Jerks & Irks LXI: Predictability

While Blood in the Paint is with my proofreader, I’ve found myself with an abundance of free time. I could use these idle hours to clean the house, but instead I’ve been watching the television series, 24, from the beginning. I don’t know if you were paying attention to the commercials during the Super Bowl last month, but “Jack’s Back!” Well, he will be. Very soon. And I’m preparing myself.

Now, I had started watching 24 from the beginning once before, years ago. I got as far as the third season before I inexplicably stopped. Having just finished the third season again, I think I know why I originally stopped watching: the show is painfully predictable in some respects. In fact, I’ve made up a drinking game to illustrate my point. While watching the remaining seasons, I’ll take a swig of beer/wine/liquor/cocktail whenever any of the following things take place:

  • Jack Bauer disobeys orders and does his own thing.
  • Jack Bauer, or anyone else, screams, “You’re just gonna have to trust me!” to another character.
  • A character withholds crucial information that, if shared, would clear up a major misunderstanding. (Usually followed by “You’re just gonna have to trust me!”)
  • Someone in CTU pulls a gun on another person working for CTU.
  • Someone in CTU or the White House is suspected of being a mole.
  • Someone shouts, “There’s no time for that!”
  • *DRINK TWICE* if “There’s no time for that!” is coupled with, “There are thousands/millions of lives at stake!”
  • Kim Bauer’s in trouble.
  • Kim Bauer asks a shit load of questions at an inopportune time.
  • *DRINK TWICE* if Kim Bauer asks a shit load of questions while someone is trying to help her get out of trouble.
  • Chloe says something awkward.
  • The phone in CTU goes: bloop-bloop-ring-rinnnggg.
  • Jack Bauer’s death seems imminent.
  • The world is going to end.

As you can probably tell, 24 is a little on the formulaic side. At least, for the first three seasons. (I’m not sure if this criticism applies to the remaining series or if it will apply to the reboot this spring. I’m not even sure if my drinking game will still apply. For all I know, I could be frighteningly sober while watching the remaining seasons, when I would have fallen off my couch had I applied the game to the first three seasons.)

24 was a very popular show. I mean, they’re bringing “Jack Back!” after all these years. Perhaps, then, I’m being a bit hyper-critical because of all the reading and writing I do. A book series, a good one, wouldn’t bore its reader with the same situations over and over, just slightly changed for originality’s sake (nuclear bomb in season two, deadly bio-weapon in season three), would it? I don’t think I’ve read anything that qualifies as that overly formulaic. Have you? What about 24, have you seen it? What do think about it? I’d love to know!