Monday, January 29, 2007

Episode Review Delayed...

Sorry gang. I'm out of town and not keeping up with the lame-ness this week. Check back over the weekend and I'll have the "review" posted. Hope it was a good episode. Give me some tips/pointers here, maybe I'll site my source.

Monday, January 22, 2007

24 Season 6: Episode 5 Recap
(Hours 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

He'd been missing for 20 months. A 20 month span that included starving, silence, torture and hair-growing. Then he was thrust back into duty and not too long after, he bit someone to death. Then, he joined forces with a former terrorist and found out he forgot how to interrogate people. Eventually, he had to shoot one of his most trusted agents. That's when he hit rock bottom and gave up... and then the nuclear bomb went off. But did anyone really think that Jack would quit after four episodes? If only!

The State of the President
Like I mentioned before, Baby Palmer is not a believable President, nor is his staff competent (but that's no surprise). It took more than five minutes to move him into the bunker (which is really called the Presidential Emergency Operations Center), but now he's safe. In addition, the Continuity of Operations Plan was enacted (which is a real thing) and Karen somehow gets cell phone service (which is good) so she can make booty calls to Bill.

Meanwhile, Admiral John (who thinks that all terrorist countries are lying) tells the President, "if these people want to live in the stone age, I say let's put them there." To which Baby Palmer should have replied, "they had nukes in the stone age!?!" Then we find out that Baby Palmer wants Assad (the terrorist who saw the light) to come to DC. So I say we play a game... let's pretend a mean ol' terrorist named Osama bin Laden sent men to crash into the twin towers. And let's pretend that bin Laden's former leader wanted to stop being a terrorist and make peace with the US on the exact same day. Do you think the President would allow that man to come to the White House?

There Was This Nuke Thing Outside
As we were informed with "previously on 24," there was a nuclear explosion in Los Angeles. Here's how CTU responds:

  • Bill asks about the ground team that was sent in and says, "Milo, can you get a visual?" ... ... ... Uh, Bill... look at ANY television network -- a NUCLEAR BOMB just exploded... there's your damn visual.
  • Then Bill needs to know if Fayed was in the blast radius (you know, the one where no less than 12,000 people died). Tell me how Morris is going to figure that out. That could take a while.
  • Chloe asks the rhetorical question, "why do people I know keep dying?" Duh, it's because you work with Jack Bauer.
  • Then Chloe tells Morris that they have "massive packet loss." What to do? We all know the answer -- "boot up routers."
  • "Morris just put something on your B window." Uh, Chloe, he's got one screen. I bet he calls it "A."
  • One might wonder how CTU is still a part of this operation... How is the military NOT taking over? Maybe the country is still lambasting over the last military occupancy of Los Angeles... due to syntox nerve gas.

Fickle Fayed
I don't know why Fayed was trying to coerce that dude int-----Watch out Fayed!!! Don't hit the girl that was running across the street! Yeah, the one that stopped in the middle of it (instead of hauling ass to get out of the way)! And while I'm warning you, make sure you don't hit any of these families that are home at 10:15 AM... with their kids who aren't in school... and all of their bags packed... ready to flee a city where a nuclear weapon exploded not ten minutes ago-----sorry, why coerce a dude with money when you could just threaten his life?

Speaking of, so Fayed talks on the phone with the guy that sold him the nukes. Okay. How long before CTU traces that call and figures out who he is? No, wait, this will be one of those phone calls that can't be tracked! Also, when 9/11 happened, weren't all the phone lines coming in and out of NY busy? Yes, they were. I'd venture to say that would be the case in LA, where a NUCLEAR WEAPON just exploded.

And let it be known that Fayed is a master planner. You see, Fayed planned all of this when he betrayed Assad six months ago. Yes, apparently six months is all it takes to plan a huge terrorist attack on US soil. In six months one can buy five nukes, smuggle them into the country, orchestrate the release of a bomb scientist, get Jack out of a Chinese prison, etc. But here's the kicker... it wasn't planned in six months! It was really three months and one week -- seeing that the attacks begain 11 weeks earlier.

FBI Training Academy
How does the nation's Federal Bureau of Investigation get hard-to-find information from suspected terrorists held in a prison camp? Easy, they put a wire on Walid (Sister Palmer's boyfriend). Wait one damn second, there's NO WAY IN HELL that members of a terrorist cell would talk to ANYONE unless they knew they belonged in the cell with them. Nor would they be concerned if the FBI was going to question this poor guy... especially when the FBI guy says, "I'll be back for you."

