Stephen Speicher

24 (2001)

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102 posts in this topic

So I'm watching the extra material from Season 2, and the actor who plays Pdt Palmer says that he's paterned his persona based on (you might want to sit down at this point) Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Colin Powell.  Unbelievable...

I saw that, too, but I don't put a whole lot of stock in the political opinions of actors. And I don't see any of those former presidents in Dennis Haysbert's portrayal of David Palmer.

For all we know, Jean Smart might say she's modeling Martha Logan on Hillary Clinton. It still wouldn't make any difference with regard to the performance.

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For all we know, Jean Smart might say she's modeling Martha Logan on Hillary Clinton. It still wouldn't make any difference with regard to the performance.

:P The thought had crossed my mind...

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So I just finished season 4, and I really enjoyed it. I agree that it is the richest in drama of the series. The subplots are well integrated (except that of Erin Driscoll's daughter) and kept my interest riveted. In fact, I finished the penultimate DVD and had to rush out of the house to get the last one...

I loved when Chloe O'Brien killed the bad guy with the assault rifle! :angry2: She's a great character.

Spoilers follow!!!

I have to agree to this though:

...a few malevolent premises here and there...

I think those are more than premices. It has become a given that all of Jack Bauer's friends, allies, and love interests have to die or otherwise disappear (that includes "non lethal" retirements like Chase Edmunds' and Kate Warner's) within 2 to 3 episodes. I know that Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler, and Pdt Palmer die in episode 5, and I find that more than a bit disheartening given how important those characters have become. I can only imagine that Chloe O'Brien isn't going to be of this world for much longer....

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I can only imagine that Chloe O'Brien isn't going to be of this world for much longer....

Maybe. I think one of the reasons Edgar went is because he's overweight and not a handsome guy. Hollywood's natural tendency is for attractive actors (which makes sense overall). I theorize that he'll be replaced by either a more handsome male actor or an attractive woman.

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Maybe. I think one of the reasons Edgar went is because he's overweight and not a handsome guy. Hollywood's natural tendency is for attractive actors (which makes sense overall).
What about Tony Almeida? Edgar isn't much of a concern to me because he was clearly a supporting supporting role, but Almeida, Dessler, O'Brien, and a few others are right behind Bauer in terms of importance, and also in how heroic they are.

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... but Almeida, Dessler, O'Brien, and a few others are right behind Bauer in terms of importance, and also in how heroic they are.

I don't really know. I can think of a couple of possibilities. The first is that the producers wanted some "new blood" and Tony and Michelle have played prominent roles for a long time. The second is that the actors themselves wanted to do something else - or wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay - and so were written out of the series.

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I don't really know. I can think of a couple of possibilities. The first is that the producers wanted some "new blood" and Tony and Michelle have played prominent roles for a long time. The second is that the actors themselves wanted to do something else - or wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay - and so were written out of the series.
My point is that they could have been retired without being killed. In fact, for those three it would have been incredibly easy given that they all are out of the circle of events at the end of episode 4.

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With regard to actors coming and going on the show, it's been a given (as explained by the writers and producers) since the first season that the cast would constantly change. The only given has been Jack himself. The fact that Carlos Bernard lasted as long as he did was quite a bonus for the actor.

Another thing I've noticed is once a character's usefulness is no longer important to the storyline, such as Sherry Palmer at the end of season 3, or Michelle Dessler at the beginning of the current season, they are killed off. In following the events of this season (and I have to say I was surprised by the turn of events), the deaths of major characters make sense in the context of the plot.

It may well be that such killing off is a malevolent premise, but we must remember that the show itself is always dealing with dire, life and death events. The stage was set when Teri Bauer died at the end of season 1.

As a footnote, Kim Bauer may be the only major character not to have been killed off. The couple of episodes we saw her in this season confirmed, I think, that her character has run its course.

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Another thank you to the forum for turning me on to this show. I have started to watch season 1 on DVD and I am completely hooked. The suspense is almost unbearable! And I love Jack's line in episode 1 about how the fellow agents he turned in for taking bribes were "good people who compromised -- once."

I'm excited knowing that there are a few seasons' worth of DVDs to keep me on the edge of my seat for the rest of the summer!

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After reading the glowing recommendations I rented disc 1-3 of season 4 last night, and now I think I may have made a mistake: how am I going to finish my homework now!? How am I going to sleep!? ;):D I've never seen any movie or TV series as suspenseful as 24. I agree the plot is well integrated except (so far) for the subplot with Driscoll's daughter. This season is (so far) almost flawless!

