Stephen Speicher

24 (2001)

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102 posts in this topic

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.

I agree that the young terrorist neighbor vs. fighting internment camps makes for good ideological tension (while ignoring the real military solutions, but that's not how the show works). However, I don't very much like having Kal Penn play Ahmed. If you haven't seen Harold and Kumar, Van Wilder, or such then it's a fine choice, but he has been predominantly a comedic actor and it's hard for me to take him seriously. Also, he's obviously Indian and I know there are tens of millions of Muslims in India but aren't there ethnic differences between Hindus and Muslims there? I've seen and known too many Indian people to think of them as fitting the "terrorist" look. I don't know if this bothers anyone else and overall it only very minorly took away from my enjoyment of the season premier.

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I meant "terrorist look". I don't think put "" around terrorist makes sense.

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However, I don't very much like having Kal Penn play Ahmed. If you haven't seen Harold and Kumar, Van Wilder, or such then it's a fine choice, but he has been predominantly a comedic actor and it's hard for me to take him seriously.

Bingo. I kept expecting -- quite unconsciously -- to see him crack a smile, make a lame joke about pot or girls, and take Scott out for a burger. That's miscasting.

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However, I don't very much like having Kal Penn play Ahmed. If you haven't seen Harold and Kumar, Van Wilder, or such then it's a fine choice, but he has been predominantly a comedic actor and it's hard for me to take him seriously.

I don't know Kal Penn from previous roles, so that was not a problem for me. But just when I was getting used to Peter MacNicol in his role as a physicist on Numb3rs (after years of learning to accept him as quirky John Cage on Ally McBeal), now he shows up as the President's advisor on 24! (At least now I know why physcicist MacNicol on Numb3rs was sent on that NASA space mission. :) )

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Long-time 24 fans will recall Jack killed Ryan Chappelle in Season 3. Also, the season has just begun, so I think we should reserve judgment about it until we know more. As is always the case with 24, what we think we know now can change rapidly.

It's what keeps us hooked!

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SPOILER WILL FOLLOW>

I missed last night. Just as well. Now that Jack has killed Curtis I will never watch another segment.

SPOILER:

Do you know the context in which Jack killed Curtis? I don't want to spoil too much, but his killing Curtis was completely justified.

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The season's getting a bit silly. The script, acting and plot all have their bad/cheesy moments, although I continue to enjoy the show as a casual viewer. 24 has never held much stock in plausibility, but I was particularly bothered by Chloe urging Morris back to work so soon after his shoulder had been drilled by a terrorist.

Every season of 24 is generally a new scenario, with a range of new characters, and some superficial links to previous seasons. This time, however, season 6 is an exact follow-on from 5. The Bauer Company and the Government's plan to detonate sentox nerve gas overseas (to make it look like terrorists possessed WMD's as a pretense for war) occurred in season 5; they killed Palmer because he 'found out', and the fifth season was a string of cover-ups.

For season 6, I was hoping we'd either be back to Jack saving the world from terrorists targeting America, or even a military prison break-out based in China. However, what we've now learned is that those behind season 5 were found out and blackmailed into releasing the nukes - effectively making this season yet another cover-up of the sentox nerve gas plan. To the writers' credit, there have been some nice slower-paced episodes this season that aren't rushed, and deal with ideological issues. But putting those episodes in the hours that directly follow a nuclear detonation make the issues seem trivial.

I'm still a big fan of the show, but disappointed in some parts. Nearly halfway into this season, what are your thoughts?

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SPOILERS (from several seasons):

I like this season, and don't find it any less plausible than many of the other scenarios:

1) virus that can wipe out the whole country (season 3)

2) President behind the nerve gas conspiracy (season 5)

3) Terrorists using a briefcase to melt down every nuclear plant (season 4)

I don't really see why you think this season is more silly. I quite enjoy the Jack/Philip angle, and think Philip is a great villain. The bit about Graem being Jack's brother was shocking, and seemed contrived at first, but makes sense to me now, and Kiefer Sutherland's emotional change when he found out that Graem killed Palmer, Tony, and Michelle created what I thought was one of the best scenes in the show's history.

Having said that, the show is not the same without Palmer, Tony, and Michelle, and I don't find Wayne Palmer at all believable as president since he sounds insincere when he speaks during grave moments, but that might be because the material is above DB Woodside.

