HOLLYWOOD - Last week's season finale of the popular Fox drama “24,” has elicited nothing but groans from fans and critics alike. The show airs in real time. Each one hour episode depicts events that transpire over a sixty minute period in the life of fictional American secret agent Jack Bauer. The final installment, which ran for two hours, was set between the hours of four and six a.m.
“The action, and I use that term loosely, consisted of nothing but Bauer brushing, flossing, and gargling for nearly the entire first hour,” complained Washington Post television critic Tom Shales. “Things picked up a bit when our hero discovered the anti-bacterial soap dispenser on his bathroom sink was empty, and went full-throttle throughout the house looking for a replacement, but we knew he was going to find one. He always does.”
Overnight ratings indicate the audience agreed. Millions of viewers tuned out for the final twenty minutes. In doing so, they missed Bauer fluffing up his pillows, climbing into bed, and reading a book. The show ended with Bauer nodding off to sleep, his reading glasses falling to the bridge of his nose, drool spilling from the corner of his mouth.
“If the folks at Fox want people to come back, they’re going to have to make some big changes,” said Shales. “I’ve seen an advance copy of next season’s premiere, and I’m not interested in watching fifty minutes of Jack Bauer bathing, shaving, and pressing a pair of trousers before he heads out to save the world after the last commercial break.”