24: Season 8

[SPOILERS FROM VARIOUS SEASONS INCLUDING SEASON 8.   IF YOU’VE NOT SEEN EVERY EPISODE OF 24 THEN READ AT YOUR OWN RISK]

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24 has been a staple of my adult life.

From watching season 1 on DVD in pretty much a single sitting, to various fights and “plant activites” with Vanlandw, the awe-inspiring fate of Nina Meyers, and Edgar’s famous “CHLOE?!… AAARHRH” scene – The list of memories goes on and on.

But, for as much amazing and compelling drama as this show has produced; it has produced at least the equal amount of complete BS and sheer annoyance.  This trend seems to be correlated with each new season that has been released; with the exception of perhaps season 5.  With seasons 1 and 2 being near perfection; I think it’s almost a shame what this show has now become.  So begins my hatred and critique of Season 8.

I somehow managed to watch all of season 7.  I SOMEHOW looked past zombie-Tony.  I somehow looked past the over-use of “Oh… Are you going to torture him Jack?”.  I somehow looked past the constantly changing good/bad/good/bad Tony.  And, finally, I would say I was able to look past the annoying women characters.  Read: President Taylor; Renae; Chloe; President Taylor’s bitch daughter.  Really, the show is physically incapable of producing a female character that I do not hate with fiery brimstone furiousness.

I was going to try to reserve judgment on this season to let it get at least half way through – but it’s just not possible.  The list of complete BS that I feel the need to call out has grown past the tipping point and the spillage shall begin.

  • Chloe:  Why this show continues to kill off interesting and relatable characters whilst keeping this permanent annoyance is just beyond me.  I guess it may help female viewers relate to the show, but she adds merely a layer of stupid woman for all the action and real drama to fight through.  I hate Chloe.  In fact, I hate Chloe so much that I have vetoed it as a possible baby name even though it is my wife’s favorite.
  • Dana Walsh:  Apparently the top counter terrorism agency in the country just fails year after year to do standard background checking procedures.  I’m so sick of the mole/badguy/general shady person plot line in 24.  Dana Walsh apparently has some sort of questionable past that she’s running from.  So, she’s apparently used her amazing level of intelligence to create a new identity and get a new job with CTU.  Her hair is always waved over one shoulder.  And, her face just really bothers me.  Her existence enrages me even further since she’s the fiancée of Cole “Freddy Prinze Jr.” Ortiz.
  • Cole “Freddy Prinze Jr.” Ortiz: He is played by Freddy Prinze Junior.
  • Renae Walker:  Imagine this line being spoken in a Swedish Chef type of voice; Cus that’s how I’m saying it.  “Ooooh I’m Renae Walker and I’ve had such a tough couple years that now I’m a female Jack Bauer.”  Poor Renae.  She had it rough and now she’s an outcast who gets by and gets things done via her renegade attitude.  24 Doesn’t need a female Jack Bauer.  She shouldn’t be on this show in this season.  OH…. MAN… THERE IS A RUSSIAN CRIME SYNDICATE INVOLVED AND APPARENTLY THIS FORMER FBI AGENT JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE BEST RUSSIAN UNDER-COVER OPERATIVE ON THE ENTIRE PLANET!>!>!!>!11..1.>.    bs.
  • CTU Itself:  Chloe.  Mole/badguy.  Blue-tool headsets.  “We have our suspect, this is the only possible scenario – even though strong evidence points otherwise”.  Dumb.
  • The Plot:  The assassination plot has been done before.  The nuclear threat has been done before.  Apparently now they are mixed into the same season.  Jack can’t say the work nuclear correctly.  I hate when people say nuke-u-lar.

So far I am really not impressed with 24, and I’m really doubting I’ll be able to watch it through the rest of this season 8.  CTU feels like a high-school in the valley.  Not a high tech counter-terrorism organization.  This is a pretty big fail.  I don’t like any of the new characters.  I don’t like the ones they’re choosing to bring back.  So far I don’t like the plot.  The only thing I’ve enjoyed this season thus far has been Jack’s kill by way of axe to the chest (Vanlandw where is bauercount seriously!).

In my opinion this show has long since run it’s course…  There have been quick glimpses of good television at points over a couple of the most recent seasons – but overall they have become fewer and farther between each other.  I’m growing tired of 24, and that is a very difficult thing to pen.

10 thoughts on “24: Season 8

  1. vanlandw

    I wrote a great comment both agreeing and disagreeing with you and included some great discussion points and of course it was lost when submitting a reply here. I’ll just put a few points down to see if we can get anything going discussion wise.

    We discussed slightly over chat and I think at this point I disagree with you on Freddy boy. I can see where you don’t like him as an actor so that is understandable but his character in comparisons with Silver Spoons in season 6 or either field ops guys is pretty decent.

    For the most part a lot of my enjoyment of the show doesn’t come from the content but more so the community and the people I’ve been able to watch the show with. I’ve accepted in season 6 about the part where Jack’s father kililed his brother I could no longer take 24 “seriously”. Now most of my enjoyment just comes from picking it apart and mostly the violence and honestly the discussion that comes from it. Many people I still know watch this show it’s fun when it comes on and everybody is talking about it even if they don’t like it.

