Opinions Vary: My Television Predicament

The Golden Age of TV.

Rejoice, my friends! We are living in a golden age of television, when viewers have more and better options than ever before. There’s something for everyone, and that something is oftentimes quite impressive. In particular, dramatic narratives have become a go-to form for fans of creative story arcs and complex characters, presenting a more wide-ranging, novelistic approach to visual storytelling than even what most commercial films currently offer. And a pulp paragon of this form is Breaking Bad. It’s so defining, in fact, that some contemplate that it may be seen as this age’s end someday. But let’s be more optimistic than that. There is still a lot of quality TV-watching to be done and now that Breaking Bad has come to an end and fans of the show, myself included, start to turn to other shows, to find quality entertainment somewhere else, I think it’s a good time to explicate my strangely hesitant relationship with narrative television.

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JACK BAUER AND ’24’ RETURNING TO FOX. Torture Porn Addicts Moan.


I didn’t see this coming. It looks like everyone’s favorite utilitarian torture export and post 9/11 wunder-hero is returning to television. Kiefer Sutherland will be dusting off the heavy artillery and reprising his role as Jack Bauer next year, as 24 returns for a twelve-episode journey.

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Kiefer Sutherland Talks ’24’ Movie, Says Its Direct Continuation.

I wasn’t even aware that the 24 movie was officially happening. Like, I thought of it as one of those bandied about ideas that would never gain traction. I’m wrong! It’s happening, and Kiefer Sutherland opened up about some of the movie specifics.

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Holy Terror! Incendiary. Offensive. Gorgeous.

For the better part of a decade, the comics world has been keeping its eyes on Frank Miller’s Holy Terror.   Fans and pundits alike have relentlessly debated the project, needing not even a full page’s glimpse to form an opinion. Which, I suppose, was necessary, seeing as Miller played the hand so close to his chest that news was released only in infrequent snippets.

Occasional whispers of plot. Breathy sighs of editorial tumult. Stifled chuckles of creative insanity.

Lest we not forget that at one time Holy Terror was titled Holy Terror, Batman! The premise was simple: Batman and Catwoman are caught in the midst of a terrorist attack (ala 9/11) and then take it upon themselves to strike back against Al Qaeda. Depending on whose doing the `splaining, Miller’s intention was either to pay homage to classic WWII propaganda comics or simply to vent his anti-Muslim vitriol via the medium he’s helped redefine on multiple occasions.

Of course, DC Comics ain’t in the business of losing business, so Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle were never given the green light to hunt terrorists. Instead, Miller tells his story by employing The Fixer and the Cat Burglar, analogs probably just different enough to give some peace of mind to the legal department at Legendary Comics (publisher of Holy Terror). So again, it’s The Fixer and Cat Burglar that seek assistance of Dan Donegal (who’s totally  not Jim Gordon) to seek revenge.

You might think that Frank Miller prefers using The Fixer so that the Batman purists aren’t offended. But you’d be wrong – dead wrong. In fact, the man’s even said that he hopes this book pisses people off.

Well, yesterday finally saw the release of Holy Terror and I’ve had given it a couple of read-throughs. Now, it’s time to sift through ten years worth of questions posed by both advocates and detractors, to figure out how the story stacks up. Does it trivialize world-issues by painting them in black-and-white terms and solving them with superheroics? Is it artful? Has Frank Miller gone off the deep end? Is it entertaining? Does it fall short of the expectations? Is it worth purchasing?

The answer, to all of the above, is a resounding yes.

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THIS WEEK ON 24: 10:00 – 11:00 PM

Cheer Up, I'll Find You Someone Else to Stab

Jack’s a pretty understanding guy. For instance, before he dropped the ball and was totally the cause of his wife’s death, he used to make her pancakes. And then this week, he proved to be a genuine Sir Lancelot. At the end of the episode, he was totally okay with consoling a crazy chick who when she isn’t mauling Russian rapists and attempting suicide , apparently likes to stab him.

Jack, you fucking Romeo.

Ohhhh Starbuck

When Dana Walsh is walking through CTU in her slinky dress, everything is right with the world. No, seriously. When she was on the screen this episode, for but a moment, I remembered why I loved her so much. Why they don’t have her running around with a gun, or at the very least, not dealing with an ex-con boyfriend is beyond me. But no such luck, she’s involved with helping some guy she should have turned in a couple of hours ago with some bank heist, which goes understandably poorly.

