Currently struggling through season 6 of 24 – the one where Sky stopped half-way through the run, the one where most viewers had given up by that point. The one in which a nuclear bomb goes off in Los Angeles and no-one minds. The one with Jack’s dad and brother and Abu Fayed and Gredenko and whatsisname playing Tom Lennox, you know, that little guy who is in everything.
We’re on episode 19, and the will to live is not strong. The main storyline, about the suitcase nooks, reached a dramatic conclusion, and then kept on going. Meanwhile, in the White House, the acting vice-president, who resembles an acne-scarred iceberg, continues to growl at people like the man from the Carslberg adverts.
I mean, yes, things still explode occasionally, though far too much of each episode is now spent with people in CTU telling each other the plot, or moaning that someone else at CTU got told the plot first. The normal soap opera time-filling nonsense of ‘Why did I have to hear about it from Hilda, you should’ve come to me first!’
But I’m still doing the drinking game, for every mention of ‘protocol’, ‘division’, ‘the field’ or the phone going boop-boop-BABA!!!.
But what’s making it hard to watch is the plot has run-up-the-hill, run-down-the-hill syndrome. Possibly best illustrated by, er, episode two of Russell T Davies ‘Mine All Mine’, in which all the characters run up the hill, thinking there might be a legal problem with their claim to Swansea, and then run back down again, when it turns out there isn’t a problem after all. At the end of which, the viewer is left wondering quite why they bothered giving an hour of their life to an episode which ended up precisely back where it started. It’s not quite padding – because it always looks like it might be leading somewhere – but that makes it all the more frustrating when it doesn’t.
Oh, and the really annoying thing about this series is that we get to see Jack Bauer’s dad – and he’s NOT played by Donald Sutherland. I ask you, what is the point?