Jack Covers Lots of Ground
Jack became a statue from episode four and into episode five. When Jack actually took another step, the clock read 10:09 -- he watched the nuke cloud for over ten minutes. But then it was off to the races and to save someone! Are you telling me the helicopter crashed into the side of the house and stuck like that? How does the innocent bystander know that the chopper is about to fall? Did Jack really just use a piece of satellite antenna to jimmy the door open? Remind me again how Jack has enough strength to climb the side of a house after being in a Chinese prison for 20 months. And then explosion #6, the helicopter crashed to the ground. Shoosh, what's next on the list?

We find out that Jack's father (Phillip Bauer) is in LA (does anyone see a parallel story line to last season's Henderson story line?). Not only that, but Jack hasn't spoken to him in over nine years -- yet he knows that his father a) has a cell phone, and, b) he knows the number. Jack continues to impress me with his memory of phone numbers these days.

But let's not stop there, Jack's got a brother (which I still can't figure out if it's Gram or Gray) -- Bluetooth man! And get this, Bluetooth man doesn't like Jack, his own brother. And get this, Jack and Bluetooth man's wife might have had some thing between them... can anyone tell me why the writers pray on killing everyone that Jack loves or is related to?

The Kitchen Sink

  • Best line from episode five - After Jack lays the injured chopper pilot face down on the roof, he tells him "stay here." Why? You're on the roof of a house that just had a helicopter crash into it -- isn't the house unstable?
  • Not only have we seen Jack drive around LA easily during a regular crazy day -- but on a day where a nuke has exploded, it seems to be even easier... Except, that is, when the news is reporting the explosion and they show the traffic jam that no one important is in. Say, that could be a whole slew of episodes right there -- being stuck in traffic because of the nuke.
  • Says the director, "Kiefer, make sure you that when you shake your nephew's hand, turn your hand up unlike a normal handshake -- we want to see the weird acid crap on there."
  • Product Placement - Apple

As we know, this season has only just begun. There's sure to be a mole in the White House and CTU. Someone that knows/loves Jack will die. And, as we were assured in this episode -- here's how the writers of 24 tell you that we're about to get into a slew of baddies -- when Bill is telling Assad about the remaining nukes, he explains that there's a trail that there has to be "many people involved in the planning of this." That must be some type of metaphor for how the show is written.

Monday, January 15, 2007

24 Season 6: Episodes 3 & 4 Recap
(Hours 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

Phew! We made it through the first four episodes, and what excitement! While the first two episodes didn't really falter too badly in the acting department, episodes three and four showed us that 24 is truly just a fun ride where no stock is put into good acting or believable writing. What they writers didn't do too much in the first half of the premiere, they more than made up for in the second half. The name of the game this season is predictable and re-run plots, what's the fun in writing new stuff?

24k ETAs
Hey everyone, don't forget this show is a 24 hour show. That means we'll have 24 one-hour episodes. And THAT means that we can actually tie time frames to actions. What actions you ask? How about meeting the demands of placing prisoners on a plan within one hour? Or maybe, that it'll take Chloe at least 10 minutes to get the satellites tracking again? Ooo, here's another one, it shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes to deliver the package to Fayed. Need another? It won't take longer than 20 minutes to assemble the bomb.

Was it beaten over your head enough?

Kumar Goes to the White Castle, In the Sky
Kumar has finally (yes, it's finally over) ended his dramatic run on 24. But not before he gave us a silly plot line that was designed to get more characters into the show. First off, he was so badly hurt, that he couldn't possibly go and deliver the package himself. Which means he had to send someone else to do his dirty work while he held the other two hostage. So while Kumar lounges on the couch and pops pain pills, he sends super dad to pick up the package (if you didn't know, anyone can walk in and pick up a part that costs somewhere in the $100k range, don't worry about names). Oh no! The guy won't sell the package, but Kumar doesn't care... so you better kill someone. Okay, he did it, now Kumar will let the family go, right?No, he can't, because if he does, then "he'll have no leverage to negotiate," duh.

As if that story-line and acting wasn't justification enough to kill off Kumar, here's the real reason he was done in. He couldn't muster enough guts to kill someone. CAN WE PLEASE WRITE IN SOME TERRORISTS WITH BALLS?

CTU is a Joke
It's funny to see CTU teeter back and forth from extremely reliable to very laughable.

