Kiefer Sutherland stars in 24, although not as a vampire... Yet.I must admit that while I don't watch a lot of television, I'm a big fan of Fox's 24. It's one of those shows that has such a ridiculously neat concept behind it that I find myself watching each episode no matter how idiotic and convoluted the overall plot tends to get. And it does get monstrously convoluted as the writers struggle to tell a 24-hour long story in real time while delicately weaving the show's events around commercial breaks that seem to only advertise American Idol, the show that runs immediately before 24 and is recapped immediately after 24 and is then talked about endlessly by vapid people until a new episode airs. Somehow, they manage to tell the story, and they never fail to deliver a cliffhanger ending for each installment. 24, which depicts the actions of counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer, his mentally retarded daughter, and a fictitious President of the United States who is black but as moral as any noble white man, is television at its finest: an action packed assault on the mind.
The show is far from flawless, though, and features a number of horrible marks against it that lower the credibility of the series. The writers of the show, in an effort to keep things dramatic and exciting, often forgo logical subplots such as "Jack has eaten a lot of bran recently and really has to go take a monster shit for the next twenty minutes." While that would contribute to the realism of the show, viewers would likely change the channel and watch something other than multiple angled close-ups of series star Kiefer Sutherland's strained sweaty face as the clock counts down and the seconds tick by. Instead, they gamble on insane 4-hour bouts with amnesia, or worse, give Jack's daughter Kim the attention. Her exploits consist thus far of being kidnapped a half dozen times, kidnapping a child from a hospital to protect her from her abusive father, getting caught in an animal trap and menaced by a cougar, getting locked in a nutcase survivalist's bomb shelter, and ending up as a hostage in somebody's botched robbery. She's also been wrongly arrested twice. Need I remind you that the entire events of the past two seasons cover only two days? My bad days consist of me waking up and realizing that I had another erotic dream about Ben Matlock eating hotdogs. I guess I've got it pretty good. Pretty damn good.
Regardless of faults, I can't help but love the show. Like most Americans, I live my life to the beats of Kiefer Sutherland's heart. The question is, how will they continue to shock and amaze for a third season? They have set a precedent for topping themselves, but can they keep it up? It sure looks like it! What follows is an hour-by-hour exclusive preview of the first quarter of the upcoming third season of 24. Just enough to wet your appetite, then drown it in its own juices!
1:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.
Yep, still not a not a vampire.The season begins with President Palmer witnessing a murder while fueling up his presidential limousine. Palmer immediately tries to intervene and stop the armed murderer, but he knows deep down inside that he is not bulletproof. He has no choice but to let the killer get away. Worse, the killer knows his face. Twenty minutes later counter terrorist agent Jack Bauer gets a call on his cell phone. It's news from the White House: the president is being put into the witness protection program, complete with a new name and identity. Jack's new assignment is to find the murderer who knows the president's face. Meanwhile, Jack's daughter Kim is menaced by a snapping turtle, but she manages to escape with her life by jumping off a bridge and landing in the back of a moving truck... BEING DRIVEN BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ON THE RUN FROM THE INS! The episode ends with President Palmer, under his new name and identity, exiting an ice cream parlor. It seems he is adjusting to his temporary new identity quite nicely. But just as all seems well, he finds himself surrounded by a squad of police ordering him to put his hands in the air. The screen fades to black as President Palmer, now using the name Preston Denton, looks on disbelief.
2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
As the incognito president cries out for justice, the police inform him that he is a wanted man. The president, knowing he is innocent, decides to take the dangerous route and makes his escape. Elsewhere Kim is arrested and threatened with deportation to Uzbekistan. Jack investigates the murder scene and recognizes the killing as the work of a former CIA operative that Jack was partnered with while infiltrating a group of narco-terrorists deep in the jungles of South America. He calls the Secret Service to inform them that they need to up their protection on Palmer, but by this time they've lost track of the president who was placed in the hands of the witness protection program. To complicate matters even further, the witness protection program informs the White House that they might have accidentally issued the president the identity of a known criminal. Jack must race against the clock to find the president before it's too late! The clock wins, and the episode ends without closure.
3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Jack tries frantically to get information from the witness protection program, but they are forbidden to release any information on their protected witnesses. With no means of finding out the new identity of the president, he decides to see if the police have arrested any known criminals that fit the description of Palmer. Palmer, meanwhile, is moving slow and cautiously through the city looking for a safe location where he can hide. On the other side of the city Kim throws a canister of Tic-Tacs at an INS guard and makes a break for it. Successfully escaping, she decides to lay low and hides in a locker room in the building next door. Jack learns of the attempted arrest of Preston Denton, and believes him to be Palmer. He begins his hunt for the missing fugitive president wrongly accused of a crime he never committed. Palmer, hiding in a warehouse, attempts to use his cell phone to call Jack for help. But just as he presses the button to dial, his battery goes dead, and with that the episode ends.
4:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Kim's stay in the locker room is interrupted when an official looking woman enters and tells her to stop delaying and get to the test chamber at once. Not wanting to get in any more trouble, she follows the lady. Palmer curses his cell phone and shakes it in a vain effort to make it work. As he is waging a one man war against the battery that has denied him an easy resolution to his problems, he hears a gunshot outside. The warehouse he is hiding in is disputed territory for two rival street gangs. Knowing that it's only a matter of time before the fighting spills into the warehouse, Palmer begins planning on how to thwart the gang members. Jack remains in pursuit, doing his best to follow Palmer's trail. But along the way he runs into a group of armed gunmen that try to take him out. Thankfully their aim is very bad and his gun carries more bullets than a normal gun so he is able to shoot them all a dozen times each. Just to make sure they stay dead, he snaps all of their spines with his bare hands for good measure. Studying the corpses, Jack identifies them as the personal bodyguards of a narco-terrorist he put away years ago. Kim again finds herself in danger when she realizes that she inadvertently snuck into the locker room of NASA's new Los Angeles branch of Space Camp. She has no choice but to participate in a training simulation for an actual shuttle flight with a group of young aspiring astronauts. To make matters worse, these cocky young space cadets don't take kindly to somebody as green as Kim. The tension in the training simulator is more than palpable; it's a creamy broth of flammable uncertainty. In the warehouse, the fighting begins spilling in as several gang members use the building as a shelter. Palmer prepares to make his move as the hour expires.
5:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.Look out Kiefer, that guy might be a vampire!All hell breaks loose as the president prepares to engage the gang members in a desperate fight for survival. But before he can attack them, one of the gang members recognizes him as Preston Denton, their missing leader. The gangsters look to Preston for leadership, putting him in an awkward position since he's actually the president hiding behind a false identity. Kim is in deep trouble as a freak accident resulted in the shuttle simulator being switched with an actual shuttle. She and her fellow crewmates are blasted into Earth's orbit, where hysteria and mistrust threaten to doom them all. Jack continues his quest to find Palmer, and stumbles upon what looks to be a gang war. Scouting the situation out from afar with binoculars, he spots Palmer inside the warehouse. Believing the president is in immediate danger, he concocts a desperate plan to save him before he gets caught in the crossfire. As Jack rushes the warehouse his cell phone rings. It's a call from Kim, who needs help piloting the shuttle back down to Earth. Jack must now save the president and his daughter at the same time. FADE TO SUSPENSE!
6:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.
Palmer assumes reluctant control of the gang under his false identity of Preston Denton, and immediately tries to bring an end to the gang war. His efforts are thwarted by the bloodlust of his followers, who want to see the old violent Preston in action. Jack, while stealthy maneuvering around obstacles and gang members, instructs Kim on how to pilot the shuttle back to Earth as best he can, which isn't much since he's not an astronaut. His efforts to save Kim are put on hold when she is knocked unconscious by a floating 8-year-old cadet's zero gravity projectile vomit. This celestial puke ends up sending the shuttle off course and careening into the Earth's unforgiving atmosphere. Jack, not having time to worry about Kim, storms into the warehouse and manages to kill several gang members, but is outnumbered and ordered to surrender. Kim regains consciousness just in time to steer the shuttle out of a death spiral. She manages to crash land the shuttle in the lawn of a frat house full of horny, rape-crazy frat boys. In the warehouse, Palmer's loyalty is tested when the gang members order him to shoot Jack Bauer. With Bauer and Palmer both in mortal danger, and Kim's virginity at stake, the clock melts away to the show's most tense ending yet, leaving the audience completely cliffhung and lobotomized.
You can bet all the precious gold and silver you have to your name that this season is going to sizzle, and while it's sizzling, it's also going to shimmer. Then, while you're blinded by the shimmering and intoxicated by the sizzling sound, which you will probably mistake for bacon cooking, it will electrify you. That's how good it will be. It will also be extremely improbable and insane, but who the hell is actually paying attention at this point?
We're On a One Way Train to Movietown!
Hey everybody. It's Ben "Grossness" Platt here once again with a review of a movie that has absolutely no right to exist. The movie, that is. Not the review. The review has every right to exist. I mean, I put a lot of work into it and everything... Anyway, this week's winner is called "Back Woods."
"Back Woods" doesn't exactly open well. By that I mean it begins with the Dead Alive Productions logo, which is movietalk for "bad fucking news." And the actual opening shot of the movie isn't much better. We see a couple having sex, but in the background a couple people are making some stupid comments. Not only does this shot have no relevance to the rest of the movie whatsoever, but judging by the frequency with which this happens throughout the movie, its entirely possible that those comments aren't even meant to be heard, but are just the sounds of the peanut gallery watching the action from behind the camera. I have to say, as far as signs go, this is not one of the better ones.
Well hey now! That's just zany! Tell you what, read the review and I can almost guarantee that it will be more fun than actually watching the movie. It wouldn't take much, believe me.
Sir Mix-a-Lot's classic follow up to "Baby Got Back" has serious unintended consequences.
"Really, Holmes!" I dropped into my seat, shocked. "You are remarkably tall! What are you, six foot six? Six foot eight?"
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.