After so many months us devoted UK fans can take the boxset of repeat and sit back and relax to enjoy some new ’24’. Because I saw the first two hours as one whole, i’m going to review them as such, because otherwise i’d find it very hard to separate my thoughts between the two episodes.
I’m not really sure where to begin, it’s been a while since i’ve reviewed an episode, and series four seems, on first impression to be a very different beast. Last year when I didn’t know where to start, I’d rather crudely split my thoughts into postive and negative which seems impropriate somehow. I’m more inclined to start with what has been playing on my mine since I saw the episode(s) yesterday, and that is the main storylines apparent complete bias towards the american point of view of the war on terror and global terrorism while all the other points of view are presented in a way which disregards them as “third grade micheal moore logic” (I believe was the qoute), ofcourse it’s probably asking the impossible for an American TV show to ignore the pro-american view, but for the storylines to solely promote it as the only rational viewpoint is hard for me to take. I truly hope that this is not an ever present attribute throughout this fourth series, because if it was I sure it would lose the support of many intelligent viewers, which would be a true shame for a show which has such a reputation for appealling to this audience, and not pandering to the mass audience.
This pro-american stance was just one of several things which made it harder for me to “get into the groove” of ’24’ although this was by far the biggest aspect. The first of these other things was the apparent disappearance of split-screen, apart from phone calls and time checks coming back from breaks. It felt unfamiliar to me, not see the screen split into sections, and it not purely from what some may call a sentemental point of view although that is defintely an aspect, it is more to do with the viewer effectively feeling that we are missing some of the action by only seeing one view. This change also left me wondering why it had been changed, when there is as far as I can see, no standout reason to change this, apart from possibly Jon Cassar’s apparent determination to slowly unweave the brilliant legacy left to him by Stephen Hopkins, although that maybe slightly unfair to Cassar. The final unsettling factor was the flood of unfamiliar characters which were now having to get used to, some of which seem badly over played and overwritten, the biggest offenders were the araz boy, whose storyline seems nothing more than a way in which to show how nasty and evil the araz family are. The other was the tech man/boy Andrew Paige who started out as a vaguely interesting character who had some chance of developing into more than a plot point, but as we saw more he came across as a whining school boy as he called his mum while riding away from danger on his bmx bike, I mean really, who thought that one up??, he was meant to be in his twenties not his early teens.
But there was some light at the end of the tunnel, eventually the Jack we all know and love turned up, pointing out what people where doing wrong, breaking rules and in the end, getting the job done and giving us another classic JB moment when he shot that suspect in the leg, (more interrogation tips can be found in ‘Interrogation for Dummies like Ronnie Lobell by Jack Bauer’). The episode also gave us some genuinely tense moments, although the action set piece at the end of the first episode could have been improved by having someone we truly knew fighting back but it did still work. Another redeeming feature was Chloe, she never failed to raise a smile which lines like “i’m not ready to play the scared student in the prinicpals office” and “as usual edgar we can’t hear you”, here’s hoping for more of the same in the near future