Tuesday, May 17, 2016

24: LEGACY Trailer

It's been a while since we've had anything significant to discuss re: 24, but here we have the trailer for the reboot/spinoff/whatever the heck you want to call it.

The new people look like 24 characters. Also, there seems to be some bag/backpack thing happening with the new hero. Call me when the messenger bag makes a comeback. #JackForLife

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

24: SOLITARY - The Return of the Soulpatch

Tony Almeida's life has never been full of rainbows and puppies, but this is the lowest point we've found our erstwhile counter-terrorist agent. As part of the 24: Live Another Day Blu Ray set, we get to catch up with the world's most dangerous Chicago Cub fan, and he sure could use a hug:

If there's any doubt in your Almeida-loving heart, rest assured that Tony Almeida is coming back to the show and he will be redeemed and probably mercilessly killed all in the same moment. Ha, 24 hates its fans.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Breaking 24 News: Tony Almeida Lives to Die Another Day

Kaden Alfow posted in the comments section of a previous post the following link, which announces the return of Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard). Almeida will be shown in a "bridge scene" included exclusively on the home video release of 24: Live Another Day.  Thank you, Kaden Aflow, for posting the news.

Okay, does this mean Tony will feature in the yet-officially announced Season 10? Could they just do a season where Jack and Tony go shoe shopping? Please!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What ever happened to Jack Bauer? Season 9 finale review

My delay in writing this came first from a hectic flight back into the country on the night the show aired and with me struggling to find a way to write a review now that I missed the instant "quick review" format that I've been utilizing all season. Having some time to reflect on the episode, here's my less traditional take on yet another finale of 24:

Watching the end to Season 9 of 24, called "Live Another Day," I found myself spacing out right after Audrey Raines bit the bullet thanks to Chinese mercenaries. My mind drifted to a scene far removed from what I was looking at on screen- I began to imagine Jack's college friends at a reunion, talking about their absent friend. 

"What ever happened to Jack?" they would ask. "I heard he's dead" "No, I think I read somewhere that he's on the run, a criminal who betrayed his country." "I heard he's saved our country many times over." "Yeah, same old Jack."

I suppose a show thrives on its formula. If it works, don't change it because otherwise you lose the identity of the show. Well, what if the identity of the show was based on the eternal suffering of its hero? It messes with the viewer because each of us sympathizes with Jack Bauer. We root for him to win, not just for the safety of millions of people, but for himself. I guess I'm a fool for bringing that hope with me each time I watch a season of 24 because I really have come to like this character. He's resilient, smart, ruthless when necessary but also fiercely honest and loyal. He's not a bastard, he's not a conflicted man, he is in many ways morally superior to everyone around him. So, when he drops in the ground when learning Audrey is dead and reaches for his pistol to end his life, I actually wanted the guy to off himself because the world the writers have placed him in doesn't deserve Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer deserves the trust of his government and its president. Jack also deserves to have real human relationships because these things matter to him. This isn't The Man With No Name or RoboCop we're dealing with here. Jack is a soldier, yes, but he's also a leader-- a skilled, free-thinking man. If he doesn't get to enjoy peace after the wars he fights, but instead is destined to suffer and be spit upon by the filth of the earth, then I'm not sure I get the entertainment value of this show. Sure, it's entertaining to see Jack behead a bad guy, but that's become a trope for this show. And I really do like Jack watching Jack hunt down bad guys one by one. Yet, that too feels "safe" for this show. What I have yet to see is Jack be a free man. At some point, you either kill him or you set him free.

What we got to close out this otherwise strong season is the third option, the one the show runners seem to embrace- Jack needs to suffer more. In this finale, it's the Russians that take Jack away for another summer camp of torture and imprisonment. I read somewhere that people hope this sets up the return of Tony Almeida, coming from the darkness to save his old friend. Ah, remember Tony? He died, but then he didn't. And then Tony became bad. But he was bad for good reasons. And then he went to jail. Tony, stay in jail, it's safer in there.

