Thursday, May 12, 2011
Soothing shot of Jack
Thanks to my iPad, I'm catching up on a lot of good TV that I missed over the years for various reasons (life's busy, you know?). Right now, for example, I'm using my iPad's Netflix app to watch one season after another of 24, the Kiefer Sutherland anti-terrorism drama that recently concluded after eight successful seasons on the Fox network. It's a good show, consistently delivering the flavor of the type of high-octane, fast-paced espionage thriller that we guys often like to read on the beach or by the pool every summer. This is especially true because each 24-episode season delivers one big 24-chapter story.
One thing I'm noticing, though, now that we're in the days following the happy destruction of Osama bin Laden, is that the prime fuel powering 24 seemed to be our country's anger and frustration at bin Laden's elusive nature in the years following 9/11. And we were probably more frustrated that we thought we were, as for eight years Americans made a huge hit out of a show that, like clockwork, conceived terrorist characters as bad or worse as bin Laden, which- not surprisingly- Sutherland's Jack Bauer character would locate and satisfyingly vanquish by the end of each season... with a few lesser terrorists being taken out as appetizers in the events leading up to each season's big close. Hey, if you can't have the real thing, fantasy is a good temporary substitute, right?
It got me thinking. Would 24 have been a successful if Osama bin Laden had been found and killed sometime during the immediate months following 9/11, and America was no longer quite so thirsty for vengeance and/or justice? Wasn't America's continuing head-banging frustration about this guy running around free a big part of the reason so many of us tuned in to watch fictional bin Laden stand-ins get blown away on 24 year after year?
Heck, I'm still enjoying watching terrorists bite the dust on 24, more than a week after our Navy SEALS gave America some closure for 9/11. Imagine how satisfying those same 24 episodes felt in 2003, 2004, etc., when they originally aired?