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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

24: The Dana Walsh Problem

     After eight years, it has become apparent that Fox’s 24, despite all of the exciting twists, turns, and torture, is a formula show.  It feels fresh every year, but there are certain elements in place.  For instance, we all know that there will be a mole in CTU, the CTU boss will clash heads and not listen to Jack at some point, and Jack will be proven right and save the day, but suffer some personal sacrifice.  The part of the formula, however, that doesn’t work, but keeps popping up, is the whiny CTU agent with some family or personal issue.

      This season that subplot is made worse by the fact that the character is Dana Walsh, who is played by the great Katee Sackhoff.  Fans of Battlestar Galactica, thrilled that Starbucks would be on the action packed series, tuned in excitedly, waiting for Dana to kick some butt.  Instead, she sits in an office and calls her ex-boyfriend, blackmailed and subservient.  It has gone on for a third of the season now, and still has not dissipated.  Surely, Dana will eventually get to do something cool once the whole mess is behind her, but when will that be?  Instead, it’s dragging down the otherwise awesome show.

      Why must 24 even go down this road, time after time?  It’s not like they can’t write better stuff.  They do.  And yet, it keeps coming back.  Perhaps it’s reasoned as a time filler, a way to bring down the adrenaline for a few minutes.  After all, audiences would have a stroke if Jack keeps running and shooting for twenty four hours straight.  But please, please, please remember next season, if there is a next season, to leave the whiny character at home, not in the action, and do not make it Starbuck.

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