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After reading the glowing recommendations I rented disc 1-3 of season 4 last night, and now I think I may have made a mistake: how am I going to finish my homework now!? How am I going to sleep!? ;):D I've never seen any movie or TV series as suspenseful as 24. I agree the plot is well integrated except (so far) for the subplot with Driscoll's daughter. This season is (so far) almost flawless!

In my opinion, Season 5, which aired earlier this year, is the best season so far. Kiefer Sutherland recently won a (well-deserved) Emmy for his portrayal of Jack Bauer.

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In my opinion, Season 5, which aired earlier this year, is the best season so far. Kiefer Sutherland recently won a (well-deserved) Emmy for his portrayal of Jack Bauer.

It's too bad he doesn't seem to believe in Jack Bauer's character. :blink: Here's an interview quote:

"Do I personally believe that the police or any of these other legal agencies that are working for this government should be entitled to interrogate people and do the things that I do on the show? No, I do not." source link

The writers had me convinced they believed that Jack's interrogation methods were right because they almost always had the plot turn out such that the tortured man had vital information that led ultimately to thwarting the attacks. Sutherland was very convincing as a man who really believed in the rightness of what he did. It's saddening and a bit baffling that the writers and Sutherland, the executive producer, would deny it.

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It's too bad he doesn't seem to believe in Jack Bauer's character. :blink: Here's an interview quote:

"Do I personally believe that the police or any of these other legal agencies that are working for this government should be entitled to interrogate people and do the things that I do on the show? No, I do not." source link

The writers had me convinced they believed that Jack's interrogation methods were right because they almost always had the plot turn out such that the tortured man had vital information that led ultimately to thwarting the attacks. Sutherland was very convincing as a man who really believed in the rightness of what he did. It's saddening and a bit baffling that the writers and Sutherland, the executive producer, would deny it.

You may be saddened, but you should not be baffled. Your own reference offers interesting quotes from another executive producer of the show, Joel Surnow:

Surnow also told the paper that 24’s writers are both liberal and conservative, that 24 doesn’t “try to push an agenda,” but is “committed to being non-PC.” He also offered a defense of torture under extreme circumstances, the sort that characterize the world of 24. “If there’s a bomb about to hit a major U.S. city and you have a person with information . . . if you don’t torture that person, that would be one of the most immoral acts you could imagine,” he told The Washington Times.

So, in the world of 24, not torturing under those circumstances would be "one of the most immoral acts you could imagine." Good for Joel Surnow. Perhaps here we have an indication where that perspective on the show is coming from.

Also, the fact that Sutherland portrays his character so well and so believingly, yet he personally disagrees with the premise, is a tribute to his acting ability. And, further food for thought for those who want to reject actors for the Atlas Shrugged movie because of the personal views that the actors hold.

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...

Also, the fact that Sutherland portrays his character so well and so believingly, yet he personally disagrees with the premise, is a tribute to his acting ability. And, further food for thought for those who want to reject actors for the Atlas Shrugged movie because of the personal views that the actors hold.

I'm even more impressed by his acting ability after I discovered a 4-page long interview (WARNING: interview contains coarse language) with Keifer Sutherland in Rolling Stone magazine, which reveals a character drastically different from what he portrays on screen. It is revealed that he has, among other things, drinking problems and has had several bar fights. He was arrested for drunk driving several times, too. There's also an incident concerning a Christmas tree that's just truly baffling (on page 4): :blink:

But perhaps the most emblematic episode occurred last Christmas, inside London's Strand Palace Hotel.

"After a marathon booze bender with pals," wrote The Sunday Mirror, "a huge Christmas tree caught [Kiefer's] eye. 'I hate that [expletive deleted] Christmas tree,' he declared. 'The tree has to come down.' Kiefer warned staff: 'I'm smashing it -- can I pay for it?' A staff member replied, 'I'm absolutely sure you can, sir.' [He] then hurled himself into the Norwegian spruce, sending baubles and lights crashing to the ground.... Pulling pine needles out of his hair and T-shirt, he said to a hotel employee, 'Oh, sorry about that...you're so cool. This [expletive deleted] hotel rocks!' "

Kiefer says this account is fairly accurate and disputes only his quotes. "I didn't say anything," he says, "and that's what was funny. It was a joke, done to make someone laugh. And the tree was fine. It was fine."

"Is drinking your most self-destructive behavior?" I ask him, knowing the answer.

"It's absolutely caused me the most grief."

If a man like that can be Jack Bauer on screen, I wouldn't be surprised now if he could convincingly portray John Galt or Hank Rearden.

