We are now at that point in the 24 season where I completely stop caring and debate whether or not I should bother continue watching the show.  It happens every season right around this point, and I think that's because the show unfolds the same way every season. New threads are being ludicrously introduced, the threat of moles within the government is growing ever-larger, people are having illicit affairs at the office, and apparently, this season, Bill Buchanan is allowed to run ridiculous operations straight out of the Oval Office.

I'm not going to lie to you, I think it would have been far more intriguing, far more daring and risky on the part of the producers, to have allowed things to get much worse before allowing Jack to do anything about it.  Think about it, the day started with Jack at a Congressional hearing, being grilled about his past actions and his flouting of the law.  We got a few minutes of Jack being asked questions while the world started to unravel.  Wouldn't it have been far better to have Congress spend the whole day asking Jack questions as we got to see things get worse and worse and worse. 

Kurtwood Smith could have sat there on his high horse yelling at Jack repeatedly while we got to see the nefarious terrorist plot unfolding.  The producers could have shown us the incompetence of the FBI and/or any other federal agency that isn't CTU.  Maybe, just maybe, Smith could have been getting intelligence updates handed to him by aides as he kept asking Jack about his “questionable methods.”

That is the 24 I would have liked to have seen this season.  Frankly, that's the 24 I feel like we were promised by the promos.  It would have been daring, it would have been exciting, and it would have been far better than Jack fighting a “foreign element” on U.S. soil once more.  We've seen that, we've seen that just about every season of the show.  I don't know why I expected more, but I did.

Of course, the tactic could have failed miserably, it could have alienated the core 24 audience, convincing them that the show had “jumped the shark.”  But, I've always been of the opinion that you can't win if you don't play, and to me it feels like the producers may have taken the field this season only to walk off after the first few minutes of the game. 

Now, I fully expect that they're going to be able to ratchet up the tension and make things exciting enough for us, but right now I'm spending my time thinking about other ways the season could have gone.  Better ways that the season could have gone.  I'm still up in the air about this new book of Heroes, but at least they seem to be trying something different.  Who knows if it'll work — right now I think it hasn't — but there's still time for it to improve, and I give them credit for doing something different. 

If only 24 had given us the Jack Bauer hearing that it promised.  It may not have allowed Jack to go out and shoot and torture with the sort of regularity he enjoys, but he would have been tortured, and it may have made this the best season yet.