Powerline is defending “24” in response to this column. Most of the comments focus on the degree to which Fox caved to CAIR. The politics is interesting but should not obscure the fact that the series ran out of creative steam halfway through the season.
Part of the problem was the breakneck pace of the action. To supply the roller coaster thrills the writers piled one big bang on top of another. When an attack on Air Force One with a stolen stealth fighter is simply the means of grabbing the nuclear football and when the kidnapping of the Secretary of Defense is just a ploy to spike internet traffic, the plot asks for too much suspension of disbelief.
At the same time, the writers larded the scripts with way too much mooning and moaning of the soap opera variety.
“24”s best anti-terrorist professionals spent much of the spring acting like junior high students at summer camp. In contrast, ImoTerrorist was brilliant and single-minded. No wonder he out-witted CTU at every turn.
I’m also sorry that the writers tossed aside the grown up view of torture they showed at the beginning of the season. Early on they had bureaucrats torturing the wrong person and then scheming to cover it up. By the end it was all saintly Jack Bauer doing the necessary dirty work to get the guilty to confess so that innocent lives could be saved.
The last thing that bugged me about this year was the utter incompetence of the typical CTU field agent. It became a sure bet that any team sent to investigate a promising lead would be ambushed and most of its members killed by the scratch response force ImoTerrorist sent after them. One time might have been believable, but after the third it was just laughable.