Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What I'm Watching - Heroes and 24 Season Finales

Now I'm officially exhausted. Immediately after the Detroit Pistons defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (holding on for dear life) I watched the season finale of Heroes, and the two-hour season finale of 24. It's now close to 2:00 AM, I'll be waking up for work in about five hours, and it was all worth it, because, the Pistons won, and both the Heroes and 24 season finales were satisfying and shocking. Well, maybe more so for Heroes than 24 (but that's been the case all season). More on the season finales after the jump below for those that aren't crazy like me and haven't watched them yet.

Okay, so I watched the Heroes season finale first, and like the entire season, it was awesome. The entire season built to this point, and the finale delivered, giving us potential deaths, and satisfying conclusions, and plenty of questions to leave us scratching our heads until the fall (did Greg Grunberg's Matt Parkman survive? What happened to the Petrelli Brothers? Is Slyar really dead or did he somehow sneak down that manhole? And how did Hiro transport himself back in time four hundred years?)

What was great was, while all of those new questions will keep fans interested and talking until the fall, the main storyline from this season, the exploding Sylar (or Peter) was resolved, and all of the major characters got involved. Each got to take the stage and show off in the last few minutes, every character relevant, and it all led to an ending which made sense. Hiro stabbing Sylar; Nathan, at the last moment, saving his brother, and saving New York, perhaps at the cost of his death; Micah using his power to save Molly and his parents; Nikki finally harnessing the power of Jessica without becoming Jessica. I can't wait until next fall for "Chapter Two: Generations." Not only to find out what happened to some of my favorite TV characters, but, as the title of the chapter perhaps foreshadows, maybe where these heroes come from, and where their offspring are going in the future.

As for 24, well, it was a decent end to a very uneven season. It was nice to see Bill Buchanan back and helping Jack. He should have been doing that all along. I'm hoping next season, when hopefully we see Jack fighting terror in the private sector, Bill will be with him. The show really missed him when he wasn't in the middle of things.

Overall, I just think the whole Bauer family story just didn't work this year. While we may have seen terrorist storylines again and again on 24, I'm just not sure we cared enough about Josh Bauer and how his grandfather wanted him and wanted to take him out of the country, to really care that Jack and Bill were trying to save him. And maybe it was also that, because Jack's dad was absent for the whole middle of the season, we never quite understood his motivations. Last season, despite killing President Palmer and doing all the evil things Jack's brother did, it seemed like it was, at least in the mind of Jack's brother, in the best interest of the country.

With Jack's dad, though, working with the terrorists (or, not really working with them, or whatever it was), then with the Chinese (which would have led to a war between the Russians and the US) it was just confusing, and non-nonsensical, and there was no reason for the viewer to care. I guess Jack's dad wanted to move to China, but, because I didn't really care about Jack's dad, I didn't really care about him wanting to move to China and lead the US to war in the process.

Which was the same problem we had with the Russians. The Russians threatening an attack was just, I don't know. It should have been tense, and I didn't find it to be. Neither did the proposed strike on the oil rig containing Josh Bauer. Maybe because it was 1:00 AM by that point and I had already watched the Pistons and Heroes. But, more likely, it was because the storyline was just not that well developed, and didn't give me a reason to care.

As for the action scenes themselves, they were pretty good, but predictable. Of course Jack's dad double-crossed CTU as expected. And of course he was able to quickly disable Josh's tracker. It's too bad they injured Ricky Schroder's character. He was the best CTU field agent since Tony Almeida (in terms of acting the part), and had 24 really wanted to shake things up, and kill Jack, he would have done really well in the lead role I think. And of course Jack saved Josh just in time before the F-18's bombed where Jack's dad was hiding out. And while at least Chloe got to do something (becoming pregnant I guess is something) and it brought her and Miles back together, which was nice, one of this season's biggest failures (which is saying a lot since it had A LOT of failures) was not using Chloe more. Most unintentionally hilarious way to tell somebody you are pregnant too. Completely Chloe-esque.

As a big fan of William DeVane, I loved the show ending with him and Jack. Two powerhouse actors, and Jack fighting for Audrey, showing us a side of him we haven't really seen before. And finally showing anger over not being rescued in China, that made a lot of sense. What Audrey's dad was saying was completely understandable too. He's right. Jack can try to walk away, but he always gets pulled back in, and the people he loves always die. And him realizing that, and letting Audrey go, it was the best 10 minutes of the entire season. And had the rest of the 23 hours and 50 minutes been like that, we would have been fine.

And as for the rumors (unfounded as it turns out) of Tony coming back at the end? I'm happy he didn't. Tony's dead, and should be, and to somehow bring him back would both strain credibility and the whole history of the show. Yes, having Tony back would be great, but, the way the season ended was just fine. It's just too bad the rest of the season wasn't the same.

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