By now, we've come to expect certain things from
24. Jack Bauer is going to thwart some terrorist activity and he' going to do it in a no-nonsense way. He' going to steal some cars and shoot some bad guys and, oh yes-there' going to be torture. Oh, glorious torture, how we missed thee in the off-season.
The first four episodes of the fifth season of 24 aired over the long weekend. And while all TV shows require a certain suspension of disbelief (
The West Wing asks us to believe that White House staff spend their days bantering back and forth like characters from
The Hudsucker Proxy, The Simpsons asks us to believe that
is still funny),
24 is growing especially far fetched with each new season. In order to enjoy
24: Day Five, here are some things that you're going to have to be willing to believe.Los Angeles is a hub for political activity and an extremely popular terrorist target:
That' right, forget about the UN headquarters in Manhattan, or the White House in Washington, DC. The real hub for political and terrorist activity is a town whose most prominent target is the Playboy Mansion.
Over the past four seasons of 24
, no less than three near-apocalyptic terror attacks targeting or involving the executive branch and the CIA (that' CTU to you,
newbies) have been thwarted in the greater Los Angeles area. In the real world we're not even sure that the CIA has an office in LA, and if so, what they do all day. Keep an eye out for mudslides and earthquakes? Use wire taps to leak the new Enrique Iglesias album?
is set in LA for the same reason that most action movies (Die Hard, Terminator, T:2, Crocodile Dundee 3
) are set there: directors, writers and producers live in LA and it' easier to imagine stories about the town in which you live than a town all the way across the country. Furthermore, people like to imagine that their hometown is important enough to get bombed by terrorists. It' why residents of Columbia, MO buy out Wal-Mart when the terror alert level goes from yellow to orange. Fortunately for residents of LA and unfortunately for the writers of
, we're pretty sure Al-Qaeda doesn't give a shit about your beach house in Malibu.
With Die Hard
we'll play ball once or twice. But five straight terror plots focussed on LA?
Imagine for a moment that they had decided to set this season' 24
in Manhattan, with subway chases and Jack Bauer repelling down skyscrapers and saving the Brooklyn Bridge from destruction. It could have completely reinvigorated the franchise. Instead, we're stuck once again with highways, airports and the desert.
And while we're on LA, 24
also asks you to believe that"¦
Every corner of LA can be reached in the time it takes to return from a commercial break:
|The only action Shawn |
Bradley's seen in years
Now granted this observation is a little warmed over, sort of like, "If the show is set in real time, why don't we ever see Jack Bauer take a dump?" But it does represent yet another reason not to set the show in LA for five straight seasons. LA is an enormous, sprawling tangle of clogged expressways and turnpikes.