Category Archives: 24

I’m Just Not That Into You: Addressing 24 Season 7

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“I’m Just Not That Into You”

Addressing 24 Season 7

On a quiet sunday evening, with television in repeats and still recovering from a bout with strep throat, I did what I’ve been putting off for two weeks: I sat down and watched the first five episodes of 24’s seventh season.

I had considered not bothering, you know. Part of me thought that, like with its timeslot competitor Heroes, it might be better left alone. But there is a part of me that was still curious, still wondering what the show considered a reasonable reboot from a disastrous sixth season. And so I decided to spend some time with Jack Bauer as he fight yet another threat in what is likely to be the show’s penultimate season.

I had thought there would be two likely outcomes. First, I could actually really get hooked on the show, going back to my old routine and that I’d currently be watching the sixth episode as opposed to writing this reaction piece. Second, I could be even more opposed to the show than I was before, and retreat back into the bitter cynicism with which I have approached my more recent criticism of the series.

Surprisingly, at least to me, I had neither reaction: I do not feel that the seventh season is without merit, nor does it lack a certain awareness of the show’s recent string of problems. Instead, it addressed some major concerns while providing a 24 that is very back to basics, zombie Tony or no zombie Tony. But at the same time, I don’t care about it. I can’t muster any enthusiasm of any sort, positive or negative, a sign that my tuning out towards the end of season six was driven not only by the show’s quality but by my own changing tastes and interests.

I’m just not that into 24 anymore, I guess…but let’s take a look at the seventh season anyways.

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Why I’m watching the Golden Globes instead of 24

globesFrom the title alone, this seems like it’s going to be one of my usual long-winded essays on the situation at hand, lengthy paragraphs on the sheer entertainment value of drunk Jack Nicholson heckling acceptance speeches and detailed analysis of my frustrations with season six of 24.

But when it comes to these two particular pieces of television programming, I have no powerful feelings in either direction: I do not despise 24, I do not love the Golden Globes, and yet I am deciding to watch the former.

The reason is really quite simple: the Golden Globes is capable of surprising me and I don’t really feel as if 24 is able to do the same. The Golden Globes, should the various awards go in directions surprising and different from expectations, have the chance to change the ongoing Oscar race, while 24 is unlikely to head in any direction that we would consider surprising (perhaps if they hadn’t spoiled their own “Yes, we’re desperate enough to resurrect a dead character,” this might be different).

I’m actually, by comparison, excited for the Golden Globes – I’ve obviously seen Slumdog Millionaire, so I’m rooting for it in its major categories, but there are some other big questions at stake especially in terms of acting momentum (where only really Supporting Actor (Ledger) is looking secure). Plus, with no musicals or comedies in contention for the eventual Oscar for Best Picture, it will be intriguing to see where the Globes go in terms of Musical/Comedy picture. And this is only on the cinema side, where my interest clearly doesn’t always lie: the television nominees weren’t that impressive, but I am nonetheless curious to see what hilarious impression of the current television landscape the HFPA comes up with.

24season7I have every intention on watching the seventh season of 24, but my priorities are for the things I know I will enjoy and that I know have some potential to be surprising. So tonight, I’ll be liveblogging the Golden Globes, and tomorrow night I will be watching How I Met Your Mother. If the seventh season gets off to as good a start as some of the reviews indicate, then that’s wonderful: I’ll be able to catch up later in the week when I’m not busy rewatching Battlestar Galactica Season 4.0 in order to prepare for Friday’s premiere.

However, if 24 is higher on your TV viewing hierarchy than it is on mine, I simply hope that it does not disappoint: I may be heading into this season with a fairly critical view of the show’s potential, but I would never begrudge anyone their enjoyment of what remains to an extent a well-produced piece of television with a solid central performance.

Season 7 of 24 begins its two-night, four hour premiere tonight, Sunday January 11th, on FOX (and Global, in Canada) at 8/7c, continuing at the same time tomorrow; the Golden Globes, meanwhile, start at 8/7c (with a red carpet special airing the hour before) on NBC (CTV).

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Trying to Care About the Production Troubles of 24

When I first started this blog, 24 was starting its sixth season, and I started posts comparing the show with freshman sensation Heroes. How funny is it, then, that here a year and a half later I really have no emotional attachment to either show, not even really blinking an eye at the most recent news that production on the 7th season of 24 has shut down due to unforeseen creative difficulties.

To start with, for the seventh season itself this isn’t exactly bad news: they’re not going to get behind (considering that they already have 18 episodes filmed and aren’t starting until January), and perhaps the break might improve the end stretch, something that was probably necessary last season with the least memorable 24 conclusion yet. But I think that, like any announcement about 24 these days, it raises to the surface the big question: why is this now two productions stoppages in two years, and what exactly is wrong with this series that is quickly fading from the pop cultural radar?

The answer can be found in one thing: expectation.

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An Act of Desperation: 24 and the Resurrection of Tony Almeida

Normally, I would be remiss to place an unmarked spoiler directly within my thread title; I count myself amongst those who universally despise spoilers, and would love to attempt to keep this a secret. However, the producers of 24 and FOX don’t want to keep a secret: they want the whole world to know that they’re bringing beloved Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard, pictured with still dead Michelle) back from near-certain death for the show’s seventh season in January.

