Tuesday, February 07, 2017

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Two hours into the new 24, and I am enjoying it, mostly. Still, I want to enjoy it more, and I feel like maybe the real world is making it hard to enjoy the schtick the series trades in.

Two hours in, and we have Islamic terrorists popping up everywhere. Highly organized hit squads chasing down our hero. Sleeper cells in our high schools. The most trusted advisor to a candidate for President of the United States. It's patently ridiculous. It's patently ridiculous in a way that should be fun and escapist for being so implausible. Yet our actual president is trumpeting exactly this sort of "Islamic terror" conspiracy as a completely real thing. So the experience is contaminated; watching 24 both is not the escape from reality it should be, and is laughable for trying to depict something insane with a straight face.

But in brief flashes, if you can somehow forget about all that, there are some good thrills. In the spirit of a taser as a first solution, our new hero Eric Carter leaps to breaking into a police station evidence room as his best option. This is a big "hold my drink" to even Jack Bauer's more ridiculous escapades (like infiltrating the Russian consulate.) Just so over-the-top that it's kind of awesome. Plus, it included a not-subtle dig at racial stereotyping to almost make you forgive that the story line surrounding Eric's brother Isaac is sort of non-stop racial stereotyping.

That's seems to be kind of the whole season in a nutshell, actually -- inclusivity as cover for stereotyping. We have a black protagonist, a Latino presidential candidate with a white father, and (if I read the hints right near the end of the episode) a pair of gay CTU agents. When the writing digs behind these facades to show us the character, as with Carter trying his best to one-up Jack Bauer's boldness, things start to work. But, being only two hours in, we haven't got there for most of the characters.

I think I'm still entrenched around a B- for now. I'm engaged enough to come back next week... though I can't say there's not maybe a ghoulish "watch the train wreck" element to that. I hope it will get better, I fear it will get worse.

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