A Final word on Torture

As often happens I got sent a link to an article on ’24’. But this time around the article I got a link to I so completely disagree with that I really feel as if I should post my own honest opinion.

I don’t want to do harm to the writers views, so I won’t try and summarise the article, expect to say it’s on the subject of torture on the show, and that I disagree with his view on the matter.

link : new.ifmagazine.com

I know many are sick to death of torture, so I really hope that this can be a final word on the subject, but I have a feeling this may be a debate which will run as long as the show is on the air.

My opinion of torture on the show is simple, especcially the sixth series, is that it’s just a really cheap lazy way to fill air time and try and build tension that the show has done so often now that it’s actually getting stupid, even silly. I quite frankly fail to see the entertainment value, and I can’t imagine it was ever in the creators original plans for the show (“yeah, and we’ll have these heavy torture scenes every 3 or 4 episodes”). The closest thing to torture in Day One is a threat of a painful death for a suspect Jack had kidnapped in a limo, and if you look at that scene carefully, analyse why it works, why its tense, it’s because we don’t know if the suspect Jack has kidnapped has anything to do with the ongoing threat and there is the very real possibility that the emotional stress of the day so far has started to take it’s toll on Jack and his judgment – leaving us thinking is Jack about to fall off the edge and kill an innocent man?. It’s a scene which is played out the way it is for the development of character as well as story.

I’m not neccesarily against all torture on the show, but when it’s nothing more than a way to play for time then I as a viewer feel as if the writers are insulting me, and I feel like sending them home to rewatch series one to take notes about how to build tension properly.

I have personally defended the show against a lot of critism from all sides, but for me the show has crossed the line with the amount of torture in the lastest series, and if the levels had continued to increased I would have stopped watching – or atleast waiting for the DVD releases so I could fast forward the torture.

Feel free to share your views on the subject in the comments, but please keep them measured – any nasty or abusive comments will not make it on to the site.

5 thoughts on “A Final word on Torture”

  1. thank you for being honest.

    you have indeed defended the series against me too – but now do you see why I miss “the good old days”, aka “before they killed tony”?

    you put it perfectly: they knew how to build tension properly and the show worked because of the interactions btw ppl, great storylines, those long lingering looks saying anyone could be good or bad etc. isn’t it more a thriller than a drama now?…… my opinion only

    (although, you could argue that jack getting beaten up by the drazens in s1 was torture too.)

    bottom line, torture – at least as a way of stalling for time – is really getting old.

  2. yes, I have defended the show against even you. Although I would class series five as one of the better series of the show – while i’m pretty sure you wouldn’t.

    I’d argue that the show has always been a mixture of drama and thriller.

    Yeah, I guess you could say the drazens beating Jack in S1 was torture, though i’d say that there is a distinction there in that they weren’t actually doing it to gain information, it was purely for revenge and payback – and as twisted as this may sound, that they wanted to beat Jack added to the development of there characters.

  3. I think torture is realistic in some storylines, to get strong informations from “bad guys” that could save lifes…
    This kind of story is maniqueistic (the good x the bad), so, inside these circunstances, the “good guy” reacts against the bad.
    But, in this case, with this license, good guy is a hero. And heros must be human heros… thus, I’m a little tired with Season 6 excess of hero suffering or something that… Jack Bauer character must be more human, must receive more care. And in this argument I miss the story with Audrey to humanize the hero.
    If authors do a beatiful heart story they must complete it and I really hope lightening and also a happy end ’cause the hero character Jack Bauer surely is a human hero.
    I’ll only buy dvd season 5 and (next) 6 if they do it fine !!

  4. I agree that torture has been used too much in series 6 and it is getting boring. The only time I thought it was good was at the end of the first episode because it fit in nicely and because it made Jacks escape seem all the more miraculous.

    Also not only do they include torture alot but over long periods of time which loses the tension and drama that the series has. For example when Jack was torturing Grahem.

  5. The writers have become incredibly lazy, I agree. They use torture to fill time while they try to figure out where the story is going next and they don’t have a grip on that at all. The show is now just a series of stupid scenes with hollow characters intermingled with the torture scenes which just seem gratuitous, as if there’s a quota the writers have to fill. Torture for torture’s sake is repetitive and boring. And if the character being tortured is some one-dimentional new addition that nobody cares about, big deal. They’ve gone way overboard wih the torture and meaningless deaths. They don’t develop characters or advance the story and none of it is entertaining.

    I think the writers could learn a lot from Hitchcock. It wasn’t what was shown in his movies that scared you it was what was suggested and unseen. He really knew how to create tension and suspense. There was no gratuitous killing, no gore, nothing was overdone. He put the thought of what could happen next into your head, that put you on the edge of your seat and then when you least expected it he hit you with the big shocker which you never saw coming. The 24 writers are so heavy-handed, they keep pounding at you with constant torture and death until it just wears you out and bores you to death instead of exciting you.

    I totally agree with you about season one, it was refreshingly free of torture; even s2 and s3 used it relatively sparingly compared to the later seasons. It’s now completely out of hand and absurd. I guess that’s what writers do when they’ve forgotten how to write interesting dialog. I can picture them sitting around like a bunch of junior-high kids trying to come up with some new torture ideas (that was really cool when we had that guy tortured with the drill, next time let’s use a chain saw, that will be even cooler!). They would have probably used a dentist’s drill if that wouldn’t mean stealing from “Mathathon Man”. At this point it wouldn’t matter if they tortured the whole cast for an entire episode, it’s become old and stale. Please enough already.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *