Jack Bauer gets meta in ’24’

 

Much of the advance coverage of the season premiere of 24 has focused on the question: is Jack Bauer going soft for the age of Obama? This is a great benefit for the producers, since it deflects attention from the more pressing question: Does 24 still suck, and if so, how much? 

We'll get to the second question. (Which may be a touch unfair. I vaguely recall, in the mists of time, 24 having some compelling, even believable, moments in the last few episodes of season 6. Then again, 24: Redemption was a snooze.)

But first: Yes, it's true that the first four hours of 24 (which run Sunday and Monday nights) are self-conscious and self-referential about the issue of torture. Joel Surnow, the show's conservative co-creator, has left the show, raising the question of whether it would do the Colmes-leaves-Hannity thing, but in reverse. They cast Hollywood superlib Janeane Garofalo. And the regular controversy over whether Jack was providing a rationale for real-life torture reached a crescendo during season 6, as even members of the military began to criticize the ticking-time-bomb scenarios. 

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