As a teenager, 24 was one of the first television shows to really draw me in. I’ve been revisiting it, and it’s spurred a lot of thoughts about how television has evolved and why the show held such wide appeal during its run.  It was an intense and tightly edited series. It told multiple stories in parallel, the drama was generally compelling, and the main character was an uncompromising badass. Kiefer Sutherland really knows how to look good running around with a drawn pistol. Now that I’m a bit older and wiser, the show seems almost crass in the simplicity of its dialogue, character construction, plotline, and the absurd quantity of cultural and gender stereotyping that fuels the conflicts and interactions across the show.  But it’s an interesting case study in how network television channels managed to escape the mire of episodic sitcoms that dominated the 90’s.

This is what Jack Bauer looks like at most points during the show.
Jack Bauer is not exactly a complex character.

In 24, characters frequently behave in ways that are clearly motivated by the writers’ need to create drama and increase tension, lest the show drift into that most dangerous territory of the mundane. The writers are frequently shameless in how they generate character interactions, making heavy use of techno-babble simply to provide an excuse for characters to walk from one desk to another. What these characters actually do at their jobs is hilariously difficult to define. With all their talk of protocols, encryptions, and sockets, you might imagine that they’re in IT, but at no other point do these characters profess any expertise in the realm of technology or computers.

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3. (in cosmology) a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature (heat death).
4. a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.

There’s a few ironies I keep pondering, as I watch my once-beloved series 24.

Watching the series degrade is a sad business. While it has a moment or two from minute to minute, it’s hard to sort through the piles of ignorance its creators insist on shoveling out. Determined to cater to a less informed audience (which is, of course, the largest portion of the market), Jack Bauer has gone from a subtle badass backed by a more or less solid actor, to a new Chuck Norris, backed by similarly Norris-esque acting.

24 has gone (or is going, depending on how much they’re determined to milk from it) through a state of entropy, one that fits both of the supplied definitions (there are more). It attains homogeneity – it appeals to the masses, it now blends into pop-culture, and in doing so, falls from its once glorious and mighty state.


Now with a Smooth Marshmallow Core! (O.o)

This week can’t end soon enough. At this time, aI’m frustrated at the utter lack of time I have. I’ve been taking the bus home just so I can get more time at home (it gives me about an hour more), but that has a side effect of disconnecting me, but of course all my time at home is spent working or vegging as I play Halo 2 or my other newer games, so it’s a ruthless cycle of disconnectivity.

Speaking of Halo 2, I’ve gotten back into it recently, but I’ve found I have a 1/2 chance of either doing insanely well or sucking. I can’t figure it out – there are those games where the battle rifle is my baby – all my kills are headshots and no deaths, and then I have those Banshee moments, where I’m evading the rockets. And then I have those Banshee moments, where I hop in three times in one game only to be rocked by the rockets. And then I have those games where I can’t get the Battle Rifle, and I’m stuck with an SMG. I think I need to work on my strategy. I THINK the problem is my skill is too reliant on my team. If my team mates keep the rocket out of play, the Banshee is my home. I’m not sure though, as that doesn’t quite make sense when it comes to some weaponry (the battle rifle in particular). It’s taken me this long to realize it’s a team game, though. For all practical purposes, it’s a tactical shooter – you either work with the team or against the team. It’s actually that simple, too. If you aren’t sticking together and talking with your team, you end up dying, giving the enemy valuable weaponry, vehicles, and easier shot at the objective, more points, the whole basket and kaboodle. For so long I’ve been frustrated at how I can be better than the guy I’m fighting by a long shot, but still die, and now I understand. Anyways, no more video game talk.

Speaking of which, I wrote a report on video game violence for English. It’s technically the 1st draft, but it’s close enough.

Report – Video Game Violence

[2012 edit: lost forever]

I believe I sufficiently pwned that argument.

Speaking of pwnage, I had this crazy killing spree with the sniper rifle on Ascension. It was 4v4 Team Slayer – I had a fully loaded Sniper Rifle at my disposal, and they just kept on coming up the ramp, and out of the base, they didn’t stop coming. I was kind of toast when one of they shot me with the sniper after all my team had died at point-blank. I had two of those experiences actually, one on Burial Mounds at the base tunnel. I wish they had the headshot sound from UT. It would make it so much more satisfying.

Speaking of satisfying, I discovered my mouse has a battery life of like 5 days, with just one overnight charge. I am quite pleased, to say the least.

Also speaking of satisfying, we finished season 3 of 24. It was, to say the least, not satisfying. The biggest problem was that instead of twisting the plot, they kept extending it. The last 5 or 6 hours were completely unnecessary plot-wise, they just stretched things out for the last few hours, which is why they were far less interesting than the rest of the season. The season started off weakly. The first two discs were poor. The next two were excellent, but then the next two were poor. I have high hopes for season 4 though, especially with such a gigantically new cast (that should be a hint to how many people die). On a positive note, Kiefer Sutherland (the one that plays Jack) is an incredible actor. His skills really shine when you have a lot of bad extras and minor characters running around. I mean…bad. I could act better than some of these people. Oh well.

