Site ColumnsBy Kristine
November 26, 2003 - 3:26 PM
About halfway through what turned out to be, overall, a very good episode of 24, the scene was set for a tired cliche. Our hero, Jack, and Salazar, the prisoner Jack has to get back to South America before his brother releases a deadly virus on the population of L.A., are being held captive by a group of escaped prisoners. The prisoners have guns, and sure enough, one of them wants to play Russian Roulette.
How many times have we seen this before? Sure, 24 did manage to make it genuinely suspenseful, and actually surprising when the second shot was the one with the bullet (the cliche, in order to build the most suspense, usually never pulls out the bullet before the fourth or fifth shot). But really, what is it with bad guys and Russian Roulette? Don't they know that eventually the good guy is going to turn the gun on them? I guess they're not watching the same movies and television shows that I am.
Watching this episode, which redeemed itself with an unexpected ending, drove home how hard it is to write good TV. Audience expectations are high, especially for a show that's been as consistantly inventive as 24 is. I was even starting to lose faith in my favorite show, Angel at the beginning of the season; my favorite character was gone (in a soap operaesque coma no less!), the remaining characters awkward and disjointed as a group, the stories not living up to the previous years' exciting, ever-evolving story arcs. But leave it to Joss Whedon to throw in a twist so good that it opens up fascinating possibilities for the rest of the season.
As a viewer, I'm hard on my favorite television shows. Looking around the Trek BBS and other similar message boards, it's easy to see I'm not the only one. Sci fi fans expect a lot from our favorite shows, and we're grateful when they deliver. When they don't, well, hell hath no fury like a dissatisfied sci fi fan.
Trek BBS Today
Below are some of the topics currently being discussed at the Trek BBS:
Why don't we see DS9 in syndication? -
The most recycled plots in Sci-Fi TV -
Trek Two Years Ago
Trek stars William Shatner (James T. Kirk), LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge), Robert Picardo (the Holodoc), Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna Torres) and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) competed for charity in the American version of the popular British game show, hosted by Anne Robinson. LeVar Burton ended up narrowly besting Robert Picardo to win the prize.
Voyager's Tom Paris spoke about directing his first episode of Enterprise, the second Temporal Cold War episode of the first season. McNeill, whose directing career began on Voyager, has gone on to direct episodes of Dawson's Creek and Everwood.
Trek illustrator Rick Sternbach announced that he had been asked to work on Nemesis, mainly with the graphics for the film. He also commented on what he would have done differently if he had worked on Enterprise, and about the selection the Akira class design for the NX-01.
Below are the results of the most recent TrekToday poll:
Happy birthday to Ricardo Montalban (Khan Noonien Singh), who turned 83 on November 25th!
Today's Television Listings
- At 8:00pm (7:00pm Central), UPN will be showing Enterprise's "Carpenter Street". Here's how TV Guide describes the episode:
"Acting on a tip from Daniels (Matt Winston), Archer and T'Pol time-travel to the year 2004, where the Xindi are using an abandoned Detroit factory to build a secret weapon."
Find out more information in the episode guide.
Tomorrow's Television Listings