24 Season 5, Episodes 1-4, 7:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

I’m a little nuts about some TV shows. X-Files, Twin Peaks, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Lost… and of course, 24. So it with huge anticipation that Ron and I sat down to enjoy the two-night, four-hour premiere of season five of 24. I admire the writers and producers of 24 because they manage to burn through the entire canon of literary devices, plot mechanics and tropes in a matter of episodes and then flip it all upside down and do it again – for five seaons now. For the newbies, each season is 24 episodes occuring over 24 hours, portrayed in continuous time with the show’s plot a continuous string of non-stop suspense and crisis. Every year they say that the season premiere will leave us breathless in the first 10 minutes – and every year it is a really juicy event. But this year really was absolutely fantastic.
They killed off three major characters in the first episode. I’m not going to tell you who since I’m sure some folks are purposefully not watching the show in order to watch it all in one string on DVD next fall (Ron and I are abstaining from Lost season 2 because watching season one was so spellbinding on DVD). But wow – holy crap! – I was stunned. And completely impressed. The writers know that as long as tried-and-true and loved characters are still living that it is an easy reach for them – it is an easy reach to keep the characters ‘on deck’ for when they need a goose to the narrative. And they trashed it. Creative discipline and creative destruction.
What are you willing to destroy to create anew?
What beliefs can you bash open and build a foundation on the rubble?
How can you stay true to your instincts and passions but totally flip what you’re doing?
Sidebar: I was watching the end of American Idol where a montage of screechers sang ‘Lady Marmalade’ and it ended with a long sequence where a Britney/Christina/Jon-Benet Ramsey skank-alike sang the final measures of the song over and over again – going flat or sharp each time. She just kept going and going. Anyway, my phone rang while that was happening and I assumed it was Ron so I said: Holy crap, honey, she just keeps singing. Then I sat there on the phone silent while the sequence finished. Then I found out it wasn’t Ron that was on the phone with me. It was my blogging client Sam! Turns out he was watching the same thing I was watching and couldn’t figure out how Andy’s answering machine knew that he was watching American Idol. Very funny. Kinda like in Lost Highway when freak-show Robert Blake turns to Bill Pullman and says ‘I’m at your house. As a matter of fact, I’m there right now.’ and Bill dials his house and the phone picks up and Blake’s voice says ‘I told you I was here.’ Did that totally freak anybody else out when they first saw it?

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