    24 is not the same show we used to love so long ago. We know the tricks we’ve scene what it can do. I’ve found a new way to enjoy it and I’m happy with that. I’ve come to accept that things are going to be convenient (as they always have to be honest for two seasons they were able to inject Nina into the main plot).

    Also people seem to love Chloe. I watched the first four hours this season with Suz and she thought she was hysterical. Looking on 24 message boards people seem to enjoy the female characters more then anything (expecially Renee for reasons I’ll never understand I don’t care much for her at all). Of course I thought it was funny when Jack nailed a guy with a fireman axe.

    What I think it comes down to is that NOTHING on television as much as we BOTH wish it could be is created with a 29 year old male in mind. Especially network tv is clearly moving towards generalized non-serial programming. Shows are sadly becoming more geared towards women and even 24 that I would say for a long time clearly was created with men in mind. Now it’s written to get a mass audience. From what I heard the season 8 premiere got the largest ratings ever for a 24 premiere. There is no way anybody could disagree season 1 of 24 was not created with male audiences in mind. It’s a classic revenge/payback/betrayal story. Now it’s mass market hitting all buttons.

    I could write more and might later but mostly I’ll leave it at this for now.

  2. Vanberge

    It is fairly enjoyable to discuss the pros/cons of 24 at beat the horse just way past its demise.

    But at the same time it’s hard for me to stick by it when it has started to go downhill. Fox is king of milking a series drying it up completely until it is a shard of its former self. Prison Break, Sarah Connor Chronicles, 24, just to name a few. Then an interesting show like “Drive” gets the axe after 4 episodes.

    Personally I do take the change in format of 24 personally. You’re right – it did start as a 100% male oriented show. But, the show go popular obviously for a reason. It is written for the masses now and designed to please as many target markets as possible; but I think this is done only in part to garner higher ratings. I think the weakened/changed writing and content is just a bi-product of having 8 seasons of a show like this. There’s only so many national crisis one can write into a show without developing a layer of cheese sprinkled with dumb woman seasoning.

    But, the reality is as you say – shows just dont exist like this anymore. The Shield was the strongest example of what I want in a TV show; and something like that will never exist on the prime time cable; it’ll always have to be on the FX’s and HBO’s of the world.

  3. vanlandw

    In comparison of recent television offerings with what is left on TV the only show I can think of that I would say is “better” is Lost. I recently was able to catch up with season 5 and minus a few things I found to enjoy that season alot. I still like the first and fourth season better but really Lost does one thing that I wish 24 would have picked up on and that is using it’s history better. Lost is still answering questions brought forth from years ago and for a long time viewer rewarding their countless hours of viewership is good.

    24 I think sprinkles parts that hooks males like explosions, small quips to previous seasons (did you catch the salazar reference in the first few episodes), shootouts, and pretty much Bauer. Everything else is for a different audience. 24 personally I feel made huge mistakes killing off earlier seasons staples where just imagine if palmer was still in the mix.

    Regardless 24 is leaps and bounds better then what Prison Break became. I kinda want to “yin your yang” on this with what 24 actually is doing right this season but I might have to do that later.

    I agree with you on The Shield. Seasons 1-3 and 7 are pretty much perfect television fiction. The shield ruined all current television because everything on tv is cop shows and nothing is even close to as good as the shield.

    I’ll write more later brb

  4. Vanberge

    I look forward to hearing what you feel 24 is doing well this season… 🙂

    I also look forward to hearing vanbergs’ thoughts on this matter at hand.

    If 24 killed off chloe, killed off dana walsh, closed CTU again, and made Jack Bauer kill Renae like he killed Nina Meyers – then I might change my tune.

  5. vanlandw

    Good: Jack being like a human being rather then a kiilling machine or a plot device. Finding happiness and not being dragged though an impossible living gutter like they did in season end of season 4 though season 6. I’m also glad they are using more investigating and a slower burn to the season. Also the presidential storyline is slimmed not as prevalent. The scenes are quicker and it doesn’t seem like moles or craziness is involved in the whitehouse. A small step seems to be taken to integrate SOME realism and removal of sensationalism. I was also happy to see Aceveda if only for one episode and I like the actor Doug Hutchison who was in Lost and the Green Mile. Even though Bubba Gump’s character is a douche I’m glad they got him cast as well. Older cast I like that..

    Bad: You covered all that mostly the over use of female characters and retread of storyline points. Bringing back CTU was sadly inevitable and a pointless move to NYC means nothing to the story like DC did in season 7. I believe they filmed no scenes in NYC and you can tell. Way to many close shots and I believe backdrops are used. Compared to some of the iconic locations they used in the early LA seasons you can tell either the budget has been tightened or something has changed in production.

    I don’t know if vanbergs is watching I haven’t talked to him about it. After talking with him even his stance on season 6 lightened after rewatching it and actually I feel the same as he did. He might agree with you tho if he’s watching I’m not sure.

    Sadly Kim, Chloe, and I believe Renee is also in the “never going to die” list sadly. It would be fantastic to see Chloe get just absolutely car bombed or something tragic like Edgar’s gassing.

