Friday, March 26, 2010

beep beep beep

The L.A. Times just reported that FOX has decided to cancel 24 after this season. I first read rumors of the groundbreaking show's demise a few months ago. Given the inconsistency of this season (and "inconsistency" is probably generous), I was OK with it. There were promising things going into this season (the addition of Katee Sackhoff and the continuation of Cherry Jones as a great female U.S. Prez), but sadly they've been squandered. BIGTIME.

But nevertheless, I find myself a little sad. Jack's torturing and acting out of Dick Cheney's favorite fantastical iterations of the Patriot Act have thrilled me for nine years. (This is season 8, but season 7 was postponed a year because of the writers' strike.)

The pilot, which my friend and former Albany Times Union television writer Mark McGuire shared with me after he got back from the Television Critics Association summer press tour, blew me away. I knew watching the real time drama unfold that I would never see TV the same way again. Though not always successfully (season 3, the amnesia, the bear trap, season 6), they managed to inject more pulse-pounding drama into a season than any show ever; I mean they essentially wrote 23 cliffhangers per year.

Even my favorite show, Lost, learned a lesson from 24. After a crappy season 3 of 24, FOX realized that a real-time serial had to be broadcast in real time as much as possible, meaning no reruns, just 24 episodes consecutively. Lost adopted this strategy beginning in Season 3 after viewers decided that they just couldn't keep up with the starts and hiatii of a traditional television season.

So I'll miss you Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida and Chloe O'Brian and Curtis Manning and Bill Buchanan and Edgar Stiles and Renee Walker and David Palmer. May you go to the great unifinished television universe in the sky.

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