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...

I'm still a big fan of the show, but disappointed in some parts. Nearly halfway into this season, what are your thoughts?

SPOILERS BELOW

When President Wayne Palmer spoke to Assad he said that if another nuke goes off on American soil he'll have no choice but to retaliate not just against the terrorist organizations but the states that sponsor them, and he said this as if he would be pressured by the public to do so, rather than out of a sense of justice! Can you believe this: it takes not a string of deadly terrorist bombings and killings, and not even ONE nuke, for the President to do anything serious about the situation, but TWO nukes! :) He's worse than Logan. In season 2 when David was President, ONE nuke that killed ONE person would have been enough to start the war, but now...

I also find the whole issue (in the show) with "civil liberties" frustrating: there are THREE nukes on the ground that are about to go off in 24 hours, and Palmer wants to treat the situation as if it was an ordinary criminal investigation. How can this situation be anything less than an emergency, even by leftist standards? They're really stretching Wayne's credibility as a sane person.

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I've not yet started watching season 6, and in fact I only watched season 5 last week. With this said I find that season 5 was inferior to the previous ones in many respects. For starters I felt that the death of so many key secondary characters was unecessary from a drama stand point, and felt to me like an easy way to inject pathos without too much work on the writers' part. I also find the end of the last episode off color given Jack Bauer's extraordinary situational awareness. It's not so much that the events are not credible but more that they are not in character.

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I recently watched the first season of 24 on DVD and felt that it was a two hour story stretched out into 15 hours. The good guys also seemed to be profoundly stupid & incompotent. I don't understand why this show is so popular.

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I've not yet started watching season 6, and in fact I only watched season 5 last week. With this said I find that season 5 was inferior to the previous ones in many respects.

[...]

I also find the end of the last episode off color given Jack Bauer's extraordinary situational awareness. It's not so much that the events are not credible but more that they are not in character.

I agree with much of this. I think Season 5 wasn't as good as the others. And, in the current season, there seem to have been quite a number of instances in which Jack acts uncharacteristically.

My favorite was Season 3. I loved the plot, which had Jack striking pre-emptively at evil with a self-inflicted handicap that would permanently ruin other men.

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Anyone noticed in season 5 that nothing is said or shown of what happens to the little girl and her mother?

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Yes. The writers have left the fate of several characters unknown:

SPOILERS

Lynne Kresge in season 2. She survived the fall after Mike Novick locked her in that room.

President Keeler in season 3. He survives the plane crash in the episode, but is he still alive?

Behrooz Araz in season 4: He's seen riding off with Marwan's men, then never seen again.

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I recently watched the first season of 24 on DVD and felt that it was a two hour story stretched out into 15 hours. The good guys also seemed to be profoundly stupid & incompotent. I don't understand why this show is so popular.

I have been watching 24 since it started, and love it. There are a few aspects to it for me.

First, while I don't have any inside knowledge on Hollywood or how trends get started, my observation is that every so often a show comes on that really sets the standard of quality and is so unique that it opens up a lot for the creation of other good shows. I believe this is true of 24. There was simply nothing like it when it came out, and the acting and drama of the events has been, for me, very high quality. For those just coming to 24 now, I wonder if the production of many other very good, dramatic shows almost lessens the impact of something like 24. I don't say this is the only basis for not immediately enjoying the show, I'm just curious about the extent to which it impacts anything.

Next, the show really does come down to good vs. evil. You know, at least in the character of Jack, who is the good. Of course, part of the show's appeal is that, in terms of other characters, this is isn't so clear cut. There are certainly evil characters, but some of the best drama plays out among those who are in the middle, leaning more one way or another. You want to see which way they go, and then cheer or boo appropriately. The incredibly difficult moral dilemmas portrayed really make it interesting and do a good job of concretizing (within the show's context) the principles involved.

Finally, at a personal level, I should say that although I allow myself to feel a full range of emotions, I'm not given to much emotionality. For instance, I don't cry easily or often. However, this show has brought me to tears on quite a few occasions. This implies some negative event in the show, and usually that was the case. But I don't see the show as malevolent, and my reaction I think is really a testament to incredible acting skill combined with an amazing plot. They capture some dramatic event and the issues and emotions that go along with it so well that it has really just "hits" me.

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I just downloaded the first 3 episodes of Season 6 on my iPod. I'm going to force myself to only watch them at the gym.