There will be more 24, and I will watch it. I'll bring my hope that Jack gets to be free again. Does being free constitute being happy? Not necessarily, I think it means that Jack gets to choose where he goes and what he does again, instead of being handed off from one group of jerks to another. If I'm being overly simplistic, maybe it's because the show has become a blur to me. The side stories over the years promised some intrigue, particularly the idea of some larger cabal being behind some of the greatest acts of evil known throughout the years of 24. At least with that sort of plot, Jack has a real purpose and an actual chance at justice and maybe redemption. There's great potential for Jack Bauer's story to mean something again. I wait patiently for the show to find its way back to that path.

Monday, July 07, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24:


Heller sees that the Chinese carrier is toast. Heller wonders to himself if he gave the order and forgot about it afterwards. Hey, I'm not being mean, the man has a medical condition!

Jack and Kate are doing unholy amounts of damage on Russia's best London-based goons. The kill-meter is blowing up, people. It's like a firecracker warehouse on fire on the hottest day of the year. On the equator. BOOM!

Chloe gets some intel from Cheng himself stating that his government has disavowed him. Cheng gets intel of his own that reveals Bauer is right down the road from him. Chloe tries to steal an iPhone and Cheng notices this pretty easily.  Cheng and the gang take Chloe out for a drive to anywhere not near Jack Bauer.

Jack shoots conveniently situated propane tanks. And then the cavalry shows up. Jack is out of breath but full of anger. And he still has a lock on the override device. And Cheng watched his Dark Knight Rises because now he's gone mobile!

The signal for the device leads back to a room full of dead Scooby Gang peeps. So, Cheng found the very large tracking device and removed it from the override doohickey. And now Jack finds a recording of Cheng. CHENG!!!!! Time to call Heller!

Jack tells Heller that Cheng is back and that the Russians are involved. Russians? Chief-in-Law poops himself upon hearing the word "Russian." Maybe Heller was ordering a salad with Russian dressing? Yeah, no one uses Russian dressing anymore.  Audrey starts to deteriorate when she hears of this news (of Cheng, not the salad dressing for which she feels immeasurable nostalgia).

And then Jack learns that Chief-in-Law sold him out. Oh man this episode is already off and running.

Cheng phones the Russian circus barker. The Ruskie says "get to the docks" as all villains suggest. I mean really, can we just have a movie where the good guys hide out at the dock? It's gonna happen one day and I'm going to claim credit for this invention.

Jack explains geopolitics to Kate. Kate reminds Jack that she's smart, like him. Jack isn't used to talking to smart people.

Chief-in-Law tries to get Audrey out of the room because his spider-senses are shaking like a flamenco dancer's skirt. What? I don't know what I'm even writing anymore.  Heller talks to the Chinese president, they talk politely but then the Chinese president says "I don't like this stuff, James."  Heller tells his team to get Cheng so he can hand them over to the Chinese. And then Audrey comes in and says she can get some evidence to her contacts in the Chinese embassy to at least prove the Americans are incompetent, not evil. Oh, and the Chinese navy has sprung into action. World War action, baby!

Jack calls Audrey, she answers it with "Kill him." Jack thinks she's talking about Chief-in-Law, but he quickly recovers. Jack regroups and tells Audrey "Don't hate me." Audrey says "I could never hate you." And then they both get emotional in their respective ways. Jack basically stares coldly, his version of crying. So Jack fails to come clean about what he's about to do to her husband and Kate looks at Jack with that look-- like "Maybe we shouldn't hook up."

Back at the Battleship room, a colonel starts mouthing off to Heller. Jack walks in and asks to meet privately with Heller and Chief-in-Law.  The colonel's disturbing behavior in defiance of the long-standing balance of civilian control over the military is temporarily halted.  Mark, Jack and Heller finally have it out. Jack puts a gun to Mark's head and Heller says "Quit rasslin' you two!"  I have a feeling this private meeting is a mistake. Heller is about to get declared incapacitated. Mark is going to get let off the hook. I can see it now.