  6. Vanberge

    I can see where you’re coming from about Jack – for awhile it seemed like they were “rambo-izing” him a bit. “You have to come full circle with who and what you really are” etc etc. But, that seemed to be abandoned very quickly after a 5 second conversation with Kim. They might touch on it more as the season progresses, and if so – then I will give props for that. But my hunch is that Jack goes back to his old self and the struggles he faced in his transition to a normal life are already over with; not to be mentioned again.

    24 is at least making an effort at masking some of their weaknesses and plot re-use, but they still remain. For example, there may not be a mole/bad guy in the US presidency; but Omar’s brother is pretty much the same thing as a whitehouse/presidential mole.

    With the main assassination plot piece has already played out in it’s entirety and now the focus is solely the “nuclear” threat – I just don’t know what this season is shaping up to be. So far though – I honestly do not like it.

    Regardless I’m glad you have adapted your person and are still able to find enjoyment out of the Jack Bauer experience. I honestly wish I could say the same. 🙁

    I love you vanlandw. We should join debate club at GVSU

  7. Jeffrey

    I have gotten to the point where I never like nor dislike 24. I still watch it, because of diatribes like this one. The last season that I really liked was 4. Everything since then has been pretty much down hill. Although, I did like the direct to DVD movie that took place in Africa. I actually think I would like the show more if they did it like a serialized movie style. Just come out with a made for tv movie/mini series once a year.

  8. vanbergs

    Vanberge, you have used your keen sense of vision to peer directly into my brain as far as this season is concerned. I thought you’d be doing your normal, every-season regurgitation of “I’m not watching any more, I vow this to everyone,” but this time, I am just a skeptical as you. I’ll try to keep this as to-the-point as I can, but I fear as though I will fail…

    Major Issues:

    Plot. This one is crucial to my enjoyment of the series. It’s a show about terrorism, so honestly, I don’t care if they recycle plot lines/attacks/etc. When you have a show dealing with this type of subject, repetition has to be expected and discounted. But the fact is, the show has taken a huge step backwards in terms of how they *approach* the plot, by going back to the tired formula of “Hey, we’re CTU, and we’re a monumentally disastrous organization as far as national security is concerned.” The writers are just lazy at this point. They know they have time to fill, and they know they’ve killed off every character anyone cares a shit about, so it’s time to go back to good old CTU. It’s ridiculous. I’m not even going to repeat everything you mentioned about background checks and perfectly substantial leads being ignored, because you adequately touched on it.

    Freddie Prinze Jr. is horrific, I’m sorry. He spent his whole film career as the posterboy for romantic teen comedies. Had he ventured off a bit earlier, I could look past the typecast…but come on. He is about as believable in this role as Pauly Shore would be as The Terminator.

    Changing the one good thing about the series so much (Jack) while forcing a fucking incomprehensibly bad “femJack” into this already shaky formula is borderline offensive. Still need to see how it all plays out, but at this point, it’s pretty awful, and in no way is it captivating. 24 has seriously run its course, and this definitely needs to be the last season, because if they are putting Jack through character withdrawal, while stepping back into the formulaic nonsense of highschoolTU, then this season is a wash.

    Vanlandw, the fact that you now say you enjoy the show almost entirely as a discussion piece should speak volumes on the quality of this show. I always love talking about it too, but now, every time I watch it, I only notice the shitty things, because that’s just about all that’s left…seems like that’s how we’re all approaching it at this point: what kind of awful things do we get to talk about on Tuesday? It used to be talking about the cool things, and the small community that we spawned because of 24. We’d go to Best Buy and eat at Fazoli’s every week, and watch with sheer anticipatory pre-gasm. Afterwards, it was what we liked and disliked, pointing out how cool or not cool certain things were. Now, we’re disillusioned critics because Fox can’t stop bleeding the goddamn show of all it’s worth. Either let Jack find his happiness, or let him go out in a blaze of glory…there are only so many times you can walk the dog on this yo-yo of a storytelling approach.

    brb.

  9. netster007x

    I think 24 is one of the greatest shows on television. I got into it a third of the way through season 6 and found it amazing. One of my favorite things was how politically incorrect it was in that Jack did things like shoot a terrorist in one leg, then put the gun to the other. I thoroughly enjoyed the season and watched each prior season online. After watching a few episodes of a season it was very hard to step away. Now, season 7 had some good story elements and suspense, and I liked the idea of Chloe, Bill, and Tony acting as shadow protectors accomplishing far more than the FBI was. Also, I liked how Jack stood up to the congressman judging his actions that have saved millions. However, I think this recent move to realism has taken some from the show. The former bulldog Jack rarely crossed the line in season 7 and has yet to do anything of the sort in season 8. The casting hasn’t helped (who let that dreadful Garafalo near the show?!). I’ve always liked Chloe, but I was never too fond of Renee, and the new CTU people this season seem kind of lame. Why not keep Milo or someone from season 6? Oh well, Jack should be able to keep the season entertaining (that knife out of his chest into the russian’s neck was awesome!), but it just seems to have lost a certain spark.

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