24 Gets Worse, Takes Page from Guiding Light

Long before Jack Bauer became the chief architect of America’s torture and interrogation policies, he was on one of our favorite television shows. Yes, there was a time when we thought 24 was even better than LOST, though honestly that question was always like asking a parent which child they loved more. But for the first three seasons, 24 was awesome. It was Die Hard on television, mixed with serious helpings of Shakespeare, Hitchcock and those 70s political thrillers that you see ads for on AMC while watching Mad Men. We even got a kick out of all the cheese, which dripped off our television screens like melted Velveeta: the cardboard sets, the 1950s serial style acting and the cavalcade of B-and-C list stars who appeared as guests (Dennis Hopper, Joaquim de Almeida and Harris Yulin among them.)

So we were sad to read about the continuing disaster that the currently-filming seventh season has become! Off three straight years so bad that we questioned whether to keep DVR’ing the show at all, season seven was already a tenuous proposition in our minds. The WGA Strike caused 24 to be pushed all the way to 2009, and then the producers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to take a page out of the Guiding Light handbook and bring a major character back from the dead (Carlos Bernard’s beloved Tony Almeida.) When we read that Jack’s annoying daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) would be back in the fold, we rolled our eyes in disgust. This wasn’t shaping up well.

Now there’s word that the seventh season is going to be delayed two weeks while rewrites are done. On the surface, that’s fine. We don’t mind it when shows decide to reboot mid-season (the course correction that LOST did during its third season is the stuff of legend.) However, when you’re already 18 episodes into a 24-episode season and you decide some major plot points need an overhaul to allow for an acceptable ending, you’re in trouble. It seems even the 24 producers understand this show stinks.

Based on all the drama, we just get the feeling that this will be 24‘s last season. We had thought, maybe foolishly, that it would go out with a mushroom cloud. Now perhaps the best we can hope for is a cougar chase.