Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—24, season 2 (2002-2003) ****

TV-14, 24 45-min. episodes
Creators: Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran

Directors: Jon Cassar, James Whitmore Jr., Rodney Charters, Frederick K. Keller, Ian Toynton

Writers: Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Michael Loceff, Howard Gordon, Remi Aubuchon, Gil Grant, Elizabeth M. Cosin, Virgil Williams, David Ehrman, Evan Katz, Maurice Hurley, Neil Cohen, Duppy Demetrius

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Sarah Wynter, Elisha Cuthbert, Xander Berkley, Carlos Bernard, Dennis Haysbert, Reiko Aylesworth, Michelle Forbes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Jude Ciccollela, Laura Harris, John Terry

Guest starring: Billy Burke, Timothy Carhart, Sara Gilbert, Skye Nicole Bartusiak, Tracy Middendorf, Phillip Rhys, Douglas O’Keefe, Jimmi Simpson, Gregory Sporleder, Michael Holden, Tamlyn Tomita, Jim Abele, Jon Gries, Innis Casey, Sarah Clarke, Nicholas Guilak, Bryan Rasmussen, John Eddins, Eric Christian Olsen, Michael Cudlitz, Michael McGrady, Anthony Azizi, Tony Wayne, Al Sapienza, Harris Yulin, Fred Toma, Marc Casabani, Francesco Quinn, Terry Bozeman, Daniel Dae Kim, Bernard White, Steven Culp, Kevin Dillon, Val Lauren, Randle Mell, Maximilian Martini, Lourdes Benedicto, Donnie Keshawarz, Dean Norris, Brent Sexton, Lombardo Boyar, Greg Henry, Alan Dale, Justin Louis, Sterling Macer Jr., Nick Offerman, Paul Schulze, Tobin Bell, Peter Outerbridge, Raymond Cruz, Maurice Compte, Glenn Morshower, Brian Goodman, Jeffery Wincott, Mark Ivanir, Peter Gregory, Alex Daniels, Thomas Kretschmann, Rick D. Wasserman, Scott Paulin, Chuti Tiu, Eugene Robert Glazer

“24” season 2 finds the stakes raised once more, in that seemingly impossible standard of the series where the stakes begin higher than any other thriller situation imagined and then continued to rise from that point throughout the season. With David Palmer now POTUS, what can the writers of this series throw at these characters to totally uproot every expectation they or the audience can imagine? They do it. It’s hard to believe, but they blow our minds again the second time around.

All though the show is still just ram down your throat, non-stop action and suspense, a few cracks do appear in the seams. I’m not holding them much against the season, however. Kim Bauer’s storyline here becomes more of a distraction at times than an enhancement to the main storyline. The stuff with the abusive father of the kids she sits for is good, but once that one is mostly resolved, her continuing to get into trouble with people as she wanders the backwoods of California becomes a bit tiresome. And when her dad is trying to save the world, I think it’s a little much that she insists on talking with him after every episode she gets herself into.

There also a few minor character subplots that kind of peter out when they prove less interesting than everything else that’s going on. But, really, I shouldn’t be complaining, because what they achieve here is pretty amazing. This show has about three seasons worth of action going down in a 24-hour period. There’s nothing like the anti-boss atmosphere that encapsulates the entire Los Angeles CTU division. Everybody gets into the Jack Bauer mode this season with Tony Almeida, George Mason, and even the new girl Michelle are taking violent action against their superiors.

Side note: did the producers of “Revoltution” just use season 2 of “24” as their screen testing for their cast? Billy Burke, Reiko Aylesworth, Lourdes Benedicto, and Steven Culp all later turned up on the NBC show. Also “Breaking Bad”s Dean Norris appears as a US General.

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