I've overheard a few people at basketball games and parties declare that they became tired of all the craziness in the Fox thrill ride "24" last season and have stopped watching the series.
They're making a mistake.
I'm not saying that this year's horrific day in the life of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) hasn't had its usual share of preposterous moments. It certainly has had some ridiculous twists that have led to as much laughter as tension. I mean can't any President hire people he or she can trust won't become involved in a conspiracy against the United States?
But if you can suspend disbelief and go along for the ride, it's been a helluva year that has had an underlying message that scarily suggests there's a place for torture.
I must admit I was a bit concerned that the series would have a midseason problem after this year's lead terrorist, Dubaku (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), was captured on Monday. It looked like President Taylor (Cherry Jones) was going to be able to easily proceed with her attempt to save people in a small African country from the evil General Juma (Tony Todd), who is trying to overthrow his government and already committed genocide in a previous coup attempt.
But this Monday's two-hour episode is loaded with tense, suspenseful elements, thanks to the surprising arrival in the United States of General Juma and his army of evil-doers.
I hesitate giving you too many details beyond what was revealed in the preview after Monday's episode. To be honest, I think those previews reveal too much.
In any event, General Juma plots an assault on the White House that seems to be something out of a James Bond movie. Oh, and Jon Voight, who played an arms dealer and all-around bad guy in the November prequel set in Africa, also briefly returns.
It's all preposterously entertaining and ends with a can't-miss scene that will test Jack's resourcefulness -- as well as a viewer's ability to suspend disbelief.
Don't miss it.
What have you thought of this season's "24"? What do you think about the message about torture? And how do you think the season will end?
-- Alan Pergament