Anyway, Heller is angry and perplexed. Jack schools Mark on geopolitics, proving Mark is yet another moron with an Ivy League piece of paper and no damn common sense. Jack asks Heller to keep Mark out of leg irons as a pawn. Ah, let's perpetuate this fiasco. Let's work with the guy facing the inevitable death penalty for treason!  Mark tells Jack where the Russian circus guy is doing uneven bars. Well, it's a lead back to somewhere! If Mark gets away with this, man... what a mess.

The name of this season is "Live Another Day" which to me means (ever the hopeful one that I am) that Jack gets his life back. If Heller gets put in a room with padded walls, Audrey starts eating out of dumpsters again and Jack loses his pardon, then we've got a crappy series of events. All I'm saying is I hope we get a semi happy ending for this season. I need this. I know, there's no chance for happiness, blah, blah, blah...

Mark, Jack and Kate go to the Russian house. Mark is their lead "Agent" for this op. I predict a surprising display of competence is imminent.

Meanwhile, Chloe escapes from the custody of several goons. And then she falls down in the woods and knocks herself out. Cheng abandons the search for Chloe when a very English soldier convoy rides by asking Cheng to stop being a crumpet on the side of the road.

Back at the Fun House, Heller drops his pills on the floor.. The military brass are blown away by this revelation. They are so damn shocked to see this 70-plus year old man is on meds, they almost have to pick their jaws up off the ground. Poor acting to say the least, but easy comedy for this humble 24-blogger. The Chinese (official) government takes out a couple of US satellites (that was fast) and Heller reluctantly raises the DEFCON level to "Super Uncool."

Mark gets out of the Jackmobile and approaches the Russian House guard. Mark tells the Ruskie he needs asylum. Mark offers the keys to all the secrets he possesses too. This works. Mark gets through the gate. Mark gets all of the intel with his hidden pin camera.  The Ruskie walks Mark into a room full of glass for some salami and light conversation. Or maybe a bullet to the head.

Jack and Kate make their way through shrubs like a pair of skunks looking for stuff to spray. Their trusty, living CIA guy successfully jams the security signal! Raspberry jam! Anyway, Jack shoots with a silencer.  The Ruskie sees this on his CCTV monitor (which has no sound, btw) and goes to shoot Mark. Mark fights this out of shape Ruskie valiantly. But then the Ruskie gets a piece of glass stuck in the worst possible place, his carotid.  The Ruskie dies. No intel on Cheng. DAMMIT! CHENG!!!!

Audrey meets her contact in a park. She tells her contact that Cheng is alive, again, no one believes it. The persistent Elvis/Tupac/Bea Arthur "lives" rumors would never fly in China. When you're dead in China, they're done with you. Anyway, Audrey hands her contact some proof of the override device, at least to slow down World War III. Then Audrey hugs her awkwardly. Oh snap, someone kills her contact and the Secret Service detail. Who?!!!! CHENG!!! Audrey sits on the bench knowing that Cheng is able to kill her at any moment. It's full mental breakdown time!

Oh good, Chloe woke up!


What a great episode. My goofy observations aside, I love how quickly the chessboard has been reset. This is clean storytelling too- I don't see the writers pulling any double-triple-cross shenanigans. And the set up for next week's finale is perfect. Is Audrey in Kim/cougar territory by leaving the Embassy to meet clandestinely at a park in the wide open? Yes. This is television, we must forgive such contrivances. The set up of having Audrey in a life-or-death situation was too important to pass up and I suspend my disbelief for this reason. Besides, it's 24, people are always getting in trouble. At least this time it wasn't a cougar holding the sniper rifle!

Clem is boycotting the show, hopefully she'll be back for the finale.