This entire subplot is written so predictably, you can actually just walk away from the screen while it’s going on. Go take a shit and make a sandwich. Then wait for that sandwich to digest, and shit that out. You’ll still be waiting for the Goofy Band of Yokels and Starbuck to get off the screen.

Of course they fuck everything up, probably because they were mesmerized by indoor lighting which they don’t have in their shacks in Alabama or something.

Emo Glasses?

The President of That Made Up Country continues fucking things up for his people the entire episode. The guy is a complete douchebag. He goes from being someone you hope Freddie Prince Jr. can save to someone you actively campaign to get shot. He’s just running around having people taken in for questioning and not being given any rights. In fact, he has his Security Detective Guy taken in for questioning, just because the dude was all “Hey, you shouldn’t be doing this, these aren’t the principals I agreed to when I voted for you or something.”

And then he patted Security Guy on the head and told him he was cute for thinking political figures actually had principals.

Meanwhile President Taylor is all “Hey, you can’t just interrogate everyone without due process! Only we do that!”

An what the fuck is up with President The Guy From Slumdog Millionaire’s glasses? Is he secretly a hipster? Is he twittering something and trying to order some tight jeans? I’m confused. At least Jack took off his glasses, those things were distracting.


Ah fuck, never mind.


I actually resent how awesome the last four minutes or so of the episode were. Yeah man, they were fucking out of control. After three episodes of having Vladimir dry-hump her, storm in on her improbable showers, and ask her to cut bread – what the fuck – Renee finally stabs the living shit out of him. And how! I mean, holy shit. Listen chick, take it from someone who takes it, you need some Lamictal. Your mood swings are making me look stable, and that’s no small feat.

I hadn’t been shocked by something that happened on 24 in a long time, but the fact that she stabbed poor Vlad in the eyeball and then used him as a pin cushion had me aghast. And then she stabbed Jack! Holy Jesus Christ! Now this is what I’m talking about.

Stab wounds ain't got shit on me!

Thankfully it was only Jack Bauer she stabbed, and not a mere mortal. If she had stabbed me, I would have been rolling around on the ground screaming “My fucking guts! My insides! Are they still inside!? Do I look like Mel Gibson in Braveheart! Ow, oh shit! Just ’cause you got crazy ass titties don’t mean you can stab me!”

Jack though? Naw, he wasn’t even sweating it.

Though they’ve only gone into it in fanfiction, it’s well known that Jack Bauer was trained by an army of chimpanzee ninja assassins in his early teenage years. Henceforth, his precision aim and dexterity are unbelievable, which is why he was able to pull that dang knife out of his belly and throw it into the throat of Vlad’s crony without blinking. It was god damn impressive. As for the wound itself? Don’t even mean a thang. Bauer kicked a heroin addiction in season three, and self-resurrected after being tasered to death in season two. I guarantee by the end of the next episode, his stomach is actually stronger than it was previously.

Also little known fact? Jack Bauer’s dad was Wolverine. Healing factor like woah.

Here’s hoping Bauer gets to put the stink down on some more Russian stormtroopers next episode, while Renee does god knows what. She’s probably going to stab Bubba Gump Hastings back at CTU and try and hang herself with Chloe’s phone cord. I approve.

INFO DUMP: Thirteen Year Olds Hired to Pen 24 Movie; Nicholas Cage Is A Genius

Bauer Time

THIS WEEK ON 24: 9:00 – 10:00 PM


This week’s 24 answered the question: how do you pass yourself off as a German who wants to buy nuclear materials? You wear a pair of four-dollar glasses from the local Big Party and you smoke a cigarette. Seriously, what the fuck is going on with this show? It’s a clusterfuck of awful storylines and non-action. There should be a drinking game where you have a shot every time a line of dialogue makes you laugh, and two shots every time you’re bored to the point of yawning. You’d be covered in your own bile and dead by the midway point.


Renee doesn’t get killed despite the fact that she’s cutting herself and begging for death. Instead, she’s brought to some dungeon where Vlad the Impaler is stationed. Vlad asks Jack for fifty-zillion dollars in exchange for information, which I thought was a shocking fuckload. But what was even more amazing, was how he was instantly able to get the money for Vlad.

