Pinpointing Where 24 Jumped The Shark.

So, first of all, let me just enlighten some of you to the fact that the press - once so kind to the show I find dear, heralding 24 as one of the greatest action dramas broadcast television has ever known - has been treating Season 6 like a degenerate gambler who's late on his repayment. There's broken glass sticking out of 24's face, cracked ribs due to repeated whacks with a handy golf club ... 24's curled up in a ball over there in the corner of the room, groaning in agony, spitting out blood and teeth, with snot dripping out its nose, promising vehemently, "I'll get your money! I'll get your money!" It's not pretty what they're doing to Season 6, because by all accounts, it hasn't been THAT BAD. It's ALL right!

But, it has jumped the shark. It just has, there's no denying it. So today, I'm hereby going to pinpoint the exact moment - that Fonz Waterskiing Over A Shark moment. Reader beware: if you're lagging behind in the seasons, I would read no further.

Let me just go ahead and condemn Fox Broadcasting Company for their damn promos. They're everywhere, they're on all the time, and they give away EVERYTHING that goes on in that week's particular episode! It's rediculous; I was listening to sports radio on Monday morning and there was a commercial for 24 there. THERE! On the radio! So, I knew, even without seeing it, that there would be an attack on CTU. Then, I had to wait an extra day for it to download; THEN, I had to wait like 45 minutes before the attack even began. Rediculous!

Also, I have some choice words for the casting director of 24. You know, it was fine when they simply took random dudes from movies like Robocop and Major League and stuck them into the show. That was awesome! And even taking liberally from The Sopranos was a nice touch. But these are actors who - for the most part - have no name recognition and very little face-recognition aside from the casual, "Oh, that's the guy from ER" or "Hey, it's Serrano from Major League!"

But, to have guys that are pretty big-name stars come on the show, it's just unnecessary. The whole premise of the show is surrounded by the fact that there's one Alpha Dog - Kiefer Sutherland - and a gimick of each season taking 24 hours to complete. To throw another Alpha Dog in to the mix only distracts from the gimick! Which is a telltale sign that the storytelling is lagging, which is not good. You shouldn't NEED a big-name celebrity to boost the ratings; people should want to watch because it's good. Now, I'll let Dennis Hopper slide because that was during the first season I believe (and because Dennis Hopper is a fucking MANIAC and can do whatever he wants no questions axed), but Sean Hobbit Astin ate a bowl of my nuts, James Cromwell is probably the LAST actor I'd have play Jack's dad (and that's including most female actors), and Powers Booth - while a quality actor in most westerns I've seen (Tombstone, Deadwood) - was just the wrong way to go with the Vice President this season.

See, these celebrity guest stars, they're not NECESSARY, they don't bring anything special to the table that another seasoned actor wouldn't bring who didn't have the credentials. Besides, having more than one celebrity guest star in the same season just reeks of desperation.

But, that's neither here nor there. We're talking Shark Jumping here. Like I said, or meant to say, Season 6 hasn't been all bad. It started off amazingly! The 4-hour premiere, the revelation that the Bluetooth Headset guy was actually Jack's snivelling brother, Tom Lennox giving the president and what's-her-name fits, President Logan getting stabbed by ex-wife Milk Jugs, ALL GOOD.

However, it's been widely accepted that the writers of this show have been winging it for the last three seasons now. See, seasons 1-3, they had the whole 24 hours mapped out. However, since Season 4, they've been making things up pretty much as they went along. Hence why we've seen all the exciting twists and turns mid-season. It's been great! That kind of renegade writing, when done appropriately, can be immensely effective; you never know what you're going to see next. And while the last three seasons - 4 and 5 especially - have been the best because of the writing style, they've also written themselves into corners at times and have had to hack their way out using a machete. It hasn't been pretty - I'm looking squarely at the decision of killing off Edgar Stiles; whoever's responsible, you know what you've done.

Nevertheless, you can't write that way forever. They've been accused this season of rehashing old storylines. Nukes, Arabs, the 25th Amendment, the Chinese calling at the exact time Jack Bauer's finished with his day's big mission, Chloe NOT getting naked, assassination attempt on the president; it's almost like they thought they could get away with reusing a bit from every season before this one, like as an homage to their own greatness or something. As a result, you can't help but feel that this season has been the most predictable to date. Will Wayne Palmer die, of course not, because he has to come back and make things difficult for the vice president. Will Wayne Palmer eventually falter while giving a press conference, of course, because all signs have been pointing to his caving in to his own body's pressure of the trauma he's suffered today, and where better for him to pass out for dramatic effect? Oh no, Jack Bauer has been captured by _______ (fill in the blank), will he make it out alive? Of course, because he's signed on for the next three seasons. Even Milo getting shot in the head was a foregone conclusion; why else would the writers make him claim to be the CTU Director if not to offer his life up as sacrifice?

But, none of these things, none of the moments of torture, none of the Arab Injustice leads to the exact moment where this show jumped the shark.

The moment happened just before 4pm - which happens to be the last time we see James Cromwell's pretty face until damn near 6 in the morning - when Jack's dad had a gun pointed at the back of Jack's head. Jack closes his eyes and gives his Emmy-chasing speech about family or some damn thing, then a few more seconds pass and he turns around only to find his father has vanished. Jack runs back the only way his father could've escaped, and wouldn't you know it? Gone.

I said it before and I'll say it again, How in the FUCK did that old man get outta there so fast??? Did he have an assistant in a hovering space vehicle just below the rim of the roof of the building with the pod bubble open so he could hop in and they could fly away? What was the point of holding Jack hostage and then letting him live? I haven't liked this father-son association from the beginning, but that was the last straw. Things haven't sat right with me ever since, with ANYTHING on this show.

And you can tell the producers of the show feel the same way, because they've promised a new direction for the show next year. From what I understand, things won't center so heavily on CTU anymore. How that works, I have no idea, but I'll tell you this, if they try to give the ax to Chloe O'Brien, the executives working on that show will need no one less than Jack Bauer protecting their asses from ME!

Anyway, just because a show has jumped the shark doesn't mean that it can't find its way again (so long as they avoid trying to incorporate Ted McGinley into the cast). I will say this, I hope after the season finale that we've seen the last of Audrey. It's time for Jack to find a new white bitch to give the ol' high hard one to. I'm tired of this boney-assed broad eating up more than her share of air time.