March 3, 2010

Five reasons why 24 is awful this year

1. President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is no David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) and worse, she's no Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin). Her character seems little more than a prop, neither great, nor evil... just blah.

2. The addition of Katee Sackhoff as Dana Walsh has been a terrible disappointment. Fresh off of Battlestar Galactica, the kiss-ass and take no prisoners Starbuck has turned into a weak and mousy CTU agent, afraid to stand up for herself against a bully ex-boyfriend, afraid to stand up and ask her fiance for help, afraid of having her past uncovered... just afraid of everything and perfectly willing to let the country she serves and her fiance fall because her own personal issues are more important to her.

3. The new head of CTU (Mykelti Williamson's Brian Hastings) is no Bill Buchanan (James Morrison). Like Dana Walsh (see 2), he's perfectly willing to let the country fall as long as it doesn't hurt him politically. Bill Buchanan understood his assets: what Chloe and Tony and Jack were capable of and how best to use them. He had contacts and could put the right people in place for an operation. He supported and trusted his agents (to a fault, to be sure). Brian Hastings doesn't know or trust his agents and within a few hours of crisis had no one capable to field for an op but the newly minted grandfather, Jack Bauer.

4. The wonderful Annie Wersching returns this year as agent Renee Walker. Instead of internalizing and coming to terms with her experiences from last year, where she had to resort to torture to obtain information to save the country, she has instead gone mad. Facing a tough assignment and in a tight spot, she flipped out and stabbed an asset 17 times and couldn't stop with the knife until she had also stabbed Jack. Where last year, like Starbuck, she was a woman to be reckoned with, a woman who could take you down with a leg sweep or an elbow punch, this year she's as broken and useless as Dana Walsh (see 2).

5. The plot, so far, is little different than any of the previous seasons. There have been no surprises other than characters letting the viewers down. I can understand plots where characters turn out to be double agents, but there's been none of that this year... it's all been weak characters, bowing to bullies except for the perennial good guys Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe (the always wonderful Mary Lynn Rajskub), who have gone from being super-capable, to now being super-powered.

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