Dorothy Rabinowitz admires 24 in today’s Wall Street Journal Weekend section, an admiration she acquired at least partly by doing what apparently many of the show’s fans have done at some point: view whole seasons via DVD over a few days. The show encourages such addictive watching, as its plot structure relies on cliff hanger endings to nearly every episode. I’d concur with her judgment that the show’s 4th season was its best, and that the just completed 5th season left more than a little to be desired:
“As it turned out, the show’s writers, who had had no problem, earlier, creating entirely believable American leaders, models of honor and decency – take that heroic specimen, President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) – seem to have fallen on hard times in Season Five.”
Indeed, the show suddenly fell back on that all-too-familiar staple of Hollywood films, the concept of corruption and evil at the very core of the institutions supposedly worth defending. Add to that this season’s absurd plot and seeming determination to avoid terrorist villains of any Islamic affiliation, plus the normal wear and tear on plausibility and novelty of shows of this kind, and the decline is well under way. But don’t tell Fox, which has renewed it for three more seasons, or the Emmys, which has given the recent ridiculous season a slew of nominations.