24 Season 2 (Eps. 13-24)

Creators: Robert Cochran, Joel Surnow
2003
We rattled through the end of this series on a marathon Saturday evening,
where Jessica was so agitated by the end of episode 20 that she made me push on with the final four, ending somewhere around 4:30 in the a.m. It’s to 24’s credit that we remained awake up until the end, in a suspense-filled equivalent of a dinner-time espresso fix. Unable to go to sleep, too agitated.
Despite some of the more unbelievable twists and turns, I think the second season was better–it slowly built its tension along the way, whereas the first dipped in the middle, all the more remarkable with how it got away with some of the hoariest cliches of the thriller genre (how many people gave up (or didn’t) vital info just before snuffing it: “the man’s name is…is…urrrrgh!”)
What is most fascinating is how the writers and producers incorporated so much from post-9-11 America, then spun so much of it on its head. (Especially when Jack Bauer in essense becomes a suicide bomber to save the world, and while doing so engages in a cell phone convo that can’t help bring back the stories of the various victims on the four airliners). And President Palmer continues his role as the Bizarro President, acting shocked, shocked that an oil businessman would start a world war in order to increase his profits. (In the bonus materials, actor Dennis Haysbert interprets his role as a mix of Carter, Clinton and Colin Powell, and suggests his honorable and honest prez is a “suggestion of how it can be done.” Are you listening, Bush?
In this sense, 24 has caught up with the world and mirrors it, while Hollywood still appears to be lollygagging about, endlessly repeating the easy lies and simplistic morals of years past.
Season Three, which appears to be about biological warfare, may be equally unnerving. But I wonder, how long can they keep it up?

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