The problem with ’24’

For years and years John and I lived with almost zero TV. Literally the only  TV in our house was an hour or so of PBS early in the morning for the little kids. But then a couple years ago we discovered the joys of Netfix instant watch, and got into the habit of 42 minutes of TV at bedtime after the kids were off to bed.  A nice time to unwind, you know?

First came Lost. Interesting premise for think-we-could-be-survivalist folks like us, excellent character development, sketchy morals, story that got freakier the longer it went. We watched all the seasons in a year or so, then felt adrift as we tried to find another show that kept us as interested.

Psych was harmless, but a little too goofy. Castle had potential — love the father/daughter relationship– but the show insisted on showing all those dead bodies at the start of each episode. Blah.

Finally we landed on 24 and were intrigued by the characters, the plots, the sheer capability of Jack Bauer. Watched every single episode.

Except we grew more and more troubled by one thing. Over and over again the characters were put in positions where the only thing to do to preserve good was to do wrong. Grey area after grey area after grey area, where always the only answer presented was to do wrong to make right win out. Moral relativity at its most confusing.

We never bought it. Never felt right with the solutions.  The further we got in the story, the more we disliked the choices Jack was making. Yeah, he did it for the ‘greater good’. But, sorry, it’s still wrong to execute your boss. Or do all sorts of other atrocious things.

We watched, hoping I think that he would head back towards right in the end, that he would end up standing for good by doing good. But that moment never came, in spite of all his bravery and his inventiveness and his sheer power– he still thought wrong was OK if it was fighting on behalf of right.

After John and I finished ’24’, we were adrift, scanning options for a good evening entertainment choice.  Netflix in its infinite wisdom suggested that we might like Flashpoint– yet another police drama, this one based in Canada.  We watched the first episode and knew we’d found our show.  It is so much suggestive of ’24’:  intriguing story lines, suspenseful situations, interesting people.

So much like ’24’.

Except.

This is a show with conscience. These folks stand up fearlessly for what is right. This show, instead of having a body count of at least half a dozen per episode— this show believes in protecting life.  These men and women honor their commitments and risk their lives for what is honorable.

Oh, we’ve been enjoying this show.  It was incredibly interesting to watch immediately after ’24’, because it so dramatically shows the difference between moral-less ‘honor’  (where you’ll do dishonorable things for the sake of ‘right’) and real, true honor.  Where you do the right thing whether or not it is painful, whether or not it gets you your desired outcome.  These men are real heroes.

They fight for what’s right.  They honor life. They show integrity.

What amazing concepts.  What an amazing show.

Thanks, 24 and Flashpoint, for reminding us of the difference between an action figure and a true hero.

Even if it is just in a TV show.

{ 32 Comments }

  1. ♥, ♥, ♥ Flashpoint! I discovered it one night in ION-TV and then went To Netflix to start at the beginning and barrel through the whole show. I was distraught to find out it was cancelled, and cannot wait to go back and watch it all over again…

    Though there are dead bodies, another good one is a BBC show called ‘Waking the Dead’. It is a cold case show, and the premise for the US version called “Cold Case”. But oh so better.

    You have to watch it from Episode 1, to get all the intricate character development and all. But well worth it, and on Netflix. I had to wait to buy Season 6 this time last year, so am now waiting for Season 7 to come out.

  2. Oh, we’ve been greatly enjoying Castle… The bodies initially made me not like it too, but kept watching and I was very quickly stuck. There is always a body at the start(and the occasional serial killer, I guess), yes, but I just don’t watch that bit and once they’ve got it to the morgue it’s all good. Great characters, great relationships. Eeking out the last few episodes until the next season releases at an as-yet unannounced date. I hate being caught up on shows, lol. Also waiting on Psych, another favorite.

    You might also try “Leverage”. Kind of a vigilante, financial justice thing. They aren’t completely breaking the rules, incriminating things just end up in the pockets of the villains when the police finally show up. Some fighting, but few bodies. Good characters, lots of humour, cool “toys”.

    Guess we’ll have to delve into “Flashpoint” while waiting for our other shows to get going again!

  3. We love Psych! Maybe because it is goofy!

    We also enjoyed Eli Stone, which has some good God moments in it, but they didn’t go far enough with it, in my opinion – didn’t last very long.

