Monday, March 13, 2006

We Interrupt This Program ...


Allow me to interject a post about 24 into the sports talk. I know it doesn't fit on this blog, but I had to post it somewhere. It felt irresponsible to write an entire column about it and I'm not reducing myself to going on some message board somewhere. So here it is: the writers of 24 are playing with fire. Here they have a fabulous show that hooks everyone who gives it a try. They have the greatest American action hero since John McLain in the form of Jack Bauer, CTU agent extraordinaire. They have the real time format, the 35 million viewers for the Season Five two-hour premier, all the momentum in the world. So what are they thinking killing off all the good characters? First, they gun down Palmer and blow up Michelle Dessler. Then they kill of Edgar. Now, Tony Almeida, who is and always has been the second most recognizable and iconic character on the show. What in the world? It is one thing to be an edgy show that keeps people guessing, but it is another thing to turn a show that balanced intricate, complex relationships and characters with relentless action into a formulaic death-fest that more closely resembles a "vote them off the island" reality show like "Survivor" than a real show. I know people die in real life, but this is just ridiculous. I will keep watching "24," but I wouldn't be surprised if thousands, maybe millions, of fans throw up their hands and say, "I've had it." I think the writers and producers are making a big, big mistake. Alright, rant is over.

7 comments:

Ben R said...

I couldn't be more disappointed with the show. They have lost the edge this season and now the writers are just being lazy - replacing real twists and turns with "shocking" deaths that aren't even remotely shocking. Hint: it loses the effect when you do it every freaking week. Hopefully there will be some sort of tangible response - blogs, message boards, ratings, etc. - that will send a message to the writers and producers to scale things back.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. 24 is running of the rails this season. If you have to kill somebody, make it Barry the 90-year old shrink. They shouldn't have killed off Tony, who was such a valuable character. He presented a conflicted human side to CTU and the life of an agent, and his ups and downs were emblematic of the impact each of these horrible days had on the people involved. There was still so much to Tony as well. He had grief, wanted payback, had information (remember, "I need to talk to Jack"), and could have been a valuable asset. This is the worst death yet on 24, even worse than when Terri died on Day One, because at least that one served a purpose - she had to die for Jack to turn into the killing and torturing machine he is today. This is just awful and pointless and a sign that the writers completely lost touch with the fan base. Either that or they knowingly manipulated the fan base. Whichever it is, the result is that there is alienation and it will have an impact on the show.

Adam Hoff said...

Good points. 24 has seemed to be a pretty reactionary show in the past. They were very rough at the end of season one by killing off Terri Bauer, and we saw season two soften things up quite a bit. I personally loved season two, but it appears to be the "least favorite" for many fans and I think the perception is that it lost some of its edge. Which led to the brutally violent season three when Bauer had to put a gun to three people's heads and pull the trigger. His own (russian roullete in prison), Chase's (in Mexico), and Chappelle's (when he had to execute him in what was probably the worst moment in 24 history, although Tony dying comes close).

Anyway, after that vicious season three, there was some fallout that it had grown too violent, so season four saw things scale back to being more "fun." Granted, Air Force One was blown out of the sky and Jack had to fake his own death, but it didn't have that violent edge. Now, season five is seeing the writers fall in love with the "buzz" they are getting for all the deaths (just do a search for mainstream media articles about big time TV shows killing off favorite characters - 24 is leading the way in what has become a very distinct pattern) and just going too far, ala season three. I fully expect them to make adjustments. Look for them to bring back some of the few recognizable characters that aren't dead, like that nerdy guy Adam, Mandy (even though she is a villain), possibly President Keiler, FBI Agent Tom Baker, and most likely and most dramatically, Chase. That would really soften the blow and give the fans some familiar faces. I also expect them to get back to some fun episodes featuring good old Bauer killing and torturing and less "shocking deaths."

Matt said...

Perhaps there will be so much backlash between tonight and whenever the key decisions are made that the producers will decide to have Tony live? I agree that they will probably try to placate everyone with some softer results and maybe some old cast members, but what about the old "he's actually alive!" move? For that matter, do we know he is even dead? They didn't give him the "silent clock" that is a trademark of fallen 24 soldiers.

Adam Hoff said...

I think that is going to be tough. Nobody would like to see Tony come back more than me (okay, maybe the people at www.almeidaisgod.com), but I just don't think it can/will happen. Not only do they have at least one, but probably two episodes in the can right now (meaning that they really can't change next week's show to accomdate any backlash), but there are also reports out there that confirm he really did die.

Here is an article from the NY Times that discusses main characters being killed off. It focuses on Tony and even features quotes from actor Carlos Bernard talking about it. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/14/arts/television/14kill.html?8dpc

And here is an article from the LA times that is basically a similar take on the situation: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-deaths14mar14,1,593559.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews.

As you can see, it looks like a done deal.

Again though, I wish there was a loophole. Almeida went from "by the book third-in-command that makes Jack's life miserable" to "running CTU and locking Chapelle in an interrogation room" to "saving his wife and committing treason" to "separated alcoholic drinking beer out of a Cubs mug" to "Jack and Audrey's savior" to "hostage" to "car bomb victim" to "widower" to "dead." That is a crazy character arc, and it is a shame it had to end the way it did - the writers using him as a simple plot devise to get RoboCop out of CTU.

Lame! You hear me, producers and writers of 24? Lame! Okay, I guess the rant wasn't over after all.

I love Tony said...

I think it is still possible that he's alive. Those columns don't really rule out a change of heart. I need more proof than that before I stop believing in the power of Almeida.

Adam Hoff said...

I wish your hope could be rewarded, but I'm afraid that's not possible. The final proof is in ... Almeida's profile on Fox.com now has the dreaded "deceased" stamp on it.

http://www.fox.com/24/profiles/ta.htm

Lame. Pick up your game, 24!