24 premiere.

Since there's absolutely nothing bad going on in the real world (or The Real World Denver, that's alllll goooood baby), let's deconstruct the first half of the season premiere of 24 last night.

1. Format
I can't say I'm a fan of the two-night premiere. In reality, it gluts us in the first week and takes away two episodes that could extend the show a little longer. Since this show is only on for a little over four months of the year anyway, couldn't they do this differently? I will say, though, that putting the first two hours on at the same time is a great move. It allows the first hour a little latitude to develop character and plot, while leaving the second hour to plunge headlong into the action. Brilliant.

2. Jack Bauer
Isn't it amazing how quickly he goes from bad to awesome? It was funny to see the writers put in a line for Buchanan about how he didn't think Jack would be this out of it. And yet by the end of the hour he had bitten a guy's jugular to escape from the clutches of Fayed. But oh no! He's gone soft! He didn't torture a guy to his usual have-to-turn-away degree! Let's get this straight right now, I don't buy the weakness thing for a second. He's going to get over it and it will go very very badly for someone.

And another thing, how can they not believe Jack about Assad? Honestly. If this show is on a continuous narrative, then let's review what Jack has done: Stopped the assassination of David Palmer (twice), rescued his wife and daughter from abduction (Kim twice), survived a plane crash, stopped a nuclear bomb from leveling Los Angeles, averted a war, stopping a nuclear missle from leveling Los Angeles, stopping Centox gas from levelling Los Angeles, and taking down a crooked president. And that's only in the three and a half seasons I've watched. So when he says something, how is it not taken as gospel truth? What does he have to do to earn some trust?

3. Abu Fayed
Every season it turns out that the bad guy in the first episode isn't as bad as it gets. Not even close. There's about five more levels to this thing, and if Fayed is going to look like small potatoes by the end, it's going to be a wild ride.

4. Wayne Palmer
I don't like him as president. It seems a little contrived. We needed to see more of what came before. With David Palmer, we saw his candidacy. The president from season four came out of nowhere, but he only served as target practice for a hijacked fighter jet. Logan we saw assume power. Wayne Palmer, it seems, was just stuck in there, and the shows writers seem to be saying, "Yeah he's president now, deal with it."

5. Peter MacNicol
This guy has been one of my favorite actors for a while and I didn't even realize it until last night. He shows up right away and I'm saying to myself, "All right, I love this guy." Of course, I'm one of eight people in the country who legitimately enjoy the Friday night hit Numb3rs. I also thought he was pretty good on Ally McBeal. Of course, all of this pales in comparison to his breakthrough role of Janosz in Ghostbusters 2. It will be nice to see him break out of his quirky stereotype and play a legitimately antagonistic role.

6. A prediction
Let's put the over/under on a Mike Novick/Aaron Pierce appearance at about 1:15 PM. I'll take the under.

7. Taj
He puts the bang in Bang Lampur. Or something like that. I loved him in Van Wilder. It's a little creepy hearing him without an overdone southeast Asian accent though. The best part about him is that he can play a Bangladeshi in one movie, then turn around and play a non-descriptly Arabic character named Ahmed (sorry, ACH-med) in a TV show. I guess it just goes to show that to Americans, they all look the same. It was funny, during the scene where he plugs the jerk neighbor, I was conflicted. On one hand we know he's aiding the terrorists, on the other hand he's freaking Taj! I kept thinking of him saying, "Take it to the car wash baby!" If you haven't seen Van Wilder in a while, watch it before he gets killed (which I expect will be very soon).

More tomorrow.

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