The Message of 24

April 19, 2004 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Politics, Rants | Leave a comment

Since its return after a five-week hiatus for March Madness, Fox’s 24 has really taken off in terms of the storyline and the quality of acting. What started out as a narco-terrorist plot has now transformed itself into a bioweapon nightmare, with a storyline that links to all three seasons of this amazing (reality-based?) show. In the ultimate blowback, the pasts of protagonists Jack Bauer and David Palmer are now coming back to haunt them and the country. It seems that Operation Nightfall may be more complex than an assassination plot gone awry.

I thought that this season was becoming mediocre after the death of Nina Meyers, but the persona of Stephen Saunders (Paul Blackthorne) offers us a look in the mirror – a Westernized, modern version of Al-Qaeda. He has so far shown no willingness to negotiate and exhibits the equivalent technical prowess and sophistication as Bauer’s CTU.

The show has messages for both the individual and society. As an individual, unless your are one of the chosen elite, you face a stark choice – obey the government or die like the hotel guest or CTU bureaucrat shot in cold blood. The rest of us may not even have that choice – the show may be sensitizing the audience to accept mass causalties and/or mass suicide as part of the war on terror.

I’m also wondering how close to “indecent” this storyline will develop before being noticed by the FCC in its recent transformation into the Department of Censorship.

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