Monday, March 12, 2007

"Let me ask you something, Charles. Does it bother you? To see me? With another man?": 24

Man, Jean Smart and Gregory Itzin have a good time with their parts. I realize that the Charles and Martha Logan drama is occasionally (okay, often) ludicrous, but Smart's ham and Itzin's special brand of slyness are like chocolate 'n' peanut butter. If you think about it, Martha Logan doesn't really make a lot of sense (she's basically a shattered woman with severe mental issues), but Smart digs her heels in and doesn't give an inch. She's not the strongest woman in the show's history, but she's probably the most fascinating (only Chloe and the sadly deceased Michelle can really compete).

Other than Martha's triumphant return (and, apparently, she done hooked up with secret service agent Aaron Pierce in the meantime), it was another week of business as usual at 24. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. Still, the show has hit its stride with the supporting players, now that Itzin and Smart are back and now that Powers Boothe is in charge as Vice President Evil. When all else fails, the show morphs into the scenery chewing olympics, and that's what keeps it so fresh and entertaining -- it can never get too over-the-top (I've got a friend who almost solely enjoys the Martha Logan scenes as high camp).

There was plenty of action in the hour too, what with Jack trying to escape from the Russian consulate by any means necessary. His attempts to get the information about Gredenko's location to CTU by any means necessary (including hijacking the communication methods of otherwise well-meaning Russians) were enjoyable, as was the episode's closing shootout (more on that in a bit).

The White House scenes were eerily effective, with Vice President Evil forcing Tom Lennox to report that Assad tried to kill President Palmer (who's in a coma, clearing the way for VP Evil). I haven't liked the White House scenes much this season, but now that Boothe is at the center of them, they're a lot more fun. They're completely implausible, but it's fun to see Cy Tolliver strut around the Oval Office and call the shots.

The CTU scenes, again, were nothing to write home about. Bill, Chloe and the gang tried to help Jack any way they could, and we got to meet Rick Schroeder's character, who was one of those appealingly bland -- yet possibly duplicitous -- CTU drones.

I still like 24, and I'll stick with this season (and any subsequent seasons), but the show feels like it's on auto pilot right now, and I watch every episode, then promptly forget anything I was going to say about it. Here's hoping that the show can regain some of its mojo as it heads into the final episodes of the year.

A final note: What's up with the sound mix on this show? The dialogue is so quiet that I crank up the volume for every show, then the climactic gun battles always are so loud that they send the cats scattering. What's the deal, Fox?

1 comment:

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Oh. Also, Martha Logan stabbed Charles. Hilarious!