  • At one point CTU received a phone call from Fayed that was on a "scrambled channel." Please recall that it was the same phone that Fayed has used before AND is the same phone that they've somehow picked up conversations from in the previous episode.
  • Remember when Bill threatened to fire Morris and Chloe, but didn't because they were short on man power? Well, not two hours later Milo is about to fire Morris just because he doesn't give a damn.
  • Can someone tell me why it is that every time Jack calls in to CTU, that he reaches someone different? Is there no front desk help there? Oh, maybe not, they are short on man power.
  • What do you mean it'll take Chloe at least ten minutes to get satellite coverage because she had to send the repositioning orders from the sub-server... whatever that is? How about you just get Morris in there with his dinky private satellite to cover things? This is CTU, how can they not have access to a bazillion satellites?
  • Speaking of satellites, their super sophisticated ones can track a single person running around.
  • I won't even mention how absurd it is that Milo dated Chloe.

What!?! Curtis went Nutso? You Don't Say!
From the second Curtis started giving lip about Jack working with Assad, if you didn't see his eminent ending coming, then I don't know what show you were watching. What's worse, it took nearly an hour of action and dialogue to finally arrive at the point where Curtis about blows his lid.

But then, Jack saves the day. Yes, he may have been in a Chinese prison for the past 20 months, but he's still the sharpest shooter on the West Coast. So Jack's second kill is his own man. We all knew Curtis would be leaving the show... but what a lousy way to go. Quickly after, Jack vomits up the nothing that is in his stomach – I think it's really that bite of neck that's coming back up.

Questions about Prisoner Transport Buses

  1. Why does a prisoner bus have a bathroom?
  2. Why does a prisoner bus have one driver and one guard?
  3. How does a prisoner get from the shackled seats into the bathroom without anyone noticing?
  4. Is anybody else asking these questions?

That Was the Bomb
It took us six years to get to this point – a nuclear bomb exploding on US soil (unless you count season two, where one exploded in the desert). I already don't care about the rest of this season, I'm more concerned with what they'll do next year! Well, anyway. Tell me why an air strike was planned to kill Assad, but when they're trying to get Fayed, they send in a ground unit? Wow, did 24 shoot their wad already? No no no, because there are FOUR MORE SUITCASE BOMBS!!! Wait, didn't they say that there was only one in existence? And if the only person who can create detonators just died, how will Fayed set off the other ones?

More Overly-Used Plot Lines

  • Why is there always a sub-plot where a family member is fucking something up? Case in point, Kim. Case in point, the daughter that was bi-polar. Case in point, the druggie hooker sister. Case in point, Sister Palmer, super lawyer.
  • For explosion #4 (hour three), how does THAT much ammunition from a foreign country get into the US without us noticing?
  • How do laptops constantly survive giant explosions?
  • How do PDAs constantly survive giant explosions?
  • How many times in the past five seasons have we heard this muttered, "I need to see the contract terms in writing?"

The Kitchen Sink

  • Best line from episode three – As Jack runs up to take a new vehicle, he throws a guy to the ground and says, "don't get up."
  • "Trust me," is quickly being replaced with, "we're going to do everything we can..." – Jack said it three times in episode four.
  • Has anyone realized that Jack is still using a cell phone that isn't his?
  • Product Placement – Volkswagon, U-Haul, Apple

Okay, we're officially one sixth through the season. How does everyone feel about the season so far?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

24 Season 6: Episodes 1 & 2 Recap
(Hours 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.)

WARNING: The following post may, and probably will, contain spoilers.

It's nice to know that even though we're picking up 20 months after last season's ending, there are still some things that haven't changed in the land of 24. Such as beating us over the head with the plot outline for season six – Jack Bauer HAS to be sacrificed so this country can survive. Also, we've already had three explosions (on screen, five total) in two hours. We still get treated to time discontinuity seeing as it's full daylight at 6:27 AM and it was completely dark when the plane landed at 6:10. As you can see, 24 hasn't change a whole lot, so let's talk nitty gritty.

