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binge enabler

    ego:
    What are your big plans for the weekend?

    self:
    Oh, that was such a loaded question. What task are you about to hoist upon us?

    ego:
    Hoist!

    self:
    Come on. You've got something in mind. Out with it.

    ego:
    Well, actually...

    self:
    You just got the new '24' boxed set and you want us to watch both seasons from start to finish.

    ego:
    ...yeah.

    self:
    48 hours of television, crammed into 48 hours.

    ego:
    It's a three-day weekend.

    self:
    But... productive use of time! We could write a screenplay. Solve world hunger. We could alphabetize something.

    ego:
    Here, I'll start the first episode!
I think we're 13 hours in at this point. I'll be taking a short break for some more passive entertainment - our local theater company's dedicating their new show to the memory of my father, and the big gala opening thing is tonight.

All quality stuff, you understand. I'm enjoying it immensely. But, I've been frustrated for a while that I'm still not accomplishing things as quickly as I'd like to, and this isn't going to help with that.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
technomonkey
Aug. 31st, 2003 12:16 am (UTC)
Wow.
One sitting, and you're already at the same point in the series it took me several months to get to. 1pm or so of season 1.

Let me know how the rest of the season is - I've been meaning to get back to it when I have some time...
self
Aug. 31st, 2003 03:13 am (UTC)
Are you sure you want to know?
There will come a point where it feels like one storyline ends and another begins. You should be approaching it momentarily. When this occurs, stop watching and never look back.

As an audience member, nothing bugs me more than being lied to. The familiar line "it's not a sequel, this was always planned as a trilogy" sours the original when it becomes obvious that wasn't the case. This bothers me more than most people, so keep that in mind for the rest of this:

They promised a 24 part storyline. What you get is two stories, and one of them plays like the worst kind of sequel.

What you're coming up on is two or three hours of housecleaning. No suspense, no plot advancement, just lots and lots of exposition setting up all the pieces. Did they not have half a season to accomplish this? Of course they did. But they hadn't finalized any of that yet. They didn't know where they were going with the end of the season. And when things do start moving, it's pretty clear they're still figuring it out.

Thing is, the series launched without any dull episodes. They were able to tell a story without that before, so what happened?

I'd still be watching if that were the worst of it.
  • We've got characters reversing their stance on long-standing arguments so they can learn the lesson they've been preaching this whole time.

  • We've got agents of the most procedure-happy organization ever failing to report in when they notice other agents missing or dead.

  • We've got throwaway subplots to keep characters onscreen, saying things like "You wait here. I'm just gonna walk back in the line of fire to see if they're still shooting at us."

  • And we just had a huge plot development come out of movie-action physics, brought about by a moment of carelessness. Not something long-overlooked, not something foreshadowed in the character's patterns, just an act of god, completely out of nowhere. I'm told the payoff is an annoying subplot you just have to put up with. Specifically, one of those unbelievable cliches which shows up only on television, and only when the writers are seriously tapped for ideas. Do we really need another _________ storyline? Not until they bring back Gilligan's Island.
I'm told the story picks up, that the episodes to come make up for these shortcomings. I have a hard time believing that. The whole used to be greater than the sum of it's parts. At this point, the best we can hope for is good parts.

Season 2 apparently follows this same pattern. The first half is beautifully structured, and then they run out of scripts. But, they're able to pull things together for a great ending.

For me, that's not good enough. I gave them more leeway than any show deserves. I can only forgive so much, and it's time to move on.

So, on I move.

I walked away mid-episode. Should you continue watching, I expect you'll get fed up around the same place. We'll compare notes, and a good time will be had by all.

Yay.
self
Sep. 1st, 2003 03:19 am (UTC)
Okay, fine.
I watched the rest of the season.

After a while, the show stopped angering me and I just had to laugh at it. I think it transitioned from bad sequel into a parody of bad sequels. This was not their goal, but it's probably the lesser of two evils.

  • The cliche's flew at us like machine-gun fire. They made no sense, but we're not supposed to care because we've seen them so many times before. And they never made sense then either.

      Like, when a character spontaneously hands someone else a key to their hotel room to meet up later. You've stayed in a few hotels - have they ever given you an extra key beyond what you actually needed? Yeah, me neither.

  • There are constant breaches of protocol, like calling for reinforcements when you think an important shipment's about to be intercepted, but not thinking to also have it diverted elsewhere.

  • One of the key plot devices our heroes rely on towards the beginning is a room not monitored by the agency's security systems. Towards the end, we are asked to accept a fairly major plot twist based on video evidence from that room's surveilance camera.

      Beyond the obvious contradiction, it's implied that we should also accept that this particular footage had not been looked over previously. Given the nature and context of the footage, that's hard to imagine.

      This twist they threw out continuity to bring us serves exactly one purpose: to introduce new layers of conspiracy so every story can be part of a unified scheme which already makes no sense and can only get more ridiculous.
All the tension of the first storyline came from a brilliant game of cat and mouse. The villains had every advantage, with our hero scrambling to get a foothold. That's not at all the case later - the good guys are trying to maintain their advantage, and when things get tough, they've got friends to call in high places. It's like the writers forgot how suspense works.

Did it pick up? Not really. The pace increased, the quality did not.

There are some good aspects, but they're few and far between. And of course, hopelessly tainted.

And as I was saying with the layers of conspiracy, this does not bode well for Season Two. I'm told the first half is every bit as amazing as Season One's first half. But, how can it be, if it ties in with the awfulness?

Guess I'll find out later.

Blah.
technomonkey
Sep. 1st, 2003 11:17 am (UTC)
OK, then one last question...
I've really only got one question left, which you've pretty much answered, but needs to be directly asked anyway.

I own season 1. I've watched until 1pm, when the first storyline ends. Is the rest worth watching, or should I concentrate on other things like Sports Night? :-)
self
Sep. 1st, 2003 06:33 pm (UTC)
Hmm.
Can't give you a definitive answer until I watch a little of Season 2, which won't be today. But, definitely hold off.

As for other stuff, Sports Night is always good. But have you considered the Dead Zone? That's got the added attraction of being a borrowed item you could return upon watching.

=)

It's actually the lesser commitment. You've got 13 episodes in that set, weighing in at nine hours, thirty-two minutes. Sports Night brings 45 episodes, at sixteen hours, thirty minutes.

It's also worth noting, while we're on the subject, that this allegedly realtime presentation of 24 only runs seventeen hours, forty minutes. Meaning, six hours and twenty minutes of the promised 24 fall to commercial breaks. Behold the power of advertising.
lunarcrystal
Aug. 31st, 2003 10:23 pm (UTC)
Much in the way of laughter and giggles
Your ego amuses me. ^.^
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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