Then, inexplicably, Renee is coming out of a shower in the dungeon. Let me ask you something: WHY THE FUCK WAS SHE SHOWERING?! There’s absolutely no reason for her to have been showering, other than to set up the scene where Leoben from Battlestar Galactica demands that she gives it up to her. They wrote in a scene where she’s coming out of a shower, just to give us a scene where she can be molested. That’s dedication towards being molested.

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But that’s a running theme this episode.

High five!

But that’s okay, because we’re also treated to Dana Walsh’s storyline. Which no one gives a fuck about! If you thought her yokel ex-con ex-boyfriend (say that three times fast) asking her for a “Six-figure payout” was awkward and hilarious, the high-five between him and his b-boy when she has a deal for them was even more amazing. Nothing on this show makes any sense. Why doesn’t she just tell her ex to go fuck himself? Instead she’s going to settle for participating in a robbery.

I’m impressed at how quickly she can find a con for them to pull off. It only took her ten minutes in the middle of an international crisis or some shit.

Also doesn’t make sense? Her ex-boyfriend’s gang member bringing a shotgun to the warehouse where the money is stored. Dana specifically mentions that there will be no one there and they won’t be noticed. This is as remarkable as the purposeless shower scene, because it also makes no sense is only written into the episode to create tension further down the road.

Where are you?!

Meanwhile, Jack is absolutely no where to be found. This is still his show, right? Because he’s never on it. It’s like those seasons of X-Files without Duchovny or Anderson. What the fuck is going on?! Where is he?!


That’s okay though, because we’re treated to enjoying the shitty Russian Mafia Dad’s storyline with his kids. Which, like the rest of the episode, makes no sense whatsoever. The Russian Mafia Dad orders his two sons to be retrieved from some cancer clinic place, where one of the kids was being saved from his poisonous uranium exposure. How, you ask?

Simple! Well, at first the treatment was going to have to be a complete bone marrow transplant. But then, somehow, the doctor realizes that there was just some pill he could take that would fix him in seven to ten days. He goes from dying, to needing a bone marrow transplant, to taking some sort of pill.

What the fuck?

Then the Russian Mafia Dad brings them back to their Russian bar or whatever it is, and yells at Sark from Alias because he was trying to save his brother’s life. “Don’t you think I care about him?!” And then he shoots his son! The one he cares about! Uh, what? First he gives no good reason for bringing them back from the Cancer Clinic, other than it jeopardized the mission or something. But he was cool with killing everyone in the clinic.

Please, someone save me.

Then he pimp slaps his son, and embraces him. This dude is loco.

Bad Asses Smoke (And die of cancer)

Finally Jack makes the deal with the Russian Rapist Guy, and of course they try and double-cross him. The guy from She’s All That saves Jack’s ass by sniping the show’s equivalent of Stormtroopers, and Jack says a few cool lines. All of it returning me to my initial point which is: PUT JACK ON THE FUCKING SHOW.

24 is awful and hilarious when Jack’s on the screen, but it is enjoyable. I’ll take implausible action scenes, action movie dialogue, and Jack being a thug. It works, it’s awesome. It’s slop, but it is entertaining. When he is on the screen, I’m entertained. Why he’s only on four minutes of an hour of his show is beyond me, but it is driving me towards Hulkian-rage.

THIS WEEK ON 24: 8:00 – 9:00 PM


Renee thinks she’s all edgy because she just cut off some dude’s thumb last episode, but I don’t think she’s very bad ass. I used to like her more when she was a red hot and her thunderous cleavage carried every scene. But now that she’s emo and she listens to H.I.M, I’m not really feeling her.

It’s five episodes in, and the plot is already incomprehensible. Renee and Zia or whatever the fuck the guy’s name are going to meet with some guy to pretend they have some sort of deal. And this guy Vladimir, is who exactly? I have no idea. Vladimir though, that’s an original name. What next, they going to show some Russian dude pounding vodka?

Swig that shit, you stereotype!

Oh, there we go! Operation: Stereotype is complete!

My girlfriend told me that she thought the bleeding, drunken, thumbless Russian who Renee alludes to banging underage chicks is cute in a dumb goofy sort of way, which explains a lot about why she is attracted to me.

