We’ve gone through the first few hours of the new season of 24, and I have to say I’m very ho-hum about it so far. CTU is back in business, the earnest President is engaged in some high-level activity, Jack Bauer is on the trail of terrorists who are threatening our national security, Chloe O’Brien is scowling at everyone, and no doubt there is some deeply rooted conspiracy messing around somewhere. The problem is, it just all seems so familiar.
On 24, there’s always some gang of international bad guys — one year it was Mexicans, another year Middle Eastern, last year it was Africans, and this year it is Russians. CTU’s security, as usual, is abysmal. CTU’s offices have been bombed, gassed, and routinely infiltrated over the years. This year some ex-felon with a fake name and identity has managed to rise to some high-level position, where she is being easily blackmailed into aiding and abetting criminal acts by an ex-boyfriend who has simply threatened to expose her deep, dark past. I don’t think she’s the kind of resolute person you’d want in the foxhole with you. As seems to be true every year, we have a new tactical squad guy, a new techie guy, and a new CTU head; we don’t really know enough about them to care much. Former FBI agent Renee “Freckle Face” Walker has returned from last season, but she has been badly traumatized and is now a robotic character with a death wish who doesn’t blink when she saws off the thumb of a nameless bad guy. The normal complement of random 24 characters have been quickly introduced and then just as quickly knocked off.
I hate to say it, but it’s been kind of dullsville. In one recent episode, I actually dozed off, probably during one of the too-frequent turgid scenes where the blonde CTU analyst who wears miniskirts to the office was being threatened by her evil ex-boyfriend. It makes me yawn just to think about it.
The season is still young, so maybe there’s hope. On a fast-paced show like 24, clunker plots can be speedily pitched and replaced by something more interesting. The return of the sniveling ex-President Logan, maybe? Jack haunted by the ghost of David Palmer? We’ll keep our fingers crossed.