Friday, April 07, 2006

Why I Stop Watching 24

I'm losing interest in the tv show "24" again. It's happened every season since the first, although this year I hung on longer than most. I think I've figured out what my issue is; it's a lack of a strong season-long story arc. If that seems contradictory to the very nature of the premise of the show, it is. But bear with me for a moment as we look at this current season.

[SPOILER ALERT: If you are not currently up to date with Day Five, stop reading here because I'm going to give all kinds of shit away.]

In the first episode, ex-President Palmer is assassinated, while attempts are made (successfully and unsuccessfully) on the lives of three others. The mystery is solved by episode 5. We know who did it and why. There is a mole in CTU - we learn who it is shortly after we realize there is one. There is a mole in the White House - yup, in the very next episode we get to see him confess and kill himself. The airport hostage crisis in episode two is averted in episode four and turns out it's just a ploy to remove nerve gas canisters. We find out who's behind that, too, and what they're after. Etc., etc. No mystery lasts more than one or two episodes before resolving itself and revealing another related one.

I get that it's difficult to maintain a level of interest over multiple episodes, and that the structure of the show (one hour in real time each 42 minute show) also has to offer a weekly dose of satisfying drama, but I find it tiring. After awhile I just don't care because it's all going to work itself out in a week or two anyway, and I've already forgotten what set us on this trajectory. I'm satisfied that I know who shot Palmer and I don't feel compelled to watch any more. If that were still a question, I'd probably be hanging on every episode looking for clues, waiting for the big reveal.


Blogger Pynchon said...

I like "24" a great deal, but I've been feeling very much the same as you this year. It seems that they are making it up as they go along.

Oh, well. At least I can ogle Kim when she returns.

6:51 PM  

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