After establishing itself as TV’s elite adrenaline rush in the epic Season 2, “24” Season 3 (2003-04, Fox; now streaming on Amazon Prime) gets introspective and examines how family and romantic relationships can suffer under the weight of a job where you must put the safety of thousands of Americans above that of a loved one (or conversely, your work can suffer because of the distraction). Simultaneously, Season 3 marks the first time when I can see how easily “24” could slip into parody. This is the conclusion of a trilogy of great “24” seasons, and the show will never again be as consistently good.
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Now would be a good time to rewatch “24” Season 2 (2002-03, Fox; now streaming on Amazon Prime). Centered on a terrorist nuclear bomb in Los Angeles and the buildup to war in the aftermath of its explosion (in the unpopulated desert, thanks to Jack Bauer, natch), this season is obviously a commentary on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which began in March 2003, coinciding with the intense push-for-war episodes.
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With “24: Legacy” premiering earlier this year, I have a perfect excuse to rewatch “24” Season 1 (2001-02, Fox; now streaming on Amazon Prime). Even without “Legacy,” this seems like a good time to get nostalgic about a show that was presciently conceived before the Twin Towers fell and went on to become the definitive post-9/11 drama.
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“24: Live Another Day” (8 p.m. Central Mondays on Fox) comes along four years after the eighth season, but Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub slip back into their iconic characters of Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brian like a glove. Although this ninth season – which will be 12 episodes instead of 24, although it’ll apparently skip some hours so it covers a full day – has all the old “24” clichés in place (indeed, Jack is out to stop the assassination of the prez, which is pretty much the same plot as Season 1), it also seems like a good outlet for dramatically exploring the issue of drone warfare.
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Chloe is put in charge of CTU; Renee and Jack have sex less than an hour after Jack found President Hassan dead; Hassan’s widow agrees to take over as IRK president; the Russians pull out of the peace talks, blatantly suggesting that they have hidden motives; President Taylor goes to criminal ex-President Charles Logan for help; and the secretary of state who had a heart attack two hours ago is back at work.
Continue reading “Uh oh, ‘24’ is back to its old (stupid) tricks (TV commentary)”