Monday, June 30, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24:

24 made a lot of fans happy. I'm hoping for an encore tonight...

Kate is brought into the loop by Jack. The Universal Remote Control is truly universal- it can control all TVs, VCRs and weapons systems around the world. Okay, I'll suspend disbelief for an hour. Make it good.

Crow Villain lets Chloe know that he's stealing the override device to render the world's arsenals obsolete by making all their firewalls vulnerable to outsider control. This is basically what Facebook does to your private life.

Navarro, with the device in his purse, runs like a giraffe on a treadmill yet he still stays far enough ahead of Jack to safely deliver it to Crowe Villain. Navarro asks for his getaway car but gets unfriended by Crowe Villain. The Tac Team arrests Navarro and Jack keeps up chase after Crowe Villain into the Tube. Jack chases the departing train in classic French Connection fashion. The train gets away, Crowe Villain waves with his eyeballs. Oh man.

Crew Neck assumes command of the CIA office that a) blew up b) had many of its members killed violently and c) had its former commander revealed to be a world-class villain-giraffe.

James Heller gets a quick scotch in before Audrey reminds him that booze is bad for you. Things get worse for Heller when Crew Neck calls and tells the president that the override device is looser than Audrey's temper. Heller reminds Crew Neck that the entire US government is under Jack Bauer's command.  Kate also learns that Navarro completely lied and is the world's worst boss for setting up her husband.

Bauer tells Crew Neck he wants to interrogate Navarro. Crew Neck forgets momentarily the president's orders for supreme deference to Jack. Baby steps, Crew Neck.  Jack checks in with Kate and he learns that Kate's exonerated husband is dead by suicide. Jack now wants to hurt Navarro a little extra.

Navarro shows American TV viewers that he's on a low carb diet. And then he tells Jack he wants full immunity. Of course this is a terrible idea. Jack goes bananas foster on Navarro's wrist but Crew Neck and his white shirt brigade break it up just as it was getting good. Kate goes all Jerry Springer in the doorway, yelling at Navarro for what he did to her dead husband. Jack is all "Get off me, you weirdos. What did you put on Navarro's nipples anyway?!" The CIA substation is devolving into a local chapter of the Tri-Delts.

Chief-in-Law gets an apology from Audrey but he throws it back in her face. He tells her she wants to make kissy time with Jack. Audrey tells him that she... oh who the heck cares, this subplot blows. It's meant to justify what immediately follows: Chief-in-Law calls the Russian circus and he sells him out- giving the Ruskies Jack's CIA number/locator thingamajig. Why? Because Chief-in-Law is worried about Jack stealing his crazy wife. The Russian circus is nonetheless satisfied.

Chloe makes an impressive and suddenly unimpressive attempt at stealing the override device from Crow Villain. "Get back in the car!" he grumbles to Cleopatra O[Brian. This is very much becoming an old married couple.

Kate interrogates Navarro the old fashioned way (no, she doesn't pinch his nipples with those weird things on them). With a lot of shouting and a gun pressed to Navarro's head, Kate brings back the old days of 24.  Jack walks into this scene after getting a coffee and immediately draws his weapon and yells at her but maybe he knows Kate is crazy like a Bauer, but he nonetheless plays the good cop to Kate's angry as all hell bad cop. Navarro takes 3 seconds to give up his information on a tracker he placed in the device. Nice work, Kate! So, does the immunity thing get to go into the shredder?

Chief-in-Law joins a presidential briefing where he learns that the man he just gave up to the Russians is the only man who can stop Armageddon.  Oops!

HOLY SHIT! Cheng is back! Cheng murdered the entire Scooby Gang.  We also learn that Cheng was running Crow Villain all along. Cheng, Jack's kidnapper from years ago, "asks" Chloe to undo the garbage Yates put on the device so it can be used for maximum villainy. Chloe refuses to help Cheng. Cheng shoots Crow VIllain in the leg. Chloe agrees to help Cheng. Cheng always wins.

