Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Case Against “24”

Gregg Easterbrook tees off on Jack and Co.:

Through the course of the eight-year series, the United States had five presidents, and the fifth was about to announce her resignation as the series ended. Through the eight years depicted, a nuclear bomb went off near Los Angeles, a former president was murdered by the CIA, Air Force One was shot down, martial law was declared, U.S. nuclear missile launch codes were stolen, Russian nuclear missile launch codes were stolen, the Secretary of Defense was kidnapped and government computers were taken over. Jack Bauer solved all these problems (except the Los Angeles explosion) single-handedly, always by running from place to place, shouting at everyone he met, then shooting people using one of those special guns that never runs out of bullets, while thousands of rounds fired back at him at close range missed their target. Bauer also single-handedly foiled a nerve gas attack on diplomats, a radioactive dirty-bomb attack on New York, five other nuclear bomb attacks on U.S. cities, and an attempt to cause several U.S. nuclear power plants to melt down. This veered well beyond nonsense, even given Jack’s amazing ability to move across town — or across country — during commercials. Another sci-fi aspect: The countless conspirators of “24” endlessly discuss their conspiracies, in specific language, over cell phones!

Finale Roundup

“Lost” Opinion seems to be mixed, but I loved it. It was exciting, moving, and gave satisfying ends to most of the characters. Loved the Jack/Locke fight, and the various romantic reunions too.
The flash-sideways explanation would’ve sounded silly if someone had described it to me outside the show, but the way it was dropped in made sense. And I guessed the final shot the first time I saw the bamboo, although I’m guessing some fans guessed in Season 2 or something.
As I’ve said before, I didn’t watch “Lost” until this year, when I decided to watch the last season, and since i’ve become an addict, devouring old episodes on Hulu as fast as I can. Not watching all along is probably my top pop culture regret of the decade. (Although, going to see “Sex and the CIty 2” tomorrow night may prove even more regrettable.)
“Law & Order” The night after “Lost” ended with a two-hour recap, a two-and-a-half-hour finale, and an hourlong Jimmy KImmel wrapup= the culmination of a planned three-year wind-down- “Law & Order” ended its two-decade run with no clip show, no special episode, and not even any acknowledgement that it was the finale.
It was a pretty nondescript episode, save for the celebration at the end and a really great Jack McCoy-yelling-at–the-teachers-union-boss moment that had to have been the New York Post’s favorite L&O moment ever.
No, “Law & Order” isn’t going anywhere, but I’m still going to miss it.
“24” Jack, of course, should have died, and would have were it not for the need to extend the franchise with a movie. And the last moments of the episode, with the Jack/Chloe phone call, were actually quite affecting. But the biggest problem with “24”‘s final season was that its last third made no sense at all. There was no terror threat, and the plot was a battle between Jack and the president, both of whom were wrong (Taylor lied, imprisoned journalists and committed all sorts of other misdeeds to secure a peace treaty, while Jack killed a couple dozen innocent people in order to scuttle it. And, he stole a helicopter.)
Reed Diamond, meanwhile, gets the distinction of being shot dead in both the first episode of “The Shield” and the last episode of “24.” He did manage to last three seasons on “Homicide” and didn’t die at all.
“How I Met Your Mother.” No, not the series finale. But it might be time to start thinking about this show’s endgame. Despite a few inspired half hours, this was the show’s weakest season by far, and not only because it made so little progress on the mother-finding front.
The best things about the show have always been the characters, the storytelling and the elaborate continuity, and it became clear this year that the creators are running out of ideas for all three.