Inching towards mediocrity.


Five Weird Ways to Create Energy (Now with 30% more better dressed hamsters!)

Many people might not know this about me, but environmental and energy issues are something of an interest of mine, so that’s what we’ll be discussing today!

For as long as mankind has had power, we seem to be trying to develop new and interesting ideas to create it.

I'm not sure if this counts.

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Day-by-day. (Now with 100% less Season Six!)

Well.

Two more days to endure of “24” week!

DEAL WITH IT.

Today we examine the individual seasons of “24,” ranked from of course worst to best. There have been seven seasons of the show so far, but as I already ranted about my displeasure at Season Six yesterday, I’ve decided to move on and leave it off today’s list.

Rest assured though, that if it was on here…it would be last.

Dead last.

Six: Season Four.

Despite the rampant awesomeness of having the mummy as the main villain, Season Four couldn’t really live up to any of it’s expectations. Ridiculous terrorist plot after ridiculous terrorist plot kept elevating the threat to mammothly outlandish proportions. By the end, I wasn’t really sure what the hell was going on. Marwan (the mummy) while a pretty badass villain had way to many contingency/escape plans. It was just poor writing. Everytime the authorities would close in on him, ready to foil whatever act of terror he was planning to unleash, he would conveniantly escape through a back exit/staircase/trick ladder, ready to start a new, bigger, better plan.

It just got to be a bit too much.

Oh…and, also…I may be wrong on this, but I think this may be the only season of the show where a major character isn’t killed off.

Highlights: Jack’s videogame-like assault on a terrorist headquarters; the surprise re-emergence of Tony; the mummy.

Five: Season Three.

Season Three started off pretty well. In an effort to infiltrate a drug cartel, Jack got himself addicted to heroin. He also got himself a new partner, in the form of hunky Chase Edmunds. It’s usually a bad sign when a series adds a young partner like that, but Chase was surprisingly solid. He was an adequate foil for Jack, and I genuinely would have liked to see more of him.

The villains this season were an interesting affair, beginning with the delightfully charming Salazar brothers and ending with the delightfully British Stephen Saunders – who had amazing potential but was, naturally, pretty much wasted.

The season revolved around some virus with the capacity to kill the whole world or something, and CTU’s efforts to stop it. It also featured the emergence of fan favorite Chloe O’Brien, an interesting (and first of many) twist on the tired mole cliche, and Jack, as always, confronting his personal demons.

At some point Tony also got shot in the neck, but was on his feet glowering and barking orders a few hours later. He’s a trooper, that guy!

Highlights: Michelle gets tough in a hotel; Sherry dies (finally.); Chloe makes her first appearance; Jack plays a game of Russian Roulette; Jack kills Chappelle; Jack kills Nina; Jack doesn’t kill the main villain. (Actually, that was kind of lame.)

Four: Season One.

This is where it all began, seven or so odd years ago. (Which is like nineteen in the “24” world.) We’re introduced to the greatest hero of all time, his annoying family, and the Counter Terrorist Unit – all tropes that would become, more or less, series staples until the Seventh Season.

It was at times meandering, at times inane (especially whilst covering whatever shenanigans Kim and Teri had gotten themselves into) and at times overstayed it’s welcome.

Still, it had it’s moments – including a scenery-chewing, bizarrely accented Dennis Hopper as the main villain, and the final scene.

Also, Lou Diamond Phillips showed up near the end for some reason – and that alone puts it higher on this list.

Highlights: We meet JACK BAUER; Nina was weirdly attractive; Dennis Hopper’s accent; Lou Diamond Phillips.

Three: Season Seven.

This should have been it. From the outset, Season Seven sounded like it might just be the be-all-end-all of “24” seasons. And while it didn’t quite make it that far, it came damn close.

This is what we knew initially: for one thing, Season Seven would be the first season of “24” to leave Los Angeles, the city that had endured terrorists wrath for six years. That was pretty big. Then, we found out that CTU was being done away with as well – in favour of the Effa Bee Eye, in Washington, D.C.

