Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's Official--- Jack Bauer Has Jumped the Shark

Okay, perhaps "Jumped the Shark" is a bit too kind. More accurately, Joel Surnow loaded him onto the ramp, shoved him off, and let him be shredded by a great white.

In the past several seasons, Bauer has busted an evil president that took part in the assassination of a former president (A murder for which Jack was framed and, as always happens in stories written by hacks, he cannot clear himself unless he finds the real killer); He's been kidnapped by the Chinese government and totured daily for two years; He's been released with no fanfare when the writers couldn't figure out a way to build a story around it; He's found out that his brother is the bad guy we've been seeing for the past two seasons; He's reacquainted himself with an ex-girlfriend that also happens to be said brother's widow (Her child looks an awful lot like Jack); He's found out that his father has played a role in so many governmental cataclysms that I fear they're working on a way to make him the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll; He's been killed more times than the cheerleader from "Heroes"; He now seems to be headed for a standoff with a vice president that's one fluffy white cat away from being a James Bond villain and has orchestrated an attempt on the president's life so that he can herd all Muslims into concentration camps; He's watched his wife die for reasons that make no sense in the context of telling a good story; His daughter has decided several times that she doesn't want him in her life (And apparently stuck to her guns last season); He's survived two nuclear attacks on America; And along the way, he's killed more nameless, faceless bad guys than Rambo while torturing more people than a Celine Dion boxed set could.

Have I missed anything? Is there any kind of personal pathos that the incompetent writers of this show haven't tried to mine? Or for that matter, any cliche they won't beat to death? You can always identify a poorly written comic book; All new villains are someone from the hero's former life under a mask. A bully that beat him up as a kid. The long-lost best friend from childhood. A family member. So how pathetic is it that the writers of this show have every member of Jack's family tied to terrorism?

I can only imagine what the future might bring:

Season 7: Jack is suffering from burnout. He goes into the swamps of Louisiana and meets up with a near-mythical former CTU agent, a midget with large ears who talks back-to-front. "Excitement... Adventure... A CTU agent craves not these things" he admonishes Jack. With the help of his new mentor, Jack races back to Los Angeles to keep Osama bin Laden from stealing the Lost Ark of the Covenant.

Season 8: Jack hits the ground running in pursuit of a terrorist ring, but eventually finds out that... Nothing is going on. Desperate for an adrenaline fix, he ends the season by torturing and killing a guy that won't shut off his car alarm.

Season 9: Kim shows up on the doorstep at CTU, acting strangely... Jack unravels the state his daughter is in, culminating in a pitched battle atop a skyscraper against the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.

If Joel Surnow sees this, one of two things will happen. Either he'll say "Damnit! Who leaked?" or he'll offer me a contract.

Unless the latter happens, count me out. I give up on this show.
Also approaching the ramp: "House" has degenerated into complete incoherence this season. And as much as I like "Heroes", there's a bad moon rising--- The additions of Eric Roberts and Malcolm McDowell to the cast of any show cannot bode well.


theogeo said...

I'm really glad I never even started watching "24." I don't care for "Heroes" either. I like to call it "The Weekly Anticlimax Hour."

However, I was excited to hear that Malcom McDowell was getting work!

tetsujin said...

well ya know HEROES is apparently doing the same thing as you write 24 is doing. If you realize that the bare bones of the series is borrowed from a Manga titled JO JO'S BIZZARE ADVENTURES (of which Hiro is a fan) the comic book stylings make sense. I still fail to see how so many find entertainment in HEROES, however.

Freedonian said...


I think "Heroes" got off to a promising start, but they're already running out of steam/ The first two seasons of "24" were outstanding, particularly if you watch them on DVD so you don't have to wait a week between episodes. I still recommend them highly, and I can lend them to you any time you want. But I would end it there.

I wish I could disagree with a single thing you said. I didn't know that about the Jo jo's book, but I always thought the comic stylings made sense within the context of the show. I think this might well be the first time Jeph Loeb has truly disappointed me with his writing. I keep hanging on to see if it turns around, but it keeps getting worse. The revelations of the last couple of weeks alone--- The Texas cheerleader is actually the daughter of the NY congressional candidate, making her the niece of the hero that she bonded with as he was rescuing her, and that her grandmother has been some puppetmaster pulling strings from abroad for years--- What the hell is this? It's "The Young and The Restless" with superpowers.