The Chinese (unofficial) and the Russians are both back in the mix in one episode. Jack might be able to kill his remaining enemies in one gloriously convenient season ending arc. I've been asking for Cheng's head since 2007. That's 7 years ago! What did gas cost back then? LESS THAN IT DOES TODAY DAMMIT!

Crow Villain, believing they're going to die, tells Chloe the truth- that Morris and her son weren't murdered, they died in an actual accident. Chloe, poor Chloe... manipulated to the end. Cheng makes good on Crow Villain's expectations and shoots him dead in the head.

AND THEN THE RUSSIANS SHOW UP! In proper Russian fashion, they introduce themselves to Jack with shitty driving. Holy mother of god. Jack and Kate versus the entire Russian Army. As the Russians shoot their way towards Bauer, Cheng sends a launch command to a US submarine to sink the Chinese aircraft carrier. You know, when I get a weird piece of direction from my bosses, I tend to kick it around with them for a minute or two before acting. The sub captain is all too ready to put down his coffee and just launch the dame missiles. It's obvious the sub crew thinks this is an odd, if not ill-advised order. Yes, it was confirmed but still, doesn't the captain get to ask for a little extra confirmation? If we're going to start World War III, you should be sure you want millions to die before you commit to the damn thing. Anyway, the missiles hit the Chinese carrier. Tune in next week for the end of the world!

This episode helps move the chaos forward.  Unfortunately, we only have two more hours to get (some) resolutions to these twists. Maybe Jack gets a super soldier serum injection. Maybe Jack sends out an evite to his enemies to all show up at a dinner party. I am very interested to see how these remaining hours cover all of this material.
Clem is hiding right now so no picture this week. She's afraid of WWIII. If only my cat was commanding that damn sub...

Monday, June 23, 2014

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Season 9: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Quick Review

Previously on 24, James Heller died.

Holding up her end of the deal, Shadow Mom orders the drones to crash into the earth. One drone left to destroy...

And then Shadow Son figures out the video feed of Heller dying is looped. OH SNAP. Heller is still alive! Chloe calls Heller and Jack and tells them all the drones are destroyed... wait, one is coming back! Dammit, cancel the ice cream cake! Heller makes some grumpy old man remark about wanting to die like a lion. Jack's manservant shows up and Jack tells Heller to get in the car and lay low. Jack gets in a chopper and calls 40 people on the biggest conference call of all-time. Jack is running the entire world.

"Jack, what do you need from us?" asks Kate, the only smart person earning a government paycheck.

Wow, the 24-verse finally got their shit together. Do what Jack says. DO IT AND GIVE HIM WHAT HE NEEDS. No wonder 24 is 12 episodes this season. I mean come on, we do it Jack's way, we only need half the time.

Shadow Mom watches some conveniently high-res surveillance video of Heller talking to Jack about he origin of the team name for the Brooklyn Dodgers (it was a nickname for people from Brooklyn, "Trolley Dodgers") when Shadow Mom decides she no longer wants Heller dead, but instead wants to target an ironic target: Warterloo Station.

Chloe works the hell out of her Acer laptop and calls up the Crow dude. Crow dude has a hack for finding the Shadow peeps. Kate and Crew Neck are coming in by land, Jack by air, Chloe is coming in through the wires. Oh, let's not forget, Chloe is trying to score the drone override device for Crow dude. Not cool, Chloe. You're only gonna make drama for yourself, and us.

And we finally get Jack doing what he does best, taking a pistol and cleaning up bad guys with hot lead. I could watch 300 hours of this stuff. Why all the talking and nonsense? Just give me Jack, The Jack Sack and a bunch of ammo.

Jack takes back to the roof when the hallway gets too busy with gunfire. Kate and the CIA come storming up the stairs. Shadow Son knows Jack is close to them, so he chooses to get up and leave. Shadow Mom tells him she's very disappointed in him. Guilt trip achieved. Shadow Son sits back down. Love.

