Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Things That Have Occurred To Us While Watching Season Five of 24 (1)

We're currently going through season five of 24, a show that simultaneously horrifies and thrills us. The pro-torture nonsense, dodgy politics, absurd plotting, flat dialogue, rarely adhered to real-time ground rules, etc. etc. etc. It's all hard to defend on both political and quality grounds (especially when we rail against CSI: Miami), but when it's on, it is totally on, justifying any amount of crap with total thrill delivery. Just as we have been told over and over again, season five is the best season yet, featuring some of the most entertaining action I've seen in a TV show, and though season six is supposed to be terrible, this has so far been good enough to carry us through another four seasons. The momentum, the berserk action, the sheer devil-may-care craziness of the whole thing, has been thrilling enough to forgive a multitude of sins. That said, I've been noticing a few things as it has been progressing, and I'll be coming back here to reveal them over the next couple of weeks as we barrel through the season. First things first, though. I have to get the most important thing out of the way right now. Forgive me for being blunt, but...

1. I will tolerate any amount of narrative contrivance if it brings back Tony Almeida.

I am incandescent with rage over the death of 24's secret weapon, Tony Almeida, who is basically what Jack Bauer would be like if he wasn't a psychopath. Consumed with anguish over the death of his wife Michelle in an explosion that actually had no purpose within the plot and never got adequately explained (like so much in this show), Tony is taken to CTU HQ instead of hospital (because of Reason X), regains consciousness very quickly (considering he has been blown up and heavily singed), and tries to kill Christopher Henderson, assassin, scumbag, and former cyborg law enforcer.

Of course, at the last second his conscience gets in the way (because it's Tony), which is something that would never happen to Jack; the only reason he ever stops himself from killing someone is because they have information that will save hundreds ::pant:: of thousands ::pant:: of lives, dammit! Hell, he even got his daughter and the President's brother to kill people while he wasn't around. His psychotic nature is too big for his formidable macho shell to hold, and it has to spill out onto other people from time to time.

Of course, Tony deciding against killing Henderson backfires, and he is stabbed in the chest with a syringe full of fictional drugs. He dies in Jack's arms, his friend sobbing over him even as I tried to hold back the tears and the horror myself. Of course, I knew all about it, having been spoiled well in advance, but still, I thought we'd get a bit more Tony action before that happened. It sucked, and I know that I wasn't the only one to be affected by Tony's tragic, senseless death, and definitely not the only person to think Tony is the shit. (Check out Brian Hall's impersonation in those two 24 spoofs. It's an uncanny approximation of the great man.) That said, there are some who contribute to this blog who are not fans of Tony. I'll let them announce themselves at some point.

Of course, 24 barely plays by the rules of reality, and so last year producer Howard Gordon, knowing full well that fans loved him, announced that everyone's favourite soppy hardass was coming back. However, it's no time to rejoice. I'm as worried as I can be about a fictional character who gets seriously injured whenever there is a terrorist strike in the US (broken ankle, shot in the neck, shot in the back, blown up, injected with deadly fictional drugs, run over by a garbage truck, fired out of a cannon into a wall, cut in half with a laser, etc.). This time, the writers have gone after his soul. This time, he's the bad guy.

How can this be? Until now Tony has been so damn heroic he practically poops Excaliburs out of his toned butt, though I guess seeing his wife die a few hours before getting jabbed in the chest with a syringe by the guy who killed her would make anyone a bit miffed, but going all the way around to being evil? It's David Mamet all over again. And yet, it'll be good to have the guy back even if he has bombs or gas or diseases at his beck and call. I don't care what they do to get him back. Jack's tears could be pure magic juice for all I care. He could have been injected with Mutant Growth Hormone by mistake. Exposure to radiation from the season two nuclear blast could have made him prone to hibernation every so often, coming back stronger than ever. Fuck it, make him bionical, like this.

Just hurry up and get this thing going so we can see the man back in action! Dammit!


Canyon said...

Tony sucks.

johnilf said...

I tell you what, Admiral. That's the most awesome bloggy post thingy ever... i love it!!! very funny as well. There is a fine line between patriotism and psychosis though...discuss.

I can live on 24 blogs and posts for the rest of my natural life!Bring it on!

go 24 go!

oh and...


Jaredan said...

Tony delivered one of the very few dual-double air-punch moments in the history of TV viewing in Season One.
He is far too awesome to die in the abominably weak way he supposedly did.
Bring back Tony.