    Try Eureka too – science-based, but not sci-fi enough that you have to love science to love the show.

  4. We also liked “Life” and “Lie to me”.

  5. I like Psych when I’m in the mood for goofy. If you aren’t in that mind frame, it’s just silly. I never watched Lost, or 24, or Castle. I do love Flashpoint, though. There are definitely some moral questions brought up, and they do stick to the good side even when sometimes that really doesn’t seem most expedient.

    My sister likes Leverage, as someone mentioned above. She just sent me her first two seasons that she had bought on disc so I can try it out. She watches the newer seasons on Netflix, so it should be there. (I don’t have that service or I’d look it up.)

  6. Yrah, we quit watching 24 the season after he shot his boss for just those reasons… And we wereboth having disturbing dreams.lol. We might have to look into Flashpoint!

  7. Leverage is fun – but I love the original BBC version called ‘Hustle’. MI-5 is another great action show. And my favorite show ever is Alias – the first season will knock your socks off!

  8. Funny, this is SO much like what we’ve gone through. We, too, started, after many years of no TV, watching a bit at bedtime. We, too, began with LOST-loved it at first, then decided it was just too weird and quit. We’ve tried several crime shows, wincing at all the bodies and hideous lifestyles, and really enjoyed Castle (except for a few that were just inappropriate.) We never really got into 24, though I think dh watched a couple on his own. We did go all the way through the Mentalist and just finished all of Psych, though I decided that a steady diet of that became a little too much foolishness by the time it was over. We’ve watched a few of Flashpoint, but I had kind of forgotten about it, so thanks for the rec. Our latest discovery is White Collar–have only watched a couple, but it’s refreshing in that it actually portrays a healthy, happy marriage relationship. We thought that was pretty exciting to see–rare these days! 🙂

    • I was going to suggest White Collar too. I love that show especially because I remember Tiffany Theissen from Beverly Hills 90210. I watch the most recent episodes on hulu.

  9. I loved LOST and stuck with it too the end. I also loved Alias and the X-Files.
    I watched I think the 2nd season of 24 when it was on and loved it, and then the first episode of season 3 he was on herion or something and I never went back.
    You might like Doctor Who. It’s a sci-fi british show, but it is technically a kids show so it’s relatively clean as far as language/violence. Any violence is of the unrealistic aliens with lasers variety, and the Doctor tries really hard to save people from themselves and is himself a pacifist even though bad stuff happens around him sometimes and he can’t always stop it. Start with the newer seasons (Either the 2005 season or the 2010 are good places to start) because the show has been around for nearly 50 years and the old ones feel a bit dated now.

  10. We like Psych and Leverage, but my son introduced me to Sherlock. I wasn’t too sure about a version of Sherlock Holmes done in modern London, but it turned out to be very well done. I think that it provides some insight into how Holmes may have been perceived in Victorian England. We’re so used to him he doesn’t come across quite as freaky as he may have. And while you like this modern Sherlock Holmes, he does come across as rather an odd duck. My only complaint is that it’s a short first season and it took a long while to wait for the second, which I notice is now out on disk. I wouldn’t let younger than high school watch it, though.

    • Is this the Sherlock being advertised with Lucy Lui or a different one. If it is the one with Lucy Lui, we will not be able to see it aired here for a few weeks. But my girls are advid Sherlock fans, so they are really looking forward to this one. Without seeing an episode, what we have seen- it looks like it will be more detecting and less gore!

      • Sherlock with Bennedict Cumberbatch. Kind of violent, but not anywhere near as violent as some other crime shows. Very good. We own the second season on DVD and the first season is on Netflix streaming. Highly recommend for older kids/adults.

  11. Found “Borgin” a month or so ago and find the behind the scenes story of a high-powered female politician to be interesting and the politics that go on everyday are eye-opening. Subtitled in English but spoken in Dutch makes it even more fun I think.
    Mostly though in the evening hours like to read or work on cross stitch projects for Christmas.

  12. How did you watch Castle? It doesn’t show up as an instant stream for me and I’ve been wanting to try it. You might try White Collar too. I actually LOVE a ton of the shows that USA Network does but a lot of their others might be a bit racy for your taste. White Collar features an ex-Con Man who goes to work for the FBI to help them solve white collar crimes. Great characters, well written, set in NYC (which I love).