So the two of them are going to Vladimir, the guy, to get something. And whacky thumbless guy makes references towards Vlad doing icky things to Renee in their past or something. Jack looks on brooding and upset. I’m not really sure why though? And you know what’s the source of my confusion?

The fact that every fucking season, there’s a different cast of characters, and there’s absolutely no time to build a rapport with any of them. I don’t give a fuck about Renee.


Oh shit, Jack has a fucking iPad?!


And speaking of characters I don’t give a fuck about, there’s Dana Walsh. Dana Walsh is played by Katee Sackhoff, who dazzled my pants as Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica. Sadly, every time she’s on the screen on 24, I want to kill myself.

Somehow the writers think that the viewer gives a shit about the plight of some new character we’ve just been introduced to. How are we supposed to care about the past of a virgin character, exactly? I want to see Jack shooting people and being gruff! Instead, we’re treated to dozens of seconds which feel like hundreds of hours watching her arguing with her yokel ex-boyfriend. I cannot fathom how anyone in the writers’ meeting thought this was entertaining.

So Starbuck, I mean Dana Walsh, fled her hometown to reinvent herself, and her hick boyfriend found her even though she changed her name. And somehow, she’s supposed to exploit data streams, or something, to get him a “six figure payout”…What the fuck does that even mean? Is this the plot to Superman III?

Why doesn’t she just tell her supercop fiance that her ex-boyfriend is back and acting like an asshole? It seems so obvious. I tried to fly this by my girlfriend and she was all “Oh, like you wouldn’t be upset if I had hidden an entire life from you?” and then I didn’t respond to her valid point.

I’m just saying, if it was between that and being exploited by Cleetus, I’d opt for the former.

Pew pew

All of the subplots suck, which is the problem, well, every god damn season. I don’t care about Dana Walsh, ex-hick, except to poke fun at my significant other who grew up riding a cow to school. I don’t care about President Slumdog Millionaire and his shitty made-up country, and I don’t care about sympathetic Russian terrorist whose brother is dying of uranium poisoning.

Show. Jack. Shooting. People.


And then of course the last ten minutes or so are really tense and enjoyable. Of course. There’s always just enough awesomeness to keep me watching. Because I will always be a glutton for gunshots and car chases. As Jack tries to save Renee, she tells Leoben from Battlestar that she doesn’t care if she lives or not. Seriously, someone has got to take the Deathcab for Cutie away from her and crunch a Prozac into her alcohol of choice. She drops a single tear, and we all wept for her plight.

Thanksfully, Vlad knows a quality set of rib bangers when he seems them, and he lets her live. So they can go do something, to someone, to arrange a buy for something, or the such, which will lead to some sort of information. I think. Who cares. Ideally, it will lead to Jack shooting Vladimir in the head with a shotgun while falling out of a helicopter.

Next Week, 24 Brings Jack Bauer Shooting People and Starbuck Pursing Lips

The Man of Steel

24 kicks off again a week from today. And unlike LOST, which I enjoy because it is bizarre, thought provoking, and mind-bending, I enjoy 24 because it is predictable slop. There was a point where I gave a fuck about 24, and took it seriously. Probably for two more seasons than it deserved. But now I tune in just to see Jack Bauer say shit in a gruff voice, have people beg him to save the day, and then watch him begrudgingly come back and kill four-thousand people.

The last couple of seasons I’ve gave up midway, since they seem to rocket their load off our faces like eight episode in. Question: How do you top an invasion of the White House? You can’t. Why they’d have that happen in the middle of a season is beyond me. Or a nuclear detonation. So I get bored, and then I give up on it, and then enough time passes where I forget how bored I was with the show, and I tune in again. And here I am again.

Starbuck, I <3 You

I have a special incentive this season. Katee Sackhoff, who played Starbuck on BSG is totally joining the CTU gang. It is a cheap ploy, guaranteed to get people like me watching. I mean look at the promo pic; they’re so very Kara Thrace. Pursed lips? Check. Viper Pilot-esque clothing? Check. If I see Starbuck and The Guy from Lost Boys mowing down a bunch of people at the same time, I’m going to rupture the Earth with my fangirl scream.