24 Blog 9.5: Panic Station

24 9 5-2

For all concerned, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve arrived at Panic Station.

The British Prime Minister (my wife still laughs whenever Stephen Fry is on screen, for the sheer absurdity of it all) has to be freaking the hell out right now, because he stands to lose far more than Big Dick Heller does. He stuck his neck out for Big Dick – let’s pause for a moment and examine that sentence, ‘stuck his neck out for Big Dick,’ shall we? – by defending the Americans’ drone program, and that decision might cost thousands of Londoners their lives. We have a small quibble with Mommie Dearest’s video, though. She made a point about how her group spared the innocent, then threatened to bomb London if Heller didn’t surrender to her, meaning that she had contradicted herself, on tape, within seconds. Terrorists: if you can’t trust them to be true to their word, who can you trust?

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24 Blog 9.4: Wrapped Around Your Finger

24 9 4-2

Too soon?

Last week I made the rather safe and obvious prediction that Mommie Dearest would put her own daughter down like a dog the moment that Simone threatened to betray her. What I didn’t expect was that Mommie would give the order to chop off her daughter’s fingers in order to get her daughter’s conscience-stricken husband to fall in line and command the drones. Then again, Mommie did say that she would do “whatever is necessary” to change Navid’s mind, and damned if she didn’t mean every word. In retrospect, Simone is probably embarrassed that she didn’t see that coming.

Still, holy shit, that actually happened.

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24 Blog 9.3: The Angry Mob

24 9 3-1

“We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day / We like who we like, we hate who we hate, but we’re also easily swayed.”

Well, you’re a mob, so by definition, you’re prone to outrage and righteous indignation. As an added bonus, not having all of the facts makes it easier for your collective conscience to rationalize your behavior. “So tonight, you’ll sleep softly in your beds…”

The Kaiser Chiefs – writers of the above lyrics, and this week’s blog title – never really established more than a cult following here in the States – and that makes sense, given their overt “Britishness,” for lack of a better word – but damn, do I love those guys. And their new record, the politically charged Education, Education, Education and War, is their best in ages. All right, Shameless Plug of the Week ends here.

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24 Blog: 9.1/9.2 – Good Morning Britain

24_1-1

Aaaaaaaaand we’re back! First, I’d like to thank Fox for giving me a four-year vacation from blogging “24.” It was much needed, long overdue, and I enjoyed every minute of it, but I am refreshed and ready for duty, sir. So, what are we doing this year?

Ah, of course: we’re doing the same damn thing, only in London.

To be fair, the setup for this season isn’t awful; it’s just not any different than any other season. Jack Bauer, a wanted man in three countries, is still carrying out his duties as a counter-terrorist agent, despite the fact that his own countrymen consider him a terrorist. They’ve done this before, you may remember, when he began a season undercover as an employee for a Mexican drug cartel. Wasn’t that adorable? At least this premise makes more sense. Jack has always fought to protect the best interests of the United States; he just didn’t have much of a filter when it came to interrogating anyone he considered an enemy of the state. Foreign, domestic, whatever. If you mess with the USA, you will answer to me.

And who is the president now? Why, none other than Big Dick Heller! This is a contrived move but a savvy one as well. He’s a much-loved supporting character by “24” fans, and as an added bonus, Jack’s involvement with Big Dick’s daughter Audrey led to her abduction and subsequent torture at the hands of the Chinese government. Audrey is now married to Big Dick’s chief of staff Mark Boudreau (official “24” nickname: Hercules, because yes, he was the voice of Hercules in the 1997 Disney movie), and he doesn’t want Jack’s name even mentioned in front of Audrey, for fear it will cause her to relapse into the catatonic state that she was in when we last saw her. But that’s all busy plot stuff. What is really happening here?

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“They said, ‘Hey, you’re blonde, awesome, when can you start?’ Easiest, audition, ever. Wait, is there a catch?”

Someone’s plotting to kill Big Dick on foreign soil, and they just did a test run on the murder weapon (a US drone, which is as heavy-handed as irony gets) by hijacking a drone pilot’s memory key and setting him up for the fall. Off-the-grid Jack intercepted intel that mentioned an assassination attempt on Big Dick, which is why he allowed himself to get caught by the CIA so he can break out Chloe, who’s gone all Wikileaks since we last saw her, and was being held in the CIA equivalent of Zed’s basement, only with torture instead of rape.

This might sound loyal or even romantic, but really, he broke her out because the person responsible for the drone strike is one of her now-former coworkers, who thankfully doesn’t live to the end credits of the second hour, for a couple of reasons. The guy is rightly paranoid about being afraid for his life since dead men collect no cash, yet he doesn’t suspect that the undersexed Russian Barbie doll he calls a girlfriend might be in fact an English assassin employed to kill him (hell, he didn’t even notice that she was wearing a wig). That needed to happen. Thank you, Fox. We may curse your name later but for now, we thank you. And bonus points for having her twist the knife in his head. That was a nice extra dose of nastiness.

Each blog post is based on a song title, and this week’s title comes courtesy of my lovely wife, after I complained that all of the songs with “London” in the title didn’t quite fit (I’m going to save those for later, with the hope that they might work out). The funny thing is that this song was co-written by Roddy Frame, who’s Scottish, but he has Mick Jones, a member of UK rock royalty, joining him, so it’s all good.

  

The Light from the TV Shows: Chatting with the Cast of WGN’s ‘Salem’

For years, WGN has been a network that’s gotten precious little notice from most cable subscribers outside of Chicago, but in recent years, they’ve been trying to expand their viewership through moves like, for instance, serving as the exclusive U.S. home of the long-running Canadian comedy, Corner Gas. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the ratings-grabber that they’d hoped it might be, but things are on the upswing now that the network has branched out and begun their own original programming, kicking off their new roster with the supernatural period-piece drama Salem.

Bullz-Eye was invited to visit the set a few weeks back, and we were amazed at how well they’ve captured the look and feel of the era, but we were a little bit thrown when we discovered that our interview ops with the cast members were to be done on camera…even if we weren’t going to be using the footage! Still, we had four very nice chats during the course of the day, each featuring two cast members, and we got a bit of insight into how each of them came to join the series, who their characters are, and what we can expect from Salem as the series rolls through its first season.

XB-Salem

Xander Berkeley and Tamzin Merchant

Bullz-Eye: Had you both been actively looking for series work when this came about?

Xander Berkeley: Serious work or series work? [Laughs.]

Tamzin Merchant: I’m always constantly looking for work wherever! I’m always surprised if anyone wants to cast me in something. [Laughs.] I’m always, like, “Really? Okay! Cool! I’ll do it!”

BE: What was it about this particular project that appealed to you?

TM: That they wanted to hire me. [Laughs.] No, I’m joking. I just loved the script, and I loved the world. I loved that the magic meets history, and…it’s been really cool for that reason.

BE: Xander, you actually had some hesitations about signing onto the series at first.

XB: Well, you know, partly because I have a family, and it’s a long way away, so I was a little concerned on that front. My wife (Sarah Clarke) acts and works a lot, and there were certain projects that were pending for her, and we can’t both be away. So those were the only real concerns. The script was spellbinding from day one, and the project is awesome. I’m so glad to be part of it.

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