Jack is a Changed Man
So here's the scoop, Jack has been in a Chinese prison for 20 months. During which time he's grown a huge beard, been tortured and hasn't spoken a single word. But now that he's back, here's how Jack panned out in the first two hours:

  • Jack had a hard time speaking his first words, that's understandable. But soon enough he was running around and yelling. I'd think that you'd hurt your vocal chords or something.
  • He used his super CTU powers to shave and cut his hair in five minutes. Hopefully he had time to eat a nice solid meal. But he probably didn't, since eating real food would probably make his sick. Just let him go out in the world on an empty stomach and what I imagine some severely weakened muscles.
  • Poor Jack, he gets tortured within the first hour of coming back home. I'd venture to say that this is karma rearing its ugly head to him.
  • To escape his typical lousy excuse of being tied up, Jack bit someone to death. Yes, bit the dude... to death. I laughed out loud on that one.
  • It was a good thing that Jack remembered CTU's phone number. Or maybe it was a good thing the phone number hadn't changed in 20 months.
  • In other typical 24 teleportation fashion, Jack somehow outran two attack helicopters with a car.
  • And here's the big shocker... Jack doesn't know how to torture anyone anymore, nor does he know how to do this job. Man, those Chinese really messed him up something good. Was there a collective sobbing when Jack became Clark Kent?

Fresh Faces, New Places
It's always fun trying to discern who's who in the first few episodes – and who's a baddie. First off we have Milo back (the season one alum), so that's cool. Then we have Nadia, who I think might be compromised. Morris, Chloe's ex-boyfriend who helped Jack in the finale of season five, is now working at CTU (because Chloe isn't crazy enough). Then we have Tom (Fish) at the White House, who the writers want us to think is a baddie. Oh, and don't forget about Kumar (Ahmed), the new teenage terrorist. And finally, we have the long-lost, and never talked about, Sister Palmer (Sandra).

Advancements in Technology
While there wasn't a whole lot of mis-uses in the first two episodes, there were some that shouldn't go without mentioning:

  • Who knew you could make your Creative Zen a bomb detonator?
  • About the cell phone Jack finds in the car – He's got one voice mail. A text message. The phone is fully charged. There's a reminder set. It's not set to vibrate and then he hangs up and connects to the internet in three seconds. Then he uses Nextel's Map Around (yeah, doesn't exist) with the longitude and latitude that he got from, who?
  • Did you see the rack of servers in Assad's house? The amount of heat those things would put off, would definitely emit a heat registry – the same type of heat that CTU didn't seem to be able to track with their fancy satellites... anyone remember last year's season premiere when they were tracking people on different floors of a hotel? How far our technology regresses in 20 months.
  • Not only is Sister Palmer a super attorney, but she's also a computer wiz. She erased all of the database files and then used a shredding program (bonus points since these are actually real) to prevent recalling the files. Does anyone think that this place doesn't have daily back-ups?

Relationship Counseling Needed
If there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that relationships inside CTU (and otherwise) don't work. Edgar died last year without professing his love for Chloe. But does that stop Chloe and Morris from hooking up and working together? No. The last married couple that worked at CTU died last year (Tony and Michelle). Does this prevent Bill and Karen from getting married? No. I won't even start on Sister Palmer's (Sandra's) relationship with Mr. Alizoni (who's obviously a baddie).

CTU Still Stands Tall
I'm still amazed that CTU hasn't been dissolved after these past seven years. How many giant attacks on US will it take to overhaul the agency?

  • Protocol Break #1: Chloe coerces Nadia to tell her privileged information about Jack.
  • Protocol Break #2: How convenient that Morris and Chloe can reposition a satellite when they're supposed to be doing other work.
  • When Bill finds out that Chloe and Morris nearly cost them information about Assad, he says that he can't fire them due to lack of man-power... how is it that CTU is ALWAYS under-staffed? And how is it that CTU couldn't track a private satellite in the "don't go there zone," yet the terrorists can?
  • When CTU was pin-pointing where the satellite feed was originating, did anyone notice the damn helicopter ten feet from Chloe's station?
  • Protocol Break #3: Chloe got lucky when she found that image of Jack and Assad, Bill broke protocol by not mentioning it to anyone.
  • How is it that Fayed can make all sorts of calls to CTU and his cronies, but CTU doesn't trace them. THEN, when we need to propel the plot some, CTU happens across a phone call from Fayed to one of his cronies? *rolling eyes*

The Wacky White House and Government
Over are the times of President Idiot from last year, but that doesn't change how inept the government appears to be in 24 Land.

  • First off, Baby Palmer (Wayne), isn't a convincing President. He's better than the idiot from last year, that's for sure. But why does he whisper all the time?
  • So the government gives Fayed an all-access pass for information on Assad. What happened to "we don't negotiate with terrorists?"
  • Those White House hallways seem pretty void of security – with so many attacks on US soil, would the President and his staff still be in the highly visible White House?
  • It's good to know that the new regime still works in silly phrases like, "real-time progress," since we need to be constantly reminded that the show is in REAL TIME.

