Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Ranking the 7 Seasons of 24
The latest season finale of 24 aired last night, and now it's time to put Day 7 into perspective alongside past days. I'll judge in 7 categories to determine the winners. Before I do this, let the record show that this season kicked ass. Moving the action to Washington D.C. was a much needed breath of fresh air, which makes their decision to shift things to New York next season very interesting. But enough chit-chat; Bauer would be yelling "Dammit, Herb! We're running out of time!!!" You got it Jack, I'm sending the information to your Sprint mobile phone right now!
BAUER: Every season has had virtually the same version of JB. He is a government agent willing to do absolutely everything to save the hundreds of thousands of lives that are at risk. He finds creative ways to torture suspects, he yells a lot at co-workers, and his daughter is fucking annoying. Still, each day has brought a little wrinkle of character into Jack. He started as a family man trying to do his job while protecting his wife and daughter, but with each awful thing that has happened to those around him (Teri's death, Kim's cougar attack, countless co-workers dying, the assassination of President Palmer), Jack has become more and more closed-off. Yeah, he tried to have girlfriends (Kate Warner, Audrey Raines, the redhead in the trailer park), but make no mistake, Bauer is married to the job. His greatest day? I honestly believe it was this season. Kiefer has always been a powerhouse (especially in Day 5), but this year was the first time we saw a lot of inner conflict. He was dragged before Congress to answer for his use of torture techniques, argued with Renee about them, and eventually tried to make peace with it. Bauer breaking down and crying his eyes out at the end of season 3 was kind of laughable, but his introspective and emotional talks with Renee and the Imam were spot on this year.
Rank: 7 (Dying Bauer), 5 (Frank Flynn), 1 (Papa Bear Bauer), 2 (Classic Bauer), 3 (Junkie Bauer), 4 (Boyfriend Bauer), 6 (I'll torture my brother, Graham, Bauer)
TERRORIST THREAT: For this, we'll try to simplify as much as possible. For most seasons the weapon is consistent for that season (bomb, virus, whatever), but the villains and intentions often change a lot. I just want to look at how cool and effective the method of attack is. I like the virus outbreak in Season 3 because drawn-out collateral damage always makes for good drama. Similarly, the nerve gas in 5 and the pathogen in 7 were also awesome. We knew the nuke wouldn't blow in Season 2 or 4 (Although one went off in Season 6).
Rank: 3 (Virus), 5 (Nerve Gas), 7 (Pathogen), 4 (Nuke), 2 (Nuke), 1 (Assassination), 6 (Nuke/Circuit Board)
PRESIDENT: This conversation begins and ends with President David Palmer. No one else on the show has shown that kind of courage and wisdom in the face of danger. Hell, they even bring him in in Season 4 to council Charles Logan because he COULDN'T handle the threat. However, I also loved President Logan because he acted like a meek puppy but was really evil mad genius leading the conspiracy. Wayne Palmer was easily the most absurdly terrible Prez.
Rank: 2 (D. Palmer), 3 (D. Palmer), 1 (Sen. D. Palmer), 5 (Logan), 7 (Taylor), 4 (Keeler/Logan), 6 (W. Palmer/Daniels)
VILLAIN: For this, we won't just look at masterminds because a lot of them aren't revealed until the last few episodes. We have to look at the entire collection of baddies to see which Day had the strongest cast. I like how Season 4 was always about Habib Marwan and they weren't constantly shuffling bad guys, but the best villains were in Season 3. We had the awesome Salazar Brothers, evil Nina Meyers, and the 007-esque Steven Saunders. The worst season was easily season 1 (Dennis Hopper with a lousy accent) and season 6 (Jack's Dad and Brother)
Rank: 3 (Salazars, Saunders), 7 (Tony, Jonas Hodges), 4 (Marwan), 5 (Bierko/Logan), 2 (Sherry Palmer/Kingsley), 6 (Fayed, Bauers), 1 (the Drazens)
SADDEST DEATH: Each season has their fair share of heartbreakers. Teri Bauer was killed off in a twist finale of season 1. Beloved Bill Buchanan and Larry Moss died this year. Loyal Curtis Manning was blown away by Jack in a silly manner in Season 6. I actually hate ranking this category because all of these deaths (George Mason in 2, Ryan Chapelle in 3) tug on the heart strings. In Season 4, Yusef wasn't a big character, but the fact that he was a Muslim agent trying to help CTU and was eventually beaten to death by hick rednecks stupidly thinking he was the enemy breaks my heart. Still, nothing will ever match the 1-2-3-4-5 punch of David Palmer, Michelle Dessler, Fat Edgar Stiles, Lynn McGill, and Tony Almeida (later revealed to be not dead).
Rank: 5, 7, 3, 4, 2, 1, 6
SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: Since we already covered the great villains, it's time to look at the good guys in the White House and at CTU. These people are usually responsible for 24's annnual "Who is the Mole?" Contest. When you break it down, there are 3 dream teams in 24: [Tony, Michelle, and Chloe with the Palmers in the White House (Season 3)], followed by [Renee, Boss Moss, Janice, and Tony with Taylor and Warden Norton (Season 7)], and [Bill, Chloe, and Curtis with the Logans in the White House (Season 5)]. All the other squads can't compare.
Rank: 3, 7, 5, 2, 4, 1, 6
MY RANKINGS: Doesn't reflect the "best" seasons, but these are the ones I enjoyed the most.
Rank: 3, 5, 7, 2, 4, 1, 6
DAY 3 - 42
DAY 7 - 38
DAY 5 - 38
DAY 2 - 28
DAY 4 - 23
DAY 1 - 18
DAY 6 - 8