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Volume 7, Issue 3                                    University of Houston

Day Four has more action for your hour

24' starts off another season of explosions and action-packed terrorist smashing

By Dusti Rhodes
The Daily Cougar

Suspense is back in a one-hour timeframe as 24 returns to prime time to captivate audiences -- minute by minute and only in a way Americans could appreciate. The series begins its fourth season (and day) in a two-hour special at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 on Fox with a few changes.

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is back to take on the terrorists, only this time he is no longer working for the Counter Terrorist Unit. In Season 3, Bauer was fired for becoming addicted to drugs he began using in order not to break his cover when trying to bring down a string of drug traffickers. Bauer is now working for Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane) and also dating Heller's assistant/daughter Audrey (Kim Raver).

A train wreck starts the season off to a misleading start as the nail biting begins with the first tick of the clock. CTU now faces its latest problem without Bauer and under the direction of Erin Driscoll (Alberta Watson), the person responsible for Jack's departure from the organization. During a meeting with Driscoll at CTU headquarters Jack recognizes a man being brought in in connection with the wreck; he takes charge and uses force to drag the truth out of the suspect, even if it means interfering with CTU's plans and interrogation. 

Jack persuades the suspect to give up his main agenda by shooting him in the leg, and it is revealed that the main objective is the kidnapping of Secretary Heller. Jack demands to become a part of the investigation and Driscoll reluctantly agrees on the grounds that he can only tag along and give advice, but fans of the series know better than to expect Jack to sit on the sidelines and bark orders. Those who remember the kidnapping and death of Jack's wife in the first season will understand his need to find Heller, who is accompanied by Audrey in the terrorist's compound. The race is on for Jack to see if he can prove himself to CTU and also to once again try and save the woman he loves.

24 wastes no time in bringing on the action, but the main story line seems a bit to close to reality and as a result pretty unimaginative not to mention easy.

Secretary Heller is kidnapped by Turkish terrorists, and while alliteration is fun, the idea is a little overplayed. The terrorists, led by Navi Araz (Nestor Serrano), plan to put Heller on trial for crimes against humanity on live Internet broadcast that cannot be interrupted thanks to a code that can only be broken by shutting down the entire Internet. The only chance the United States has at stopping the broadcast is by finding the terrorists. Cue little American flags.

The first broadcast features the kidnappers in the traditional garb that will have most Americans immediately thinking "terrorist," with guns pointed at Heller as they begin to recite their intentions. The writers, however, do lose points in this scene because Heller isn't holding a current issue of the New York Times. Tsk, tsk, writers how are we supposed to believe that this is even real or wasn't staged a few months back when the secretary was shopping for Turkish dinnerware?

Although it is recognized that 24 deals with CTU and therefore terrorism will be involved, the show still disappoints by proving that Hollywood can all-too-often be the perpetrator of stereotypes and the reason some people in the country are still stupid enough to believe that every person with a Muslim headdress is out to blow up their office building. But those who can see past these shortcomings (and most fans of this show probably won't even give it a second thought) will enjoy the 24-hour ride to save the country as the fourth season keeps the clock ticking and viewers glued to the edge of their couches and recliners to see if Bauer can capture Osama err, Navi Araz.

24 Day Four

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland


Verdict: Suspense for Americans who forgot about the terrorists.

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