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I think Sutherlandn would make an excellent Galt, except that he might be too old. My first choice would be Christian Bale, however.

(minor) SPOILER

Jack Bauer: "They weren't bad men. They were just like you and me, except they compromised once."

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If a man like that can be Jack Bauer on screen, I wouldn't be surprised now if he could convincingly portray John Galt or Hank Rearden.

Frankly, if someone is a good actor, it shouldn't matter what mess he makes of his personal life (to a point). He should be able to understand the character and act accordingly. In the case of Ayn Rand's characters, though, it may be the case that a deeper grasp of the character's psychology is necessary than it would be for other characters, as the philosophy is far afield from that of most literature. They are too far from stock characters to be done well by a second-rate actor.

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In my opinion, Season 5, which aired earlier this year, is the best season so far. Kiefer Sutherland recently won a (well-deserved) Emmy for his portrayal of Jack Bauer.

I've recently finished season 5, having bought all 24 episodes from iTunes because I couldn't wait until December for the DVD box set. :blink: I agree that plot-wise it compares well with season 4--and in some ways superior to season 4. It was full of much more suprising plot twists and I was kept guessing until the very last few minutes exactly how it would turn out.

SPOILERS

Still, I was a bit disappointed that the writers used the 9/11/Iraq War conspiracy theories as a model for the plot. The President and his co-conspirators' motive for "securing oil supply in central Asia" by orchestrating the "terrorist" attacks on that day in order to construct a pretext for intervention in that region is unconvincing. After season 4's portrayal of Muslim terrorists as real threats to America I was shocked the writers could turn 180 and taken the looney left's conspiracy theories as the inspiration for the plot. Yet, given that premise, they made the most of it, and the climax--the secret recording of President Logan's confrontation with Martha in the hanger--was unexpected. After the first recording was destroyed and Jack failed to get a confession out of President Logan, I really thought the President was going to get away with it.

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SPOILERS

... I was a bit disappointed that the writers used the 9/11/Iraq War conspiracy theories as a model for the plot. The President and his co-conspirators' motive for "securing oil supply in central Asia" by orchestrating the "terrorist" attacks on that day in order to construct a pretext for intervention in that region is unconvincing. After season 4's portrayal of Muslim terrorists as real threats to America I was shocked the writers could turn 180 and taken the looney left's conspiracy theories as the inspiration for the plot. Yet, given that premise, they made the most of it...

MORE (SEASON 5) SPOILERS

I, too, am a huge fan of the show. And I think you make a great point about the conspiracy plot being way out there. In fact, according to a source on the show, this was a decision that was made during the season, while the show was being written and shot. Apparently, the original intent was for the President to be a stooge, rather than a mastermind, but they decided the latter was a stronger, more surprising development. And that it is. But it was so surprising partially because of the strongly, even brilliantly-painted mediocrity of the President. He was something right out of Atlas Shrugged in his second-handedness, incompetence, cowardice, and dishonesty. Discovering that this was the initial intent was actually a relief to me, as the believability of such a personality actually being no more than a brilliant charade was seriously in doubt.

In the actual creation, then, the conspiracy -- at least the idea that it reached all the way to the President -- was a somewhat sloppy attempt to shock. But I agree that the ending was still a real cliffhanger and I enjoyed the supreme justice of the President's last-minute demise.

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Trailer for next season: http://www.24trailer.com/

Looks good! Ignore the "sacrifice yourself" mumbo-jumbo, Bauer's coming from hell so (1) whatever he's supposed to do isn't sacrifice, and (2) he'll be bringing down bad guys in no time.

Also, MEGA SPOILER, the trailer reveals who the next president will be. A great choice, considering my enduring attachment to David Palmer, someone I'll never forgive the writers for killing off.

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Trailer for next season: http://www.24trailer.com/

Looks good! Ignore the "sacrifice yourself" mumbo-jumbo, Bauer's coming from hell so (1) whatever he's supposed to do isn't sacrifice, and (2) he'll be bringing down bad guys in no time.

Also, MEGA SPOILER, the trailer reveals who the next president will be. A great choice, considering my enduring attachment to David Palmer, someone I'll never forgive the writers for killing off.

Looking good, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I still haven't seen the last season. DVD post-production seems to be taking forever...

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Looking good, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I still haven't seen the last season. DVD post-production seems to be taking forever...

For those technophiles among us, season 5 is available for download in three places that I am aware of: Amazon Unbox, iTunes, and myspace.

Enjoy!

