Last week, I spent an absurd amount of my evening hours catching up on 24 Season 5 in anticipation of the Season 6 premiere on Sunday (and Monday) night. I tend to make an episode of 24 a priority, but last year I was working second-shift and missed all but the first few weeks of shows so I stopped watching, waiting for the DVD release. In the meantime, I avoided any mention of Season 5 using my magic skills.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW! (more…)
For the past month, Fox has been airing commercials for the fifth season of 24 promising that everything will change in the first ten minutes. They were definitely telling the truth as I couldn’t believe that they were willing to sacrifice a few major characters.
The first four hours of the new day have been amazingly good. Jack has always been a bit of a rogue agent, but this season he’s outside CTU (at least for the moment). It’s always fun to see Bauer do his own thing, barely holding a few fraying threads to keep the world turning. And while the show has always had a rabid fan base of those in the know, it’s nice to see that the show is finally getting some much-deserved recognition for its weekly brilliance.
Oh. If Fox ever tries to let a football game run past the start time of 24 without warning me immediately that they won’t just start 24 ten minutes late to make up time, someone will pay. They will pay dearly. End rant.
On an episode of Mail Call I saw a few days ago, R. Lee Ermey went to the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky (outside of Fort Knox) for the Knob Creek Shoot, a weekend festival for machine gun enthusiasts. Among other things, visitors can try out different machine guns and participate (or watch) the “night shoot” where a line of machine gunners sprays thousands of rounds of ammunition and tracer fire and try to blow up TNT-filled junk vehicles. In a phrase, the festival is Red State porn.
Despite my disgust for the wanton weaponry, the Knob Creek Shoot looked dangerously exciting. There’s something about firing a minigun that strikes a chord in everyone. It’s probably the same chord that makes Saturday afternoon movies starring Nicholas Cage a national pastime.
The price of gas is killing me. In Baltimore, the price ranges from $2.56 to $2.70 a gallon for regular unleaded, which is two dollars more than I can really afford. It’s a good thing that Bush & Co. gave the oil companies what they so desperately needed: multi-billion dollar supplements and tax breaks.
Last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, they did a segment about corporations called First Drafts in which they showed the company’s current slogan and its less-refined predecessor. Most of them were funny, but the ExxonMobil one was the best. Their real tagline is “ExxonMobil: Taking on the World’s Toughest Energy Challenges.” Leno thought the first draft was more realistic: “Exxon Mobil: Bend Over and Grab Your Ankles.” I couldn’t agree more.
The fans of 24 received a nice little treat this season: four hours of 24 in two days! Those of you who know me or are familiar with this site already know that I’m a devoted fan of 24 so it should come as no surprise that I made plans a long time ago to see the premiere of the the fourth season.
What I didn’t know is that there would be two days in a row with two hours of the show. My guess is that Fox wanted to make sure that everyone who watches knows that 24 is moving to Monday night from it’s usual Tuesday night slot. I couldn’t be happier with the change; I thought I’d have to tape the show each week because I have a night class on Tuesday, but now everything works out nicely!
The first four hours of the new season look just as good as the first three in terms of plot and character development. It surprised me in the first episode that Jack Bauer wasn’t part of CTU, but the next three episodes alleviated any worries that Jack wouldn’t be a central player this season. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, so you’ll just have to tune in like the rest of us. You won’t regret it.
As always, 24 was excellent tonight. However, as the opening screen appeared and announced that “The following takes place between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM,” I couldn’t help but think, “Jack Bauer’s violent encounter with Chi-Chi’s causes him to take a major dump.” For half the show, it could just show dramatic angles of his stall door while cutting to the CTU office staff going ballistic because they can’t find Jack anywhere. Jack could fold and refold a newspaper to give the sound crew a break from making horrific groaning noises on the sound stage. No, this probably would not work for a show unless Jack Bauer learns how to eat first. Have you noticed that he never, ever eats? I’ll bet there’s at least one Chinese restaurant with CTU security clearance in the LA area.
I just have to say that 24 is a wonderful show. Tonight was the season premiere and I can only say that it was just as good as I expected. Already I can imagine dozens of different directions that the subplots may take, but I can only make wild guesses as to how the season will conclude. I’m sure it will be just as action-packed as the first two seasons.
Ford sponsored the premiere without commercial interruption and the characters only used Ford vehicles, to the best of my knowledge. To achieve this, Ford showed a segment of a commercial mini-movie before and after the episode of 24. Each three-minute clip was styled similarly to the actual show—split screen, heartbeats, rapid scene transitions—and was generally well-done for a commercial. I imagine most people watched the clips because they weren’t traditional commercials, which is probably just what Ford wanted.
I watched a show on the History Channel today about the Autobahn. It was originally dubbed Hitler’s Road because he commissioned the work as part of the “New Germany.” Like the roads of the Roman Empire, the Autobahn was intended to be the skeleton of the Nazi Empire. The stretch to the west would go to the Atlantic, while to the east it would run to Moscow. However, when the first stretch was opened, it carried only one car per kilometer stretch of roadway. During World War II, the Nazis blew up many of 1,000 bridges that had been built only a few years earlier. However, after the war, the Autobahn was rebuilt and extended throughout Germany.
Today, many sections of road boast no speed limit, while stretches around the cities become deadlocked with traffic. The coolest thing I learned was that on the unlimited portions of roadway, RUF, the Porsche tuning company, will test their cars before shipping them to customers in order to guarantee the top speed of the vehicle. The RUF CTR2 topped out at 212 mph on the Autobahn—and it’s all legal.
Everybody’s seen the Dr. Scholl’s commercial where two guys ask each other if they are “Gellin'” after being involved in a minor car accident. After each notices that the other man is very laid-back, one says to the other, “You must be gellin’.” The other man replies, “Gellin’ like a felon.” However, Dr. Scholl’s apparently doesn’t want their product to be associated with comfortably-shod prisoners and has changed his remark to “Gellin’ like Magellan.” It just serves to make the commercial even more laughably unfunny than it was before their little bout of political-correctness.
There was an amusing clip on Letterman tonight that was supposed to be a fake Democratic ad campaign that attacks Bush. It was a collection of his worst moments that included one or two of his monkey-faces, tripping over nothing, spitting on the White House lawn, and dropping his dog. It ended with a voice-over of “Vote Democrat in 2004.”
I watched a rerun of The Daily Show with John Stewart earlier in the week and Al Franken described a possible ad campaign for John Kerry that he envisioned. It would begin with a clip of Bush landing on the aircraft carrier and posing in a flight suit as he did in May 2003. Then a voice-over narration by Kerry would say, “Playing dress-up and make-believe can be fun, but when George W. Bush had a chance to fly in Vietnam, he avoided it by using his daddy’s influence.” The fake ad would then cut to a picture of Kerry in his service uniform with Kerry describing how video cameras couldn’t go where he wore his uniform. Hopefully, the tide continues to shift against Bush and his group of warmongers with the mainstream media.