Although one could certainly make an argument that this resurrection (Which opens up more plot holes than I’d care to imagine) signifies the moment at which 24 jumped the proverbial shark, I would contend that this is nothing compared to the larger problem: a show built on surprising its audience, 24 has taken a potentially shocking revelation and turned it into a talking point.

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The 2007 Emmy Awards Nominations: Lost Snubbed, Sopranos Praised

After months of coverage and more than a little bit of analysis, it is has finally come down to this: this morning, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have officially announced their nominations for what their voters believed to be the best in television over the past year. Are they right on the money, or are they off the mark once again?

The Big Stories

– Lost and Friday Night Lights snubbed, although Lost dominates in Supporting Actor with Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson! Woo!

– The Sopranos leads with 15 nominations.

– Battlestar Galactica and Lost each garnered writing and directing nods on the Drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office dominated the categories in terms of Comedy series.

– There’s a lot of snubs all over the place, I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, but Michael C. Hall is the worst one. Yes, worse than Lost.

– Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer break through as supporting contenders for The Office, which garnered a whole lot of nominations once you factor in writing and directing.

And the Nominees Are…

Oustanding Drama Series

The Sopranos

Heroes

Boston Legal

Grey’s Anatomy

House

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Entourage

Two and a Half Men

30 Rock

Ugly Betty

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Cultural Learnings’ 2007 Emmy Nominations: Final Predictions

Tomorrow morning at 5:35am PDT, the nominations for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced. I will now put myself out there on a limb with my own predictions of whose names will be called. I’ll have all the final nomination information as soon as it breaks, as long as my plan to be online at that point in time works out. I will literally stop working to do this for you, remember that.

NOTE: Some of these predictions have changed thanks to the leaked Top 10 lists. Most have not.

Oustanding Drama Series

Lost

I think it’s the best show on television, and I think that its season was certainly worthy of an Emmy nomination. The show is unmatched on network television in terms of writing, production and performances.

Grey’s Anatomy

It’s season was uneven, but its popular support and wide-range of acting talents will be too hard for the ATAS to ignore.

The Sopranos

The show’s final season kept the buzz level high, and the finale basically clinched it: no one will be forgetting The Sopranos this year.

House

It’s the second biggest drama on television, and people just seem to love the show to death. I think that it is a show that has proven itself worthy in the past, unlike Heroes which still hasn’t won that level of respect.

Friday Night Lights

Admittedly, this is a sentimental choice. However, I can’t not believe that Emmy voters will find the heart of this series too endearing to pass up. With Kyle Chandler making the Drama Actor Top 10, I think the show has a shot.

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Last year’s winner had another strong and buzz-worthy season. It was a bit of a dark horse last year, but this time around it’s absolutely a front-runner…but in a category full of them.

Ugly Betty

One-hour comedies have a distinct advantage over half-hour ones, but even ignoring that Ugly Betty was a charming series that features some great performances. With Becki Newton and Vanessa Williams making the Top 10, I also think this show is a shoe-in.

30 Rock

The other new show to make this list, 30 Rock is a show made for the Emmys: prestigious talent (Fey, Baldwin, Krakowski), relevant and relatable theme (Show about a show), and it’s incredibly liberal. Plus, it’s kind of also the best new comedy of the year. Just sayin’.

Two and a Half Men

The only traditional sitcom left in the Emmy race, I think that voters will trend towards it like the sheep they are. That being said, the show is not the worst sitcom ever: it’s just similar to them in every way.

Entourage

While Scrubs did have the musical episode, I think that Entourage is the closest the category has to a hip show that hasn’t quite gotten its due. 30 Rock is actually quite safe, The Office is now almost too popular, so it’s Entourage that best fits the bill. With Kevin Dillon breaking the Top 10 for Supporting Actor, the show has a shot.

Extra Prediction:

The Sopranos will garner the most nominations on the drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office will fight it out for the most comedy nominations with Ugly Betty not far behind.

The rest of the nominations can be found below, with full explanations found here (Drama) and here (Comedy).

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’24’ is Out of Africa and Out of Ideas

Yesterday, Michael Ausiello broke some news, or gossip more specifically, about 24‘s 7th season. You know, the one that was supposed to shake everything up and totally reinvigorate the series after a rather awful sixth season? Well, it turns out that FOX decided that producers went a little bit too far this time around: they wanted to go to Africa. And, well…

According to sources, the 11th-hour time-out was called after the network put the kibosh on a costly plan to shoot a number of episodes in Africa. Producers briefly toyed with the idea of finding a location in Los Angeles that could sub for the continent, but they ultimately decided to ditch the whole concept and start over from scratch.

That’s right folks: start over from scratch. Mary Lynn Raksjub (Chloe), who will be back this season, notes that this delay was unexpected and will certainly set things back a bit. However, more importantly, I think it highlights the real problem that 24 has right now.

They’re damned if they do, and they’re damned if they don’t.

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