Then we got wind of the sexy new partner for Jack – the beautiful (but deadly!) Agent Renee Walker, played by the talented (but deadly!) Annie Wershing. Add to that a villain played by acadamy award winner Jon Voight, and another bad guy played by the always dependable B-movie star Tony Todd, and brotha, you got a stew going.

Then came the biggest news of all – Tony Almeida would be returning from the dead somehow as Jack’s newest adversary. Saint’s alive!

And, for good measure, it was coming off the heels of the worst season in the shows history. Not a tough act to follow.

While this all sounds epic to the max on paper, it faltered a bit in execution. It was still one of the strongest seasons of the show, with some great thrills, scenes, acting, characters and guest stars. Plus, it pretty much completely did away with the core “24” cast (or what was left of it) and gave us dozens of new characters – the strongest of which may have been the new president in the “24” universe, Allison Taylor played by Cherry Jones. (Jones would win an Emmy that year for her portrayal of the strong-willed Taylor.)

Good, maybe even great, but it could have been better…nitpicking, sure, but too many twists and some truly insipid character motivations didn’t help, either – like the amazing flip-flopping Almeida. Even by the end, I don’t really know if he was good, or evil, or what.

Janene Garafalo showed up this season for some reason as well. That didn’t help, either.

Highlights: Jon Voight; Jack’s fight with henchman Quinn; Senator Red Foreman; Bill’s sacrifice; Aaron Pierce and Ethan Kanin’s Hardy Boys Mysteries subplot; Renee Walker.

Two: Season Two.

Jack Bauer was a pretty broken man coming into the show’s second season. After the death of his wife, he kind of went off the rails a bit – which turned out to be entertaining as hell for the viewer.

Season Two revolved around an impending nuclear attack on Los Angeles, organized by a Middle Eastern terrorist cell – manipulated by wealthy American businessmen led by Peter Kingsley (the dude from “Saw.”)

It was one of the more intense seasons of the show, with very few useless subplots (though there may have been something with a cougar…dammit, Kim!) and some great action – including a bombing at CTU.

It also featured a heroic and dramatic sendoff for George Mason, Jack’s boss for the first few seasons. Although kind of a douche, George redeemed himself this season and became a fan favorite because of it.

Highlights: Kate Warner; Jack’s infamous running-wall-neck-snap; Michelle and Tony start getting it on; the  cougar dude from “Saw.”

One: Season Five.

Jack Bauer takes on the President of the United States of America.

Also RoboCop. And the dude from “Warlock.” And C. Thomas Howell.

It’s pretty damn awesome.

This season had it all – one of the best sets of villains I’ve ever seen on the show; some great acting from Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart as the President and his first lady; and super-human secret service agent Aaron Pierce blew up a dude wearing a flame-thrower.

SOLD.

Highlights: The shocking first episode deaths; that fat hobbit’s sacrifice; Aaron Pierce’s expanded role; Edgar’s death; Jack deploying another famous neck snap; Jack’s final shoot-out with Henderson; the Logans.

Well.

Tomorrow we close out “24 Week” with the five best moments in the show’s history.

And then I will return you to your regularly scheduled blog!



Bauer’s Baddies. (Now with 71% less Dennis Hopper!)

Well.

“24” week continues with a (hopefully) quick look at some of “24’s” Greatest Villains.

Again, spoilers lie ahead…be weary, fair traveller.

Seven: Jonas Hodges, Season 7, Redemption. (Jon Voight.)Jonas Hodges

Angelina Jolie’s biological father was born to be a “24” villain. And the man did not disappoint. Chewing the scenery with gleeful abandon every step of the way, Jon Voight proved to be a formidable opponent for Jack Bauer – and whoever else got in his way along the way. Hodges fast became one of my favorite Big Bads in the entire series, and I had high hopes on his returning in the future to antagonize Jack over and over again. Sadly, it turned out that he actually wasn’t the dude in charge, and was just another pawn in an increasingly ridiculous operation, and he exited the series…well, kind of lamely.

Too bad…he coulda ranked a helluva lot higher! Still a fun ride while it lasted, though.

Six: Habib Marwan, Season Four. (Arnold Vosloo.)

Habib MarwanIn Season Four, Jack Bauer was menaced by the Mummy. That’s right, the Mummy.