Kiss My Assad
He's good? He's bad? He's the latest in terrorists turned good.

  • If Assad is a good guy, why didn't he contact the government before? Oh, because he won't work with CTU since they'll question him for days. Ummm, Assad, what do you think will happen when you're ready to talk to the real government?
  • In a city where an explosion went off not two hours ago, how is there not more military lock down? More importantly, how can public enemy number one, Assad, walk around in broad daylight?
  • How did Assad get Jack's cell phone number? You know, the phone that wasn't his?

The Kitchen Sink
The other funny/odd things worth mentioning.

  • Best line muttered in episodes one and two – "Drop the coffee."
  • Second best line – As soon as Jack rips open the dude's shirt, someone yells, "it's a bomb!"
  • Would terrorists really speak in English, or would they speak in their native language since they despise America?
  • Product placement – Creative, U-Haul, Nextel, Sprite, Toyota, and Pontiac (with the logo missing)
  • There's a ticket-taker on the LA subway?

Overall, it wasn't a bad first effort. The acting is surprisingly a notch better this season, so that's good. We only had one mention of Audrey, Kim and David Palmer, and that's also good. Tomorrow we get the "big explosive ending" that will "change everything." What could it be?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

24 The Movie: Kiefer Speaks

The latest news from – Kiefer talks about the upcoming 24 movie:

It’s something that we really, really want to make. The real key difference would be that the 24 hour film would be a 2 hour representation of a 24 hour day. It would be the first thing that we didn’t do in real time. Mainly, you have to understand, we’re making two episodes every three weeks. We would have three months to make a two hour [movie]. Just to have that kind of time to really allow our cinematographer and our director and the writers to focus on such a finite thing. And actually be able to do a film that really has a conclusion, I think would be really exciting not only for us to make but I think for an audience as well. But the thing that I’m most excited about that is that we’re going to make it within the context of still running the show.

Kiefer speaks the truth everyone... what none of us realized is that they won’t be making a 24-hour long movie, but a two-hour one instead. Sadly, that won’t even be real-time – because, why? They’re tired of doing it that way? No, because it’ll be “exciting” for the director and writer to focus on such a finite thing – because 24 hours is, apparently, infinite.

Well, look at it this way, when they do the two-hour day, they won’t have to worry about the following:

  • Characters needing to use the restroom
  • Characters having to eat
  • Explaining how characters teleport all over LA
  • Creating 22 extra hours of compelling writing
  • Directing 22 extra hours of amazing acting

Wait, they never did anyway.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

24 Season 6: EW Says it’s Scary Good

One week! One week! One week! Can you believe that there’s only ONE WEEK before the new tragedy season begins? I can’t. It seems like we’ve been sitting around in a Chinese jail for the past 20 months (while our bodies deteriorate and our beards grow), just waiting for news on the Jack Bauer front.

Now that we’re so close to the beginning of the new season, the hype machine seems to be in full effect. Not only are there non-stop promos running on television, but it looks like the first four episodes have been leaked on BitTorrent. I don’t buy for a second that someone just happened to get a hold of them and put them on BitTorrent. It was probably Fox that did it, which is fine. They’re just giving the die hard fans a chance to be cool before anyone else.

In addition to this news, I ran across an article on about this upcoming season. As you can read for yourself, the gist of the article is this... when contemplating if this season can be as good as last season, apparently there are more thrills and suspense in the first four hours than most series can pack into a single season. Great, just what we need is more crap packed in.

But before I dismissed the article, because it seemed so pro-24, I kept reading to see what else Mr. King (I think it’s THE Stephen King) had to say.

This time the story spun out by Joel Surnow, Howard Gordon, and their co-conspirators seems, if not real, then dismayingly possible. Season 5, distinguished by Gregory Itzin as President Slimeball (and let’s not forget Jean Smart as his long-suffering, screw-loosey wife), was almost extinguished by the creaking plot. Sentox? Really? It doesn’t sound like nerve gas; it sounds like something you buy at the drugstore to combat athlete’s foot or hide those embarrassing facial blemishes.

This coming from the guy who writes horror stories about killer clowns... but, for some reason, I want to believe it. Whoever reads this blog knows how I feel about 24’s last several seasons. What once was a good show has slipped, badly, and yet still somehow managed to win big-time Emmys (finally). While I don’t think the show was Emmy-worthy, I want it to be better.

King also mentions how successful the show is – which no one can argue with. But a part of that success had to do with focusing more on explosions than it did on writing and acting. Maybe season six will be different.