24 and Battlestar Galactica Premieres

Before I start, I need to apologize for not doing any new cigar reviews this week. I’ve done a lot of posts about the government intruding on our right to smoke cigars (anything new there?). Today I’m going to talk about one television premiere that I’ve watched (24) and one that hasn’t happened yet (Battlestar Galactica).

[IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE PREMIERE OF 24 YET THEN STOP READING]

Jack is back! Not only that but 24 is back on track, which, based off of last season, I wasn’t sure was going to happen. No longer is there some apocalyptic threat that Jack has to single-handedly stop but rather a more manageable African coup with a side of domestic evilness.

However, bringing Tony back does seem like a stretch and their explanation (the bad guys pumped him full of drugs to make him look dead, which is actually what happened to Jack – minus the bad guys – at the end of a season a while back) seems a little far-fetched. But, oh well, there has to be at least a modicum of unbelievability with every episode of 24 and I like Tony so I’m glad he’s back. (Think they’ll bring Curtis back? No, probably not.)

What I especially like about this season is that it’s finally getting into a situation I’m really liking. No longer is it “Jack fighting authority” but rather we have a patriotic/rogue Jack doing things the government should be doing; like working with an ex-bad guy (Tony) to bring down an evil organization. The world we live in is filled with nefarious people and the sooner we realize that you have to get in the mud to deal with them the better.

One thing that really struck a cord with me about the first four episodes of this season of 24 was how Jack wanted “to get things out in the open.” He’s absolutely right, we’re not babies and we shouldn’t be shielded from the bad things our military/clandestine services have to do to protect us. We don’t need to know who they have detained or where but I think it might be best to learn what they are doing with the detainees. (There is the small issue of international law and diplomatic relations that might make this a little troublesome however.)

And to a large extent I think we already know these things. Over the last couple of weeks I have heard a couple of different numbers on how many people have been sanctioned to be tortured at the hands of US operatives in the War on Terror. In all those cases the number was less than 10. We also know how detainees in Club Gitmo are treated (they get nice meals and better health care than many Americans) and we know what happened in Abu Ghraib.

In reality, it actually looks like Jack tortures more people any given day than the whole US military/clandestine services does in a decade. Is this a good thing? I don’t know, I have never been in a situation where I needed to get information out of a bloodthirsty terrorist. But I will tell you this: If we trust these men and women to judiciously kill the enemy I believe we should trust them to judiciously extract information from the bad guys. Obviously, if they pull an Abu Ghraib they should be punished because there was no purpose, other than sadism, for what they did – but that should go without saying though.

Basically, 24 is the perfect series for this time in America. We’re a nation that will cheer on Jack Bauer while he hacks off a man’s head but some of us get squeamish and lose our nerve (still from the safety of a couch) when Guantanimo is brought up on the news. As a nation, like Jack said, we have to come to grips with what we’re going to allow our operatives to do.

In many ways Battlestar Galactica (BG) also came at the perfect time for America. BG is basically a metaphor for our post-9/11 world. In BG a terrorist strike wipes out most of humanity and whats left of humanity flees in search of a mythical place called “Earth.” To increase the intensity up to 11 the terrorists (robots created by people to make things easier) can look like humans, which means anyone can be a terrorist (sound familiar?), and the robots endlessly hunt down the remnants of mankind in an attempt to wipe every last one of us away.

Many of the conflicts on BG revolve around civil liberties and the tug-of-war between security and freedom. Because of this central struggle on the show it quickly became a favorite of mine. It is difficult grappling with such consequential issues (in a sci-fi sense, of course) like should the government be allowed to test everyone’s blood to see if they’re human or Cylon (robot) or who has final say over what happens to humanity’s last fleet.

At the end of last season – which actually was just the midpoint through the last season – oh, never mind – they actually found Earth. An Earth that has been ravaged by nuclear war, but still, they found us! (Or what will be us or what was us, I have no idea – it is SciFi after all.)

The series continues with the first episodes of this last (half) season tonight and I will definitely be watching because they reveal who the last Cylon that looks like a human is. And I’m excited to learn what is going to happen to the dying president, to the Admiral, and what caused the nuclear holocaust on our planet.

Both 24 and BG are important shows. They are more than just needless action fixes but rather metaphors for what is going on in the world today. If I could only watch two shows for the next six months these would be the two shows.

And I promise that I will have a cigar review tomorrow. 🙂

Published by Travis Lindsay

I am a guy who smokes cigars.

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