speaking of which…
- Joshua Bauer. Kudos on getting a kid that really looks the part of Jack’s son… errr… “nephew”. But seriously, this has got all of the corniness of a dimestore novel without being, you know, interesting.