    • Julie, We watched it on the DVDs, which (come to think of it) is part of the reason we quit watching. We didn’t like tying up one of our DVD rental for days til we had a chance to watch all four episodes on the disk.
      Mary

  13. You might like Parenthood too. Not so much mystery but has great story lines & characters – adoption storyline in season two.

    • lots of people really love the characters and family dynamics of parenthood, but after a full season i decided it was much too annoying for me. several of the characters repeatedly make poor decisions and i grew more irritated and found it harder to believe as the season went on. i don’t mean to be contrary; i just wanted to offer another viewpoint.

  14. Try Doc Martin. Downtown Abbey. Bones. North and South. We’ve enjoyed these.

  15. We are in exactly the same boat!! (No TV and now Netflix) 🙂

    I second the nominations of Downton Abbey and North and South that Marcy mentioned above! If you enjoy historical drama/romance, these are excellent. Downton Abbey (thus far) has had a few inappropriate scenes, but they are mild. (1 premarital relationship that is a critical event in the storyline, 1 brief suggestion of a same-gender relationship, and 1 flirt with infidelity that is ultimately resisted and condemned…that’s all I can remember!) The storyline, acting, and positive moral messages are worth the watch though!

    For action/drama, we’ve really enjoyed Numb3rs. It’s a crime drama, so it does focus on murder and other themes, but it’s rarely graphic (save for the pilot episode!) and has a wonderful sideline story of family relationships which is often humorous. There are occasional inappropriate scenes and a bit more mild language in the later seasons.

    My husband loves Lie to Me, so I’ll have to ask him to give me a more detailed description to pass on later. We’re currently watching Psych together and, despite its immaturity (or because of?), we love it. It makes me laugh…a lot…which is a nice way to wind down in the evening. 🙂

  16. Mary,

    You might try Larkrise to Candleford (although it got cancelled in season 4) and Downton Abbey (though do watch out for those few brief scenes already mentioned by another commenter). We’ve enjoyed those shows in our 42 minutes post-bedtime!

  17. have y’all watched the west wing? one of my husband’s & my favorites to watch together. the writing is smart, the characters are lovable, and it’s interesting, funny, poignant and thought-provoking. it’s only available via dvd, but for my money it’s highly worth the space it takes up in your queue.

    i wonder if you might like chuck? it’s fluffy and a little silly, but fun, and it’s online at theWB.com. (pushing daisies is also on theWB site; it’s also fluffy and mildly innuendo-y but SO CUTE! besides a cool premise and adorable characters, the colors and sets and costumes are great.)

    parks and recreation is a current show on nbc that, to me, is like a breath of fresh air because it isn’t negative or cruel or built on drama and tension. it’s HAPPY! it can be risque at times (mostly language [always bleeped out], and some innuendo), but the characters are wonderful. very relatable and believable and sweet, and it really improves as it goes on, unlike lost.

  18. I just wanted to let you know that Flashpoint is a wonderful choice for me. My husband and I watched it tonight because of your review. It is just my speed. 24 was too fast paced and violent for me. I would go to bed with my mind racing. My husband actually likes Flashpoint too. It has great character development and you are right, great heroes with good morals. Let us know the next series you choose.

  19. Leverage is amazingly good. White Collar is great. Burn Notice is a guy who gets burned the very minute he does wrong for the greater good and then spends a season trying to fix it. His greatest struggles are when he’s selling out and his friends call him on it.

    A list of shows that we wished would have lasted longer: Life, Eureka, Eli Stone

    Stargate is an old Sci-Fi classic. It gets wierd (even for sci-fi wierd) after about the 7th season. But its a good unwind after the kids are in bed show.

    Sherlock and Homeland are our new favs. Homeland has too much sex in so we’re a bit bummed by it but we love the story line. We’re moving slowly through it because we get burned out on the sex and then we come back because the story intrigues. Sherlock we’re just waiting on it to start again. love it.

  20. We’ve really enjoyed Monk.

  21. I love Flashpoint! Haven’t watched 24 am watching Friday Night Lights (again) right now. I wouldn’t want my younger kids to see it, obviously, and there is a cuss word here and there, but I love the relationships, the family working through real life situations and friendships that change through the years. Besides, it’s the best acting around, and from a former actress, I like that!