24 is Back…but still needs some work.

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After 15 long months, Jack is back!!!  24 is back from its sabbatical with a new day for Jack Bauer to save us from disaster.  This time the show has shifted from the often devastated Los Angles metro-plex (after six season of disaster, I am amazed anyone would still call it home) to our nation’s capital Washington D.C., which is quite a treat for me since it is in my own backyard.

This season starts off with a story ripped from today’s headlines – is extreme interrogation techniques ethical, legal, and necessary as a tool for intelligence gathering?  A hotly debatable subject that has been elevated to heights in the American conscience as political “change” has swept through our country on the eve of the inauguration of a new administration.    If you think that was the only morality question that 24 is raising, then you are wrong. 

The other question 24 is asking the audience – is it permissible to use military intervention into a sovereign country as diplomatic tool for humanitarian purposes without the backing of the world body or he United Nations?  Neither of these questions are easily answered by one word.  And both issues come with consequences that might not be felt by this country until years later. 

24 is one of the few shows on TV today willing to explore these types of moral arguments each season while providing riveting excitement, intrigue, and suspense.  Who would’ve known you could do so much in one day without a chance to eat, sleep, change your clothes, and even take the opportunity to use the bathroom while guiding the viewer through minefields of morality.

With all the plusses this show has going for it, it still has quite a few flaws that sometimes are just too obvious to ignore.  These flaws are mostly in the details of the story.  To my disappointment, this season (7) – in just the first two hours – made me question what the writers have been up to during these last 15 months.  Simply put the writing is sloppy.

One of the first mistakes I found was when the stewardess on the flight from

Washington, DC to JFK announced the flight would be departing from Reagan National in just a few minutes.  Afterwards the viewer is shifted to Air Traffic Control where they hear radio chatter stating the flight is ready to taxi for the departure from Dulles to JFK.  Note – Dulles and Reagan Nation are both located in Northern Virginia serving the Washington D.C. metro-plex; however, they are 29 miles apart from each other.

The second issue I found disappointing is when Special Agent Larry Moss (Jeffrey Nordling) informs Janis Gold (Janeane Garofalo) that three people had been shot dead at Gabriel Schecter’s flat.  The truth is that only two people had been shot dead at the flat by a sniper – Gabriel Schecter and his muscle in an earlier scene.

The last item occurred when the Northeast 3 Air Traffic Control was in communication with the FBI – Larry Moss was informing the Air Traffic Control about a possible hack by a home grown terrorist group into the FAA radar and communications.  Throughout these scenes, it was never mentioned who the actual terrorist is behind this attack.However, the audience had learned earlier that it was former CTU agent turned rouge — Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard).  As the excitement heightens when Tony impersonates a FAA controller to issue instructions to an unsuspecting flight, his radio transmission is captured by a FAA operator.  As the operator turns to his supervisor to inform him of his discovery of this false transmission from the terrorist, he exclaims that it is Almeida on the recording.  Up to this point, Tony’s identity has yet to be disclosed to either the FBI or the FAA.  How did this operator know who he was?  Hmmm…interesting.

These are just minor items that most of the public might not have picked up.  Having 15 months to tighten your script and the options to reshoot scenes, I would have expected these types of errors to be caught and corrected.  Isn’t that why proofreaders and editors are on staff?  Any way…

Even though I found these errors, they do not take away from another rousing season of the most adrenalin packed show on TV today.  I just hope these are the last of these types of errors for the course of “this” day in our nation’s capital.  Let’s hope Jack saves the day again…my money is on him.  He will come through no matter what!

24 airs each Monday night on Fox 9pm Eastern

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