And the Cow Says, “Moo” (O.o)

My recent days have been filled with a lot of KotOR, Halo 2, and 24. I’m almost done with KotOR, I’m on the last planet, so, anyways. We’re on the 19th episode of 24 now, and as usual, the writers of 24 have outdone themselves. The first two discs just plain sucked – the script was boring, the plot generally lack-luster,and the characters inconsistent. However, toward the end of the third disc, things start picking up (as in, important characters started dying). If you haven’t watched 24, you really really should. It’s probably the most suspenseful show ever created, and the quality of the acting, the plot, etc., surpasses that of your standard movie.

I should probably explain exactly what 24 is. 24 is a show (on Fox) that plays in real time – there are 24 episodes, each spanning one hour of time, and the season consists of one day. Because of the whole “real time” thing, people don’t just miraculously jump back into action and people don’t just appear at the destination. This will obviously require multiple threads and plots running simultaneously – generally about 3 different situations are running at once. 24 is notorious for killing off all the characters that are even slightly expendible. I thought a lot of people died last season (2), but even more have died thus far, and more are going to die in the future. But I’m getting of track – the real-time element is the first essential part of the formula that is 24. Then you have lots of death and gore. Then you add excessive suspense and multiple plot lines. And last, but not least, you have a major threat to America. The first season was about an assasination attempt on the primary presidential candidate (there were about 3 other plot lines, but that’s the main driving plot), the second was about a nuclear threat (again, there were more plots intertwined), this time it’s about a weaponized virus. Overall, it’s very realistic. There are some dramas that would no longer occur with our current technology (like tracing calls – they still use the standard required amount of time to track the source of a call, even though it can now be done instantly, and various indescrepencies with military policy, but otherwise it works quite well). Just go watch it, we have all 3 seasons on DVD if you want to borrow them.

In other news, school has been highly standard. Nothing special, beyond that my grades are fixed. I really enjoyed that snow day on Thursday (I slept until 3:00 that day). Today I overslept, and missed church, which really sucks. The problem is, Fullmetal Alchemist and Ghost in the Shell are on at 12:00 and 3:00. I always miss the first showing, so I have to wait until 3:00. Fortunately my download of FMA is 57% done, and reporting 30 hours left till it’s done, so that shouldn’t be a problem by the time Sunday rolls around again. I’ve grown tired of Ghost in the Shell – it’s a good anime, but the animations can be distracting (they are not of stellar quality), and the plot makes, well, no sense. The most recent episode was 20 minutes of listening to 6 people discuss the main antagonist, in a chat room. It was obvious they did this to try and help the viewer understand what exactly was going on, but none of it really made any sense. They spend too much time using big words and complex phrases and too little time on making the plot logical. I suspect the movies or the manga would be far better, but I currently have no money with which to investigate such ventures.

Oh well.


FINE! FINE! Stop screaming at me to post! Sheeesh! Alright, here’s a not so quick recap of my life during this wonderful break. Heeheehee

I really needed this time of rest. I’ve been getting plenty of sleep, finally, and I think I can hold out till the winter break. Hopefully. I fear the coming of school, but, such is life. I’ve finally been able to hang out with Daniel a bit. He spent the night over here, had fondue with my family [mmmm] and then I spent two more days at his house, while my parents are off to go get our new car from Kentucky. [we bought our new Subaru Outback of E-Bay]. In the midst of all this, my brother, Rachel, and I have finished the entire second series of 24. In case you don’t know what 24 is, it’s a real time show that is 24 episodes, each one hour long. I won’t tell you what happened in the show, but, I will say, that’s the most addicting and awesome show I’ve ever watched. We watched all of the episodes in about 6 days. Great stuff.

The Halo LAN party Daniel’s hosting again will rock. I got Jonathan to come, so he’s been training up and learning about Halo, with, of course, some help from me. I REALLY hope he holds his own, he’s not a gamer, and he’s going to a party with a dozen of us gamers, but, there are plenty of people for eazy prey out there, hopefully. He’s only got till Saturday to learn how to play, but, he seems willing enough. I was surprised he decided to join us, in any case.

A side note: January 12 will rock. I’m not at liberty to say anything, though. WOOT!

Okay, next topic: presents for Christmas! I got 100 bux in Best Buy gift cards, Elder Scrolls 3, the RotK soundtrack, a Jars of Clay CD, a new wallet [my old one went through the wash 3 times this month. heehee], a watch [snort], and some other small things, like candy, and stuff. It was a cool Christmas! The RotK soundtrack, especially, is amazing. I love the music for LotR!

Ah well, these two weeks have been great. Happy New Years, all.