Archive for January, 2009

Nothing New In The West – First Thoughts On Episode 5

January 20th, 2009

So… I’ve just watched it. It aired at 3AM my time, and I’d stayed up to watch it live on FOX. so right now, it is way beyond decent bedtime. The 5th ep in this season was an okay ep really. Not quite as strong as the 3rd or the 4th, but good nonetheless. A lot of the energy in the eps 3 and 4 was drawn from the in-your-face Brotherhood revelations between Jack and Tony, of which we got none in ep 5, so I didn’t feel quite as drawn into it as I had been during The Interrogation. However, we did get quite a few more subtle moments between them, secret looks and such – which is really all that you can expect when people are undercover. This episode also got to explore other characters a little more – and above all, advance the plot.  The writers are continuing to bring back stuff we’ve seen before.

As for the plot, you know, it is possible that I have simply watched WAY too much 24 in the past. I’ve possibly spent way too much time thinking and rethinking plot lines, but so far the storyline – none of it – has been a true surprise for me. I still don’t mind it yet because the way it is all being done is still excellent, and frankly – how could you really surprise an audience that has been following the show for 6 years? There are just so many elements and terrorist threats for prime-time television people can come up with (and get approved by the network). But I do wonder how far they can take this before even the greatest addicts among us get bored. We’ll see. That being said, the dialogue is still enjoyable, and Jack’s “Shut up or I’ll shut you up,” was a priceless one-liner.

But as far as surprises go, if Sean Hillinger really turns out to be squeaky clean, that’ll be one, because I still feel like they’re leading us on. They’re still setting him up as a twighlighty character (although the actor said in an interview that Hillinger is a by-the-books guy), I don’t know… It just seems too convenient. Obviously, even if he is a mole, he won’t be the one.  The person helping with the conspiracy must be higher up than Sean, possibly even higher than Larry Moss. I guess a true surprise would be if Janis turned out to be the mole, cause so far, she’s been doing such a great job that she’s the person we’d least expect to be working for the other side. But we’ll see. I just hope it isn’t Moss, because I really like his character.

I do wonder whether the mole at the FBI is actually working for both sides. Does he possibly know about Tony’s true purpose in the group right now? Did Tanner know? If he had, would he have told Renée? Continue Reading »

“Sit Back & Enjoy The Ride”

January 18th, 2009

I’ve been sitting, watching a blinking cursor for half an hour, trying to figure out how best to describe my thoughts on the first four episodes. To coherently present thoughts I’m sure many of you have been having about the episodes we’ve seen so far, that moves beyond “That was awesome!”

But in truth i’ve run out of time, so this review isn’t going to be as comphrensive as I’d like, more simply an overview of why it was so good, using as few cliches as possible.

I’ve already written up my thoughts on the first 17 minutes, but in brief when I saw the first 17 minutes on the 24: Redemption DVD I loved them, I couldn’t imagine how they could have been any better. And so in the manner of those first minutes episode 1 and 2 continued, solid, subtle, with slowly building tension creeping up on you, all created by masterfully crafted dialogue.

The first two episodes have so much to love, Jack’s testimony to the Senate, and in general how the episodes very slightly changed the shows position on torture. They’ve received a fair amount of criticism for the shows use of torture in the past, and rightly so in my view, but whatever your opinion on torture you couldn’t have failed to notice how the writing had grown lazy in using torture as a way out of every corner. This left them with a bit of a condundrum, continue as before and it sends a clear message to a legion of fans who are tired of the repetition that the writers aren’t listening – do a complete u-turn on torture, and it would be seen as a cynical move. But they managed to negiogate the minefield well by being slightly more open about it, not being as defensive, and airing various different sides of the argument. All this added up to some interesting and dramatic moments, how far would Jack have gone after Agent Walker appear to give him the green light?, and how far was Walker prepared to let Jack go?

The most intelligent writing the series has had in a long time means the episode 1 and 2 are extremely entertaining and engergetic, but in reality are just a good solid foundation for the rollercoaster ride that was to come in 3 and 4.

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“Everything We Wanted” – An Addict Reviews The Premiere

January 16th, 2009

So, you’ve watched the first four episodes of the new season and you’re still shaking with excitement? I promise you, you’re not the only one! Everywhere I look, the general opinion seems to be “WOW! I can’t believe they’ve pulled this off!”

As someone who has been hurt in her heart by Almeida’s disgraceful exit in 5×13, who hasn’t cared about Season 6 at all, and certainly didn’t expect 24 to pull her back in at any point in the future, I am admitting it right now: I am an addict again. I didn’t think it was possible for the show to return from the abyss that was season 6 and climb to a greatness that I haven’t seen since Season 3, but it has. It’s back, it’s strong and it’s alive.

And I’m loving it.

Let me get this out of the way first: these first four episodes have given us EVERYTHING we wanted, everything we screamed for – in forums, chats, on websites, and I bet on conferences, meets and greets and in the streets, when bumping into anyone involved with the show. I am convinced that the writers have been reading and listening to us this time around, and this is their way of apologizing, trying to make amends – quite clearly, they’re seeking redemption. And boy, have they done a great job!