I kid you not.

Okay, so it was just the dude who played the mummy in those horrible Brendan Frasor films, but still.

The Mummy.

I have nothing else to add here.

Five: Christopher Henderson, Season Five. (Peter Weller.)Christopher Henderson

So we had the Mummy terrorizing Los Angeles in Season Four – that’s a tough act to follow. But the producers were more than up to the challenge.

They brought in RoboCop.

Christopher Henderson was once Jack’s mentor, and that’s cool – he’s basically an older, grizzleder, meaner Jack Bauer. The perfect nemesis, in other word. Not only can he predict Jack’s methods, but Jack can predict that he can predict his methods, so he realizes that his normal methods are all but useless – forcing him to find new methods, which I guess means Henderson didn’t really predict anything at all.

Still pretty badass, though.

Four: Tony Almeida, Season Seven. (Carlos Bernard.)

Tony AlmeidaIf Christopher Henderson is Jack in twenty years, than Tony Almeida is Jack now – which is far more lethal. Add to that the emotional element of discovering that your best friend, partner, and really the “only man you can trust” is now your adversary, and we have the makings of the ultimate “24” villain. Or so I thought.

The writers didn’t seem to want to commit to Tony one way or the other – they wanted him to be the bad guy but didn’t seem to want him to be, you know, evil. Key element there.

So instead we got a mostly bad Tony, but a Tony who was bad for the right reasons. It turned him into a more tragic figure than an outright villain, and while I enjoyed the more complex journey he ended up taking, part of me still really wanted to see some hardcore Bauer vs. Almeida action.

Oh well…at least they didn’t kill him off this time.

Three: Mandy, Season One, Two and Four. (Mia Kirshner.)Mandy

Here’s a character that needs to return, like yesterday. While appearing in three separate seasons, Mandy has only appeared in seven episodes. Yet she still clocks in at Number Three.

That’s pretty incredible.

Mysterious, deadly, and, let’s face it, hot, Mandy has been a thorn in Jack’s side long before the two even came face-to-face. She always seems to appear at the worst possible moment, shocking the viewer and messing things up for Bauer and Co. even more. Whether she’s leaping out of exploding planes or poisoning presidents with a simple handshake, she’s generally pretty awesome. She’s still alive as well, which is a rarity for “24” characters, let alone villains, and hasn’t shown up since Season Four.

I’d say her unique brand of havoc is long overdue.

Two: Nina Meyers, Season One, Two and Three. (Sarah Clarke.)

Nina MeyersOf all the enemies on this list, I think it’s safe to say that Nina Meyers has had the most impact on Jack. She was kind of his arch-nemesis over the course of the first three seasons, and a seemingly unstoppable one at that. She started off as Jack’s most trusted ally and friend, and ended the day by killing his wife, Teri.

Jack was never a very good judge of character.

Nina would return in Season Two and Season Three to once again tangle with Bauer, and haunt him about his wife’s death. I’ve always said that a really solid, returning antagonist would really up the ante of the shows threat level, and Nina was perfect in the role.

And then, in the third season, Jack shot her like sixty times.

One: President Charles Logan, Season Five. (Gregory Itzin.)President Charles Logan

When it was revealed midway through Season Five that it was the President who had been behind the events of that day, no one even questioned it. It was unexpected, it was terrifying, it…didn’t make a whole lot of sense. But we bought it. Without question. Because the writing was quality, but more importantly: because Greg Itzin, who had played Logan since his introduction in Season One, was just that good.

Logan’s characteristic bumbling and poor decision making skills had been an act – and we believed it because of Itzin’s performance. He (and Jean Smart, who played his wife Martha) were unbelievable that season, treading the fine line between duplicity and outright lying to your audience. They had great chemistry; and they both knew their characters inside and out.

But never mind the acting…the mere thought of the president, the most powerful man in the world being a terrorist was just too delicious for the writers of the show to pass up. Even if Logan’s turn to the dark side hadn’t been telegraphed from the very beginning (they say it was, but I think they’re lying) it was an intriguing premise – one that led to one of the best seasons of the show, and undoubtably, the show’s best villain.