Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bauer Watch: Keeping it in the Family

Day Six of "24" is building off last season's Emmy winning high and then some. After the shocking nuclear attack in Valencia, Jack tells a confused Bill Buchanen at CTU that he's not quitting after all, "not after this." After interrogating former terrorist turned peace activist Assad, he gives CTU the name of the Russian General who sold the suitcase Nukes to Fayed. After running a check on the general's associates, one name sticks out like a sore thumb.
Jack Bauer's father.

The question of how the hell the writers can continue the show's momentum is answered with the simple and brilliant idea of bringing Jack's until now unseen family into the show. Jack calls his dad's office and is told he is mysteriously "out of town," then asks for his brother's phone number so he can get some information from him.

His brother turns out to be none other than the guy who was the mastermind behind President Keilor's evil scheme's last year, a subplot that I'd expected the writers to ignore (the way the notoriously did after season 2's cliff hanger in which David Palmer almost died in an assasination attempt in the finale and then the attack was barely mentioned in season 3- but that's the story the awful video game tried to tell.) Not this time- this time it's all in the family. So "Blue Tooth Douche" who never takes his stupid blue tooth head set out, is back. (Full disclosure though- I've got one of those headsets now- for talking on the phone while driving. They're stupid but help me not get into accidents while talking on the phone.)

Anyway... the choice to keep it in the family for "24" this year is a great one... that will hopefully pay off down the line.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bauer Watch: Goin' Nuclear

"24" returned last weekend with a vengeance. Jack Bauer comes back to America after spending nearly two years as a Chinese POW, scarred and broken. The first thing his government asks him to do: sacrifice himself to Fayed, a terrorist with a personal hatred of Jack who promises to give up the location of an Osama Bin Laden like Jihad leader Assad in exchange for Bauer. The broken and defeated Jack agrees, because it means he will at least die "for a reason." He even says that "it would be relief to die" at this point. Good god! In these first few scenes, we see a Bauer we've never seen before- haunted, scarred, and utterly crushed as a human. But when he learns the whole sacrifice is a setup, that Assad is actually planning to try and work with the West and disarm and Fayed wants him dead for "betraying the cause," Jack goes into action- first by tearing out a terrorists throat with his teeth.
There's the Jack Bauer we all know and missed.
Jack finds himself in the tough position of running to save Assad before he is killed in an air strike. Assad and Jack end up working together to try and stop Fayed, who they believe has a suitcase nuke in his possession. After they find out where the nuke is, Assad is given a presidential pardon and agrees to continue working with Jack to stop Fayed. But Curtis, who has been simmering quietly for the whole episode, finally snaps. It turns out Assad killed a bunch of men in his platoon back in the first Iraq war, and Curtis wants blood. Jack has to make an awful choice and shoots one of his last friends in the neck, watching him die. Jack, in a moment of utter revulsion, vomits and cries. As if the show isn't grim enough at this point, just after Jack calls in to say he's done, that he "can't do this anymore," the tactical team sent to get the suitcase nuke from the terrorists (in Valencia!) is spotted and the terrorists detonate the bomb right then and there.
Yes, a nuclear bomb explodes on American soil on "24." Just moments after Jack had to kill one of his only close friends, he looks up and sees a mushroom cloud form in the sky.
Welcome back, "24." You've made the "Lost" writers look like a bunch of pussies.
The first four hours of season six were grim, upsetting, visceral television. Kiefer Sutherland's performance as Bauer has never been better, and it's really turned into one of the great TV performances of all time. Bauer is a haunted, cursed man. He's one of the most badass heroes ever, relentless in his pursuit of the bad guys and brutal in his dispatching of dozens of terrorists at a time. But his vulnerability is what makes Bauer such a compelling character. This guy is utterly alone in the world at this point, having watched the people he cares about most die one by one even as he's saved millions of American lives. There is very little fight left in Jack as season six starts, but the bomb exploding in Valencia might just be the thing that kick starts Mr. Bauer's engines.
The show’s first four episodes are ballsy, grim, pitch dark TV. The show is not exactly very fun right now, but I admire the writers for having the guts to start off in such a dark place with the show. It’s says a lot that six seasons into the show, they are still upping the ante and finding ways to shock us. The best show on TV is back and better than ever. Don’t even try to resist it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Our First Big Hit

I have not posted in a long time (anybody whose keeping score at home- I am in the camp that thought "Lost" was awesome. I'll probably recap all my thoughts before the show returns with new episodes in a few weeks, and y'all know I'll be posting all about "24" when it returns to the air as well as publishing my top ten lists for the just ended year, so keep checking back in, loyal readers!) I've been super busy with my new job, which is what this new post is all about. I present to you the premeire of one our first big videos, the trailer for the buddy comedy "Second Coming." Take a look and enjoy yourselves.