So on a recent outing to Target, I was surprised to see the first season of 24 on sale for thirteen bucks. I was a huge fan of the show when it first came out and have been wanting to go back to get this set despite the series going way off the deep end in the subsequent seasons. Thirteen dollars is about as good a deal as you are going to find on a six disc season set, so I snatched it up. Thus far, we've made it through the first two episodes and it has lived up to my memories. While there are instances of truly horrible forced exposition (Tony, we get it, you're fucking Nina and you're jealous that Jack fucked Nina, too), most of the writing feels pretty solid. It's got that Tom Clancy thriller kind of feel that I can never bring myself to read but usually love to watch. I have no plans to come back here and do a play by play of each episode, but the first two episodes reveal a couple of points I felt were worth mentioning that I know carry on throughout the season.
The first thing is the technology. Did anyone ever feel like you were watching an episode of the 1960s Batman series when they watched this show? I mean, seriously, I think Apple was inspired by 24 when they started designing the iphone. No matter what problem arises in the world of 24, you can bet your ass that "there's an app for that". The mobile scanner in the second episode kills me. "Switch from optical to magnetic." Wait, what? I can't pull out specific examples for the rest of the season, but I know they exist. If any really good ones crop up, I'll probably drop a post in.
The second thing I noticed is that CTU is probably the most disorganized bag of shit I've ever seen. Jack gives an order, no matter who he gives it to, and is greeted with questions and insubordination. What kind of shit is that? I don't even work for the government, but if my boss tells me to do something, I do not make him explain why. I do my job and move on. On a day when they think a presidential candidate is going to be assassinated, you can bet your ass that there will be no tolerance for little whiny shits. Not on 24, though. Jack spends far too much time explaining himself to his subordinates for my tastes. I understand it was a way to build up various red herrings over the course of a season, but I would have loved to have seen Jack bust Tony in the face and tell him to shut the fuck up. Just once.
Truth be told, though, 24 never excelled at storytelling. It excelled at delivering hollywood level action set pieces rife with tension and excellent gunplay. On that level, the first season seems to still hold up and from what I recall, the over-reliance on convoluted storytelling is what sunk the later seasons for me. This is especially true of the second season, which is some of the worst TV I have ever had to sit through. I will close with this, though; Mia Kirshner is fucking awesome in her small role at the beginning of the season. Hot, deadly and bad ass.