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A reminder: Season six starts tomorrow, Sunday, 1/14/07, with a two-hour showing at 8 PM. This will be followed by another two hours on Monday, 1/15/07. Looks like another exciting 24 hours!

Several months ago, at Michael Berliner's first presentation at the Ayn Rand in Hollywood exhibit, Objectivist actor Steven Schub told me he was cast on the show, at least for a while. In what has to be the biggest acting stretch possible, Steven plays a militant Islamic Jihadist! Look for Steven on the Sunday and Monday episodes.

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The first two hours of season 6 were pretty good in my opinion.

Some Spoilers

Jack's escape was an exciting and smart bit and gave me some good material for Jack Bauer jokes to tell the people watching with me. Also, the foiling of the subway attack was Jack at his best.

I know Jack was tortured in China for a long time but how could Wayne of all people not listen to Jack? In the context of the situation it's not that horrible of a decision. But, it leads me to think that now since Jack was right the President will listen to him almost unconditionally which will probably be used to have Jack make a mistake and cause a setback or something like that. Or, more plausibly, the crisis will last a few hours less.:)

The big question is: has Jack lost his edge? The magnificent escape and textbook Jack Bauer subway heroics say no but his premature conclusion of his torture/interrogation foreshadow that maybe Jack's time in China has caused him to somewhat lose his nerve and he could hesitate when he needs to act at a crucial time in the future. I wouldn't count on it though.

Jack is as heroic as ever, though. Even facing death and torture, he shows how he values life, especially his own.

I would love it if this was the last season and they concluded the show's run with a news report about America launching a nuclear attack on Tehran and dismantling Islamic governments in the Middle East and worldwide. But, if they haven't by now it's hard to imagine it ever happening. I don't even know if I'm talking about the show or real life anymore. :)

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Spoilers!

The first two hours of season 6 were pretty good in my opinion.

Some Spoilers

I know Jack was tortured in China for a long time but how could Wayne of all people not listen to Jack? In the context of the situation it's not that horrible of a decision. But, it leads me to think that now since Jack was right the President will listen to him almost unconditionally which will probably be used to have Jack make a mistake and cause a setback or something like that. Or, more plausibly, the crisis will last a few hours less.:)

It did seem a bit staged and arbitrary to me that Jack would present an incomplete case and Wayne would side with the "flatten a tract house with combat ordnance" faction. But that allowed the story to go forward in the most insanely charged way, which is, I think, the point of the show. And I doubt, given the trends of the show, after the first season, that anyone but Chloe will ever listen to Jack over the latest political hack (in this case Lennox), or let him operate with full support and latitude.

The big question is: has Jack lost his edge? The magnificent escape and textbook Jack Bauer subway heroics say no but his premature conclusion of his torture/interrogation foreshadow that maybe Jack's time in China has caused him to somewhat lose his nerve and he could hesitate when he needs to act at a crucial time in the future. I wouldn't count on it though.

I think we were supposed to ask that question, so they did good. I think the point of that scene was to show that Jack actually still is a human being, not a monster nor a machine, but that Assad -- despite his supposed reformation -- still is. We're shown that the literal and psychological scars of his own torture led him to empathize with the victim and project his own innocence on him. In spite of that, I think the subway scene was intended to show just how effective he still is.

Jack is as heroic as ever, though. Even facing death and torture, he shows how he values life, especially his own.

Agreed. And I'm glad, as eloquent as it was, that Jack's "Ultimate Sacrifice" was forestalled. Otherwise, it would have been a very short season, even if that would have raised the show's reputation for unpredictability to a whole new level. It would have rendered even the name of the show meaningless. What would they have called this season? "2"?

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Spoilers

Oh, one thing I liked about the season opener is how it defeated expectations that it would be a sop to the Multiculturalists. It immediately set us up to think that we were going to be shown how the Intolerant Government was victimizing the Peaceful and Innocent Muslims at a public and private level. It then proceeded to reveal that the good "friend" and neighbor, Ahmed, was, in fact, a suicide bomber, though his father was innocent, as far as we know. And it's looking like there may be more to the head of the Islamic-American Alliance (and boyfriend of President Palmer's sister) than we know now.

It is interesting how, in the pursuit of a good story, writers who may be otherwise left of center usually go for the moral Good-versus-Evil confrontation, with Good triumphant. That is, unless they are flogging a philosophical dead horse (such as "Kingdom of God," Syriana, "North Country," "Thank you and Good Night"). I'm not saying there are not reams of bad philosophy tracts in Hollywood, only that the action genre still pulls people and motivates writers of whatever stripe, with its bootleg Romanticism, it's soul-watering conclusions.

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