There was simply nothing like it when it came out, and the acting and drama of the events has been, for me, very high quality.
I find "24" inferior to "West Wing" in terms of character depth, dialog, and production quality. Admitedly, this is a very high bar, but because both show depict the president's circle regularly it makes the comparison (esp. in terms of production) very obvious.

"Deadwood" is also of similar quality and to me a tad better.

But I don't see the show as malevolent...
To me the show has a clear malevolent component. You only have to ask yourself: would you want to be Jack Bauer. Despite his continuous successes, he looses most of his friends one after another, is estranged from his daughter, gets *ZERO* recognition except from a few insiders - I mean, he has the worst life ever!

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I find "24" inferior to "West Wing" in terms of character depth, dialog, and production quality. Admitedly, this is a very high bar, but because both show depict the president's circle regularly it makes the comparison (esp. in terms of production) very obvious.

I would agree that the writing for The West Wing was superior to anything on television at the time, but I don't think that comparing its depiction of the "president's circle" with that of 24 to very illuminating. The "president's circle" is the essence of The West Wing -- the focus of in-depth characterization -- while for 24 it is just an aspect of the show, with Jack Bauer being the main focus. For me, as much as I revere the wiriting of The West Wing, I thoroughly enjoy 24 for what it is -- a value-oriented, action-packed vehicle for an heroic man.

To me the show has a clear malevolent component. You only have to ask yourself: would you want to be Jack Bauer. Despite his continuous successes, he looses most of his friends one after another, is estranged from his daughter, gets *ZERO* recognition except from a few insiders - I mean, he has the worst life ever!

I don't think Jack would say THAT. He certainly has had his share of disappointments, but I think that how he deals with those -- the ultimate significance he himself attaches to those losses -- I suspect reflects a different perspective than your own. And, even if what you say were true, a "malevolent component" (bold added) does not necessarily define the overall sense of life.

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I agree with much of this. I think Season 5 wasn't as good as the others. And, in the current season, there seem to have been quite a number of instances in which Jack acts uncharacteristically.

Not only that, but there are logical holes you could drive a truck through. It seems as if people can get from one end of LA to the other in just a few minutes. Morris has betrayed CTU, and even though it WAS under torture, you'd expect them to DO something about it. Yet he can just wander off to take a snort and then wander back in, and Chloe covers for him?

Things started going downhill last year, with lapses like a stolen (never REPORTED stolen!) ID being used to sneak a poison gas cylinder into CTU -- in a briefcase smaller than the cylinder! And then there was President Charles "I am not a shlub" Logan, who was suddenly transformed from an oaf to a criminal mastermind.

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SPOILERS:

I didn't find the idea of Logan being behind the attacks all that unbelievable (given the context of the show, of course). It makes perfect sense to me that someone who seemed like a pathetic loser would end up being that evil: look at Hitler. The indecisive oaf persona could have been a cover.

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I find "24" inferior to "West Wing" in terms of character depth, dialog, and production quality. Admitedly, this is a very high bar, but because both show depict the president's circle regularly it makes the comparison (esp. in terms of production) very obvious.

I'm certain there are plenty of shows others could name as being better than 24 either overall or in specific areas. If I gave the impression that I think 24 is the greatest show ever, then let me clear up the confusion. My point was to explain why the show is of value to me.

To me the show has a clear malevolent component. You only have to ask yourself: would you want to be Jack Bauer. Despite his continuous successes, he looses most of his friends one after another, is estranged from his daughter, gets *ZERO* recognition except from a few insiders - I mean, he has the worst life ever!

Well, the world 24 depicts is certainly a dangerous one with consciously evil people, and it's Bauer's job to fight them. The context of it definitely brings this forward and, to that extent, contains a malevolent component. However, I don't believe the purpose is to deliver the message that reality is governed by malevolence. If that were the intent, there would be no Jack Bauer and the show wouldn't have lasted half a season.

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It seems as if people can get from one end of LA to the other in just a few minutes.
Well, yeah. But who'd want to sit through Jack stuck in gridlock for 2 hours at a time?

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Well, yeah. But who'd want to sit through Jack stuck in gridlock for 2 hours at a time?

But it used to be, they'd cut to story lines of other characters while Jack (or anybody else) was driving from, say, Simi Valley to Compton.

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