All 2 entries tagged Lost

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February 24, 2009

Jack Bauer – A shadow of his former kick–ass self

Oh Jack Bauer, how much I loved you in the old days when you were blonde and had a daughter that kissed you goodnight and a wife who wasn’t, you know, dead.

Jack Bauer. Half the man he used to be.

I started watching Season 1 of ‘24’ again yesterday. The wave of nostalgia emanating from the TV screen was awe-inspiring. Remember the days of Standard Definition? Of dodgy sound editing? Of bad haircuts?

Remember when 24 was actually good?

The experience was depressing. Because it made me remember just how face-crunchingly abysmal 24 has become. We’re now on Season 7, and the show should be on a life-support machine.

Every plot twist is recycled from an earlier season. Even characters Just. Won’t. DIE. and keep making miraculous returns, presumably to cut down on the need for casting directors.

But worst of all, the show just doesn’t know where it’s going, what it’s doing or what it’s about.

Villains come and go faster than Jack can say ‘sonofabitch’. Their dastardly plan changes from one minute to the next. Civilians die in their hundreds and the fictional CNN seems to forget about it ten minutes later. And Jack has to defeat his arch enemy Every Fricking Hour just to keep the audience happy.

Well I’m not an American simpleton with a thirst for blood and a desire for Jack to win every round.

There is literally a scene in the first episode of that first season when a character tells Jack exactly what will happen for the whole season. Terrorists will try and kill a Presidential Candidate. That’s it.

Now, the writers would be hard pressed to sustain an idea that simple for ten minutes, let alone 24 hours.

In Season 1, Jack had a team. Yes, two of them were moles, but he had relationships with people. Now he is, to quote Judi Dench’s M, a “blunt instrument”.

24 was revolutionary, and not just because of the way it was told in real-time. It led to hundreds of drama serials which rejected the traditional one-episode, one-story format of CSI, ER and Law & Order. Lost and Prison Break were just two of the more successful attempts to tell one story across six months of television.

And it was also the show that gave us hacksaw decapitations.

24’s not just a lurking shadow of its former self.

It’s as blunt as a spoon.


May 26, 2007

A Tale of Two TV Shows

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Twelve months ago, I would have told you 24 was the most rewarding TV show that I watched and that Lost was the most frustrating.

Twelve months on, I’d have got it all the wrong way round.

Both series finished their sixth and third seasons respectively this week, and while 24 was annoying, predictable, dull and just awful, Lost was absolutely flipping amazing.

In 24, having had a double Emmy-award winning second season, we were thrown a sort of ‘greatest hits’ series full of rehashed plots from previous ‘days’ in the life of Jack Bauer. Nukes, kidnappings, White House conspiracies and foreign embassy shootouts. All done before, and all done again. It was poor, and the finale did nothing to redeem this season. A pathetic ‘shock twist’ involving a much-loved character was so predictable I nearly fell asleep.

But Lost was sublime. The producers of the show had referred to a “snake in the mailbox” which would bite us when we put our hand in the last episode. And bloody hell, did it do that. Serious spoilers now… The series’ flashbacks have been an integral part of the show, and the non-linear plot has made the show special. So how about a forward-flash? The final scene took us (according to the internet, three years) forward in time, to a meeting between two of the show’s main characters. They’ve made it off the island. But they’re not both happy. One has gone into a major psychological slide, and wants to go back to the island. Not everyone made it off the island. And one of the characters has just got into a coffin. Oh, and did I forget to mention that back in ‘normal time’, they think they’re about to get rescued from the island they crash-landed on? Except they’re not, and it’s a trap.

And then the season ends.

Every time the show gives us an answer, it throws up a billion more questions. And it’s brilliant. There’s only going to be 48 more episodes. And I can’t believe they’ll be anything other than amazing. If you’ve not got into the show yet, you need a box-set or three.


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