Running Out Of Steam – J_A’s Thoughts

I know I have been very, very quiet this season of 24. It’s not that I haven’t been watching – I have been. And I could give you two dozen reasons why I’ve been too busy to write reviews and articles about 24 when my real-world life got in the way.

But in my heart I know (damn, I’m quoting a certain young Middle-Eastern Presidential daughter) that I would have found the time to write about 24 if the season was anything like the previous one.

But the sad truth is – I don’t care enough.

It’s not the lack of Tony (well, maybe partly). It’s more the overall impression the season is making. Our friend and admin Dan put it very well on the forum, which is why I’ll allow myself to quote him here:

Just seen 8×10, and my one word review is “shrug”. Really not caring about anything that’s going on, a little bored. No excitement, no tension, nothing really at stake.


And that one word review is probably the reason why I can’t seem to find anything to write about.

Everything has already been there, one way or another. Nothing grips you and keeps you interested, keeps you worrying, keeps you guessing. Nada. Shrug.

I’ve seen up to ep 12 now, and it finally seems like the season is picking up a little in the latest ep, but then again, I thought so a few eps ago, too and it didn’t really happen.

What’s wrong with 24? Or is something wrong with me? I’m seriously indifferent about this season. More so than ever. And again, I can do nothing but agree with the conclusion of Dan’s one-word review post:

Another two episodes like this and I may stop watching, for the first time ever.

I can see where you’re coming from, Dan. Seriously. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to start watching when the season first rolled around. But now that I have, I don’t think I’ll stop, even though I would; mostly because I want to see whether it’ll pick up AT ALL, and well, I also want to see if they’ll kill off Renee. But then again, unlike you, I really didn’t expect anything from S8 to begin with, not since I heard that Carlos wasn’t returning, but FPJ and some chick from Battlestar Gallactica were in ;o). Sorry, nothing against the blondie, it’s just her storyline. It’s lame, and that’s phrased with goodwill. FPJ is actually a positive surprise. He’s actually pulling off the field agent thing really well.

So anyhow, I went into the season without any expectations really, or maybe expecting a “Shrug”. So I can’t say I’m disappointed. What’s happening to the show is sort of what I’d expected.

But this season is yet another proof that even great actors (or -at least- good actors) can really only do so much with a mediocre script. Whereas Renee and Jack could carry the whole season just on their shoulders, the others can’t. The subplots are irrelevant, I’m missing a vital tie-in, a build-up, and in another demonstration of poor judgement, they got rid of a good character (“Vladimir”) too soon – parallels David Emerson really – and now they’re stuck with … a bad-hair-day Middle-Eastern President whose family is derailed and a divorced American Pres who lacks meaningful screentime and whose role kind of feels like an extra pile of whipped cream slapped onto an already finished cake. While hers was a vital storyline in s7, and as such, her less meaningful scenes still had the right of existence, this year, Alison Taylor’s character seems to have been written into the season just because Cherry Jones had signed the contract. She doesn’t get to carry a plot or even a subplot. She’s a mere pawn and lacks an emotional anchor in the season. For the first time in her hitherto short life on the 24 shelf, President Taylor is really not necessarily necessary.

Let’s step back for a second. Season 7 was such a fulminant return that we were willing to overlook its weaknesses, its revivals of earlier story elements, thinking that most of those were nods to long-time fans. We all thought the writers had learned their lesson from season 6, they’d found a way to get back to the basics, remembered the importance of emotional anchors that would make the story believable, we (well, some of us) were excited about Almeida’s return, not only out of selfishness (hey, Almeidaists really did need to see Tony again ;o)), but also cause we knew and thought the writers had understood that Jack needed Tony as an anchor, that the chemistry between them was needed for the show to feel relevant.

Now it seems that the only reason the season came off so strong was the extra year the writers had been given to work things out (Almeida bless the writers’ strike! LOL).

This year didn’t have that luxury.

With Tony gone, this season, Jack’s emotional anchor is supposed to be Renee, at least now that Kim is gone to California (wasn’t there a song by that name?), and there is really nothing negative to say about Renee (in fact, so far, the MMS (most memorable scene) award so far goes to her*). Nothing negative about Jack or the chemistry between him and Renee, either, but most other stuff this season is just leaving me cold.

I find this a real pity, considering that this should be the final season. Should, not might.

Why couldn’t 24 have ended on a high note? YES, they should have let s7 be the last; that is, since they had insisted on carrying on post-season 3, which could just as well have been a good finish line.

But no, not FOX.

As always, they keep squeezing until the river runs dry.

Well, it is dry. The steam has run out.

Everything is a rehash, I don’t remember being on the edge of my seat ONCE this season (not even during the MMS, since it was clear that Renee would not die), the vast majority of the characters are leaving me indifferent, disinterested, and I can see through the plot before it happens.

And now there are talks about a possible 9th season… Now, if that happens, PLEASE kick HoGo’s butt out, and bring a fresh set of people to take care of the show. Otherwise, who will care to watch?

I know I won’t.


*MMS so far: Renee at the dock, with Vladimir holding the gun to her head. Brilliant.


6 thoughts on “Running Out Of Steam – J_A’s Thoughts”

  1. episode 12 and 13 is good 🙂 and dana story got interesting in episode 13, i think this season will get better, still beats series 6.

  2. it does beat S6, ANY season did :D. but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a little unimaginative, very repetitive and at the end of the day – uninteresting. 🙁

  3. What is wrong about season 6? I just don’t understand.
    This season is the worst so far.

  4. yes, alright. I won’t defend s8. I don’t REALLY remember much of s6, to be quite perfectly honest. I just know it was dreadful at times and this current one had better step on the gas pedal pronto or it will be the winner of the worst season award. there MIGHT still be time to salvage it. though I’m not a believer at this point.

    24 does seem to have a problem with the even-numbered seasons. although I did like s2. but s4 only got rescued (for me) when tony came in to save jack and audrey, but even so, it had its share of stalling for time and bad decisions. then the admittedly bad decision of s6 – so bad that the writers decided to wear t-shirts saying “Season Six” on the front while writing s7, to remind themselves not to make the same mistakes again. and one year later, here we are again, with the worst lack of creativity I’ve ever seen on this show.

    a pity, really.

  5. it is wierd how even number seasons are always a nuclear threat as well 🙁 i think that’s why so many ppl wanted it to end on a series 9, always knew an even numbered season would kill it in the end, i don’t get why s8 became same old again either after the brillant comeback of series 7. however a lot of my friends gave up on 24 after series 6 and found first 5 episodes of series 7 boring. grrr, so the strike didn’t do series 7 a lot of favours until episode 8 onwards really 🙁 they should have reshot the start of series 7

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