The Fox show 24 had its season premier Sunday night and already Jack Bauer has capped a bad man, former President David Palmer is dead, Tony Almeida is in critical condition, his girlfriend is dead and the caca has hit the fan!
Hang on y'all. There's a new sheriff in town and it's gonna be a wild ride. And boy don't we love it so.
I had heard Kiefer Sutherland on the talk show circuit (David Letterman, Charlie Rose, et al) talk about how there were some changes brewing this year and man did this show deliver.
In the first 10 minutes, the former President David Palmer (played with authority by Dennis Haysbert) is shot through the neck (ironically the same way Martin Luther King was shot through the neck; I wonder if the producers thought about that? Maybe they did it on purpose). And Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) and his love interest Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) are blown to shreds by a car bomb. Tony lives, Michelle does not.
Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is being chased by bad guys (whom Jack summarily caps, including the guy who blew away David Palmer) and we find out that President Logan (hereafter referred to as "The Weasel" played to his snot-nosed best by actor Gregory Itzin) has a mole in his office who is working with the bad guys behind all this.
Jack also has a new love interest, Diane, played with come-hither over it kind of sexiness by Connie Britton And there are the usual gun-toting bad guys, and as of this writing they have taken over an airport, in which Jack - and Diane's son - are trapped.
This whole thing seems to be run by some shadowy Russian mob figure and this story is just two hours old. And there is the hint of some collusion within the U.S. government. And Jean Smart really shines as President Weasel's first lady. She apparently is bipolar, and yet she seems to have some kind of insight into the shennanigans going on around President Palmer's assassination.
All of this appeals to me on a very visceral level. It harkens down deep to a sense of right and wrong where - as I have coined the phrase to my lovely wife - "bad men must die!" I mean I was screaming "Shoot him Jack!" when Kiefer Sutherland confronted the assassin in an oil refinery. Hey man, kill the bad guys. Save the world.
And I guess that could be more of an expression of frustration with the real world. You know, where this week's freedom fighter is next year's terrorist - where a country that says it wants to promote democracy would spy on it's own citizens and use torture in violation of it's own sacred documents to extract information.
The real world is much murkier and grayer that Jack Bauer's existence. Even though the producers try to make his world more like the real one, we all carry that sense while watching 24 that somehow, some way, Jack will bring the bad guys to justice.
So I look forward to this season. The interviews have promised suprises, for which the show is known (like Jack's wife getting killed by his girlfriend in season one) so I am looking forward to 24 weeks of entertainment. [Kiefer Sutherland image courtesy Fox television. Connie Britton Image courtesy IMdb.com]