From an Almeidaist point of view, this is pretty much Paradise. Tony is back in play and getting as much screen time as Jack, and each and every scene between them is picture perfect! Not only that – the Brotherhood between them is spelled with a capital B this season as the show lives and thrives on it. Their chemistry is what is carrying the story, with tension so strong it’s palpable, dialogue that makes my blood run hot and then freeze, and an energy like we haven’t seen it in years. The writers have done a very good job of keeping both Jack and Tony in character and I am grateful for that.
Continue Reading »

24 Is Back, I Can’t Wait & You?

January 10th, 2009

If you’ve visited this site in the past, you’ve noticed me around, but with the slight shift that we’re taking away from news and toward opinion and commentary regarding series 7, I felt like I should reintroduce myself:

I’m Daniel Hardy, Liverpool fan, Web designer and TV addict.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what my tastes in TV are – they change and evolve, and I often have a hard time describing them beyond “I like good TV.” Just what is good? It’s simply too subjective a word.

Well, in 2001 I was given a helping hand: a new show started airing and I could point to it and say “That’s what I like”: 24.

Perhaps it’s a bit tedious to list the reasons I liked it. It’s been done by so many other people so many times before. But I will try anyway, in the off chance I might mention something new: it was fresh, it was cool, it made you think and it did truly break the mould for TV at the time, something which is very hard to do.

You mulled every episode over for a full week. Some people thought of that week as a curse; it was in fact a blessing. You needed seven days to recover and to fully play back all the key points in your head and analyse and plot possible future developments. When the new episode finally arrived you compared your projections against the actual happenings as the plot thickened. That was the ritual.

When series one finished, I wasn’t sure at first if there would be a second. Then I heard that there would be but they might not use the same characters. People thought that was crazy – after all, we’d just spent so much time getting to know these rich three dimensional characters. Viewers wanted to know what happened to them. What would Jack do after the death of Teri?

Personally, I would have perfectly understood them not using the same characters. After all what I truly enjoyed was the unique format, and the characters were a product of that format, not the other way around. This feeling meant I’ve never quite fallen into one of the “Jack is 24” or “Almeida is God” camps.

It’s not that I don’t love Jack and Tony as characters – I do. When they lose a loved one in a terrorist plot, it hurts, when they get betrayed, I’m angry. Yet I don’t need these characters to be the centre of attention to enjoy the show, I’m much happier when the show as a whole is stronger.

This is why I enjoyed series five, why I could view it as something other than a betrayal of the faithful audience. It had a lot of similarities to the original, often going for silent menace over loud bangs. Gregory Itzin’s President Logan was a joy to behold, Jean Smart as Martha perfectly cast and plus a well written central arc to the series which slowly boiled up, right to the finish. It’s true that it required too much of a sacrifice to get there, and Tony’s exit was botched, but on the whole it was good, very good, and so with a lump in my throat I’d accepted his death as a penance that had to be paid. Continue Reading »

Season Seven – 24’s Road To Redemption?

January 1st, 2009

A few words from a post-rehab 24 addict, seventeen minutes into season seven

Hello, my name is J_A and I’m an addict. A 24 addict.

Or well, I used to be.

I have been addicted to 24 from the first second of season 1; actually, even before that. I saw a commercial for it and instantly knew that this was my show. Then, when the pilot actually aired, bang, I was hooked. Addicted. Going down a one-way street into a very cool habit.

I was indeed one of those fans who’d live, breathe and bleed 24, whose ­weeks would run from 24 to 24 instead of Monday to Sunday, who’d turn off their phones whenever watching the show, bore people to death with talking about how great the show was, I’d spend my spare time re-watching 24 episodes, eventually knowing all dialogue by heart; I missed 24 during the hiatus so much that I started my own chain of 24-like events by writing fanfictions, I would have applied for a job at CTU if it hadn’t been a fictional agency, and I most definitely would have elected David Palmer into the Office…

What was so addictive about it, apart from its complexity and the breakneck speed with which it raced through the season? When 24 first hit the screens in 2001, it was simply the most innovative, gripping and thrilling series to ever air on TV. The format was unique, the writing superb, the casting perfect, the acting motivated, the characters had depth and the storyline was one big arc, revealing itself little by little.

Continue Reading »

Happy New Year

January 1st, 2009

A Happy New Year to everyone.

Also wanted to address a few emails i’ve been getting about site activity. Fresh posts have been sparse here lately to due various issues, but I wanted to reassure visitors that will be alive and kicking for Season Seven.

Having conducted a review of the site i’ve decided that I was simply trying to do too much, and spreading the available effort too thin. For Season Seven we’ll have a slight shift in focus, from covering as much of the small detail as possible to providing more thoughful opinion and commentary on the upcoming season (and beyond hopefully). We’ve got atleast one exciting new contributor (and more may follow) who will provide coverage of the season from an Almeidaiest point of view. Her first piece on the return of Tony and the first 17 minutes of Season Seven will be posted later today, and i’ll be following that up with my own thoughts on the new season.

Hope you all had a very good holiday season, but it’s time to get back to the serious business of 24!