I realize you probably love this new golden era of television broadcasting; everyone does. I don’t like TV*, yet everyone keeps telling me how great it is. People urged me to watch THE SOPRANOS. It was great — GREAT — for getting a macho, tough guy audience to look at a macho, tough guy going …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - 24

24

I realize you probably love this new golden era of television broadcasting; everyone does.

I don’t like TV*, yet everyone keeps telling me how great it is. People urged me to watch THE SOPRANOS. It was great — GREAT — for getting a macho, tough guy audience to look at a macho, tough guy going thru psychotherapy, and I sincerely applaud that. I realize I’m a snob, however more happens in any given 45 minutes of THE GODFATHER than happened in all of Season One of THE SOPRANOS. I gave it a fair shot; I recognized the terrific acting and the sense of fun the show exhibited, and I have absolutely no bone to pick with anyone who enjoys this show. I’d rather have invested the time in reading WAR & PEACE, having enjoyed ANNA KARENINA so much. When people call these series the new “high art”, I take them at their word, yet having tried out THE SOPRANOS, and seasons one of BREAKING BAD and DEXTER (which was tremendously enjoyable!) and DEADWOOD (also very enjoyable!) over the past few winters, I’ve come away with a renewed interest in reading.

I’ve complained to Jamie Nash about my dissatisfaction with these shows, which often as not seem to me to be going around and around in circles. He’s often recommended 24 to me, and I respect Jamie quite a bit.

(Jamie has an uncanny, supernatural ability to watch EVERY SINGLE TV SHOW ON THE AIR while productively writing, which I can never stop being amazed by. How does he do it? He writes more than anyone I know, and he knows every show there is, and can discuss any show with any producer, in any meeting. Incredible.)

Okay, so — I loved 24. I’m stopping after Season 1, which I watched laid up with a busted knee and influenza. But that season was great fun and really impressive. Jamie really knew what I was seeking in a TV show — a story that led me to places, that built on itself, and developed itself and delivered.

It sucked me in; I always have thought it would be an incredible experience to make/watch a TV series set in real time over a season; 24 is it! Halfway thru, I dubiously eyed up the remaining 12 hours. What was possibly going to happen next after Gaines had been taken down and Terri and Kim rescued??? They made it happen! With only 2 hours remaining, I wondered how they were possibly going to tie this all up before midnight. They did!

Sure, it’s a little soap opera-ish (dissociative amnesia!), but it was all fun and so, so well plotted that I went along with all of it.

The one single gripe I could make about it was the portrayal of the women: basketcase Terri, impatient Kim, selfish no-good Jayme, corporate-fascist Alberta Green, and the duplicitous, scheming Sherry Palmer. The one single character who weakened that sentiment was the reliable and sturdy Nena Myers, who, in fact, is the final villain! It strained my credulity somewhat that Terri and Kim would make such trouble for themselves, and that Sherry would be such an incredibly unsupportive, Machiavellian wife, while Jack, Tony, David, and even in his own way George Mason were all bastions of excellence. Still, to be fair to the creative team, Terri did have moments of great strength and resourcefulness interspersed around her moments of victimhood and basketcase-ry, and Nena Myers was absolutely a terrific character, both as ally and villain — a great part for an actor to undertake. And regardless of those portrayals, there’s no getting around their portrayal of a deeply principled black man standing for President. Coming this late into the game, it was of course remarkable to see a pre-2008 narrative that so closely paralleled the same, “Is this country ready???,” debate about an African-American presidential candidate. Hats off to a very progressive and influential show that made a lot of people think about black candidates in a new way; job well done.

I loved this show; Jack Bauer is the coolest cat in town. I’m sure I’m late to the game of noticing the naming similarity between him, James Bond, and Jason Bourne. Fascinating.

*I liked the first season of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT quite a lot, I enjoy ARCHER with friends, and I really, really dug the first two seasons of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. And of course, I am a big fan of THE PRISONER, STAR TREK, and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, as well as much of BABYLON-5, when it wasn’t being tortured by executive meddling.