Space Ramblings

24 Turnabout

Seeing the 24 Season 7 premiere and the Scrubs Season 8 series premiere in the same day reminded me again of what both shows have in common, which is that despite the varying themes and styles, if you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen the entire series. In the case of Scrubs it’s probably more like 3 episodes, in the case of 24 we might be generous enough to call it a season, but both run on repetitive formulas that only look original until you’ve sat through a few hours of the same thing over and over again.

Case in point, Jack Bauer is in DC, CTU is gone, there’s a new President and we’re back on the same old hamster wheel. The opening that has Jack Bauer testifying before a Senate committee is potentially interesting, but we quickly have to step away as Jack is dragged back into the field. Now for anyone who hasn’t seen 24 before, the formula is fairly simple. At the beginning of the season Jack will have hung up his hat only to be dragged back in when a new terrorist threat emerges. Meanwhile the President’s office will be beset by shadowy conspiracies. The new bosses will not like Jack, a suspect will be found only to be killed shortly thereafter, Jack will go rogue, the CTU staff will bicker and the formula 24 engine will run on.

Jack doesn’t get around to getting rogue in the season opener, but it’s the same old formula, with the soap opera revelation that Tony Alameda is still alive, and mad as hell. Phlox aka John Billingsley hangs around as a kidnapped engineer forced to create a firewall breacher that will let Tony crash planes, thereby ripping off the plot from Die Hard 2. (Of course Jack Bauer was basically a more tortured and laconic version of John McClane to begin with.) If the formula runs true, we can shortly look forward to Tony’s plan only serving as the cover for a much more complicated conspiracy that will involve people close to the President, will force Jack to go temporarily rogue, and cause the viewers to begin tuning out after a few episodes.

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