Monday, April 20, 2009

3/4s of 24

The new season is three-quarters finished and I have to say I've been enjoying it though any feeling of weight or seriousness the show might have had during its glory days of Seasons 2-4 are long gone. Not that it was actually serious then but just felt like it should be. Now it really is just pure pulp/Saturday serial storytelling: Jack framed for murder by an improbably convoluted and utterly implausible method! Tony racing to stop missiles in their final launch countdown! Jack infected with an incurable disease! Terrorists capture the White House! The First Daughter is Machiavelli reincarnated! At several points through the season it's been unclear where the story can go next but so far they've managed to come up with a series of linked arcs that build on each other, probably a better idea than trying to find one huge story that can last a full season and also one that keeps viewers from getting bored.

And of course there have been some well-done cliffhangers, last Monday's being one of the most unexpected. I'm thinking there are three possibilities: Tony saw a way for some easy (more or less) money, Tony has all along been working for the shadowy Big Bad Guys, or Tony is now going deep undercover to expose the Big Bad Guys. And it wouldn't be the first time this season we've seen an FBI agent's death faked. None of the possibilities really work in the story - there's far too much unpredictable for it to have been planned. But I also get glimmers that the show writers might be about to pull everything into a grand scheme where all the elements click into place. Wishful thinking because one thing you can say about 24 writers is that they've never been that smart.

In some moment of synchronicity I came across this in a new Alan Moore interview (which should be read in the context of the borrowed characters in LOEG):
The excellent Charlie Brooker, our English TV columnist, came up with a theory about “24,” which I think was one of his guilty pleasures. He didn’t know why he kept watching it, but he did. And he had a theory in the first series – there was a scene in one of the early episodes where [Jack Bauer] nods off briefly in a laundromat or something, and Charlie Brooker’s theory was that everything since then has been his dream. And in a postmodern move, the makers of “24” have cunningly blended Kiefer Sutherland the actor with Jack Bauer the character, so there are loads of people from Kiefer Sutherland’s previous screen career suddenly turning up in “24.” He played an FBI agent called Jack in a film opposite Dennis Hopper, who turned up in “24.” Lou Diamond Philips, who he’d been with in “Young Guns,” turns up in “24.” And I think that Charlie Brooker ended up saying he imagined that the next episode was going to involve Jack Bauer and the entire cast of “Lost Boys” battling it out on the set of “Flatliners.”