Jack has his Die Hard move all set, tying a power cable around his waist. Shadow Son sees Jack coming down the building through the window (awkward) so Shadow Son shoots at Jack, blowing out the glass.  Shadow Son cautiously goes to the window to see if he hit Bauer, but OOPS, sorry, Jack isn't dead, and Jack pulls Shadow Son out the window, throwing the poor, dumb kid to the cement slab down below.  Jack jumps into the room, kneecaps Shadow Mom, puts her in a headlock and with his other arm, steers the missile into the river. OH BUT WE'RE NOT DONE PEOPLE. After letting Shadow Mom say something stupid, Jack grumbles "Thanks to you, I had to hear Heller tell me about Trolley Dodgers, dammit!" and then Jack throws Shadow Mom out the same window he yanked her son from a minute ago! Shadow Mom plummets to her brain exploding death, right alongside sonny boy. Jesus, Jack!

So, season over, right?


Jack's manservent drops Heller off at the Embassy, the Secret Service pull their guns on the manservant and Heller dislikes this so he says "Treat him like his name is James Heller." The Secret Service guys feel crappy all of the sudden. Jack's manservant gives Heller this look that basically equates to "I will kill a thousand clowns for you, my friend." A life debt has been created.  Heller goes inside and hugs everyone (and maybe Heller quietly wonders if anyone really found his letter of resignation. No one mentions it, but Heller can just say he forgot where he was when he wrote it, right?).  

Kate sees Jack in the hallway and they silently agree to make out later. Kate is all smiles and then she gets a call from her Crumpets local pal saying that tech boy Jordan finally died in a strange embrace with a bloody hitman. Kate calls Navarro (yes, Mr. Julia Roberts) and tells him Jordan is dead (awww) and that he has a dead pal (huh?). Navarro is freaking out, so he calls Crow villain for the escape package. In exchange for escaping, Crow man wants Navarro to bring him the override device.Things are going to get messy.

Chloe emerges from the Internet pub after racking up a 5 hr long tab. She talks to Jack, tells him she's insane, and then she jumps into a Mercedes being driven by.. Crow villain. OK, I get it, he's our new villain.

Jack gets back to the CIA office with the device, bringing a DoD expert with him to protect it until it can be transported back to... what's going on here? Just bring it back to the military, Jack. Anyway, Navarro talks to Jack and stupidly lets slip that Jordan died. Jack decides this is interesting. Navarro suddenly regrets saying anything. Jack boasts that his old pal at the CIA can get the ID on the hitman in three seconds. OK, maybe four seconds, just wanted to make you raise your eyebrows, Navarro.

Jack gets a call from Audrey, poorly timed to distract Jack from catching Navarro doing something evil. Jack walks to a private area and gets a return call from the CIA pal with the skills. Navarro sees he's screwed, so he kills the tech with the device and Navarro gets his own manpurse and stashes it, running out the door. As Jack finds out Navarro is the rat, it's too late. Jack and the Jack Sack are set to find Navarro and the Julia Sack. Jack versus Julia. Walking fast, running faster. Jack punches someone well-meaning. Navarro shoots at Jack. Two men with manpurses running through the night.

Navarro calls Crow and says "Yeah, I got [the override device]." Chloe gets out of the car to buy peanuts at the gas station. She gets back into the car (where are the peanuts? Hmmm....) and they drive off to meet the man who got his ass dumped by Julia Roberts.

And on 24, that could mean any number of people.

Alright, I loved this episode. I think I'll watch it again this weekend because it got everything right. And tonight's hour reminded me of some standout shows from years past. Such chaos, and fantastic action. The setup for the next 4 hours feels great. Well done, 24 people. 

Meanwhile, I'm trying to communicate better with Clem. She wants to know why I stare at this glowing box every Monday night. I hope this book helps.