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I joined Live Journal last July so that I would have a place to post my 24 fanfiction. Until now, I have resisted posting to my journal as I am squeamish about putting details about myself all over cyberspace. Yet this quiet weekend spent in frosty Nova Scotia has left me in a reflective mood. I may make an effort to make this journal look a bit less generic.

I have just finished reading the excellent 24 and Philosophy: The World According to Jack, the latest offering from Blackwell Publishing. (The wonderful South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer and More Penetrating is one of the most brilliant pop-culture analyses I’ve yet read). Usually I jump for joy when one of my favorite shows receives serious academic attention. But although I very much enjoyed 24 and Philosophy, the reading of it has left me somewhat melancholy. Exploring the moral and dramatic aspects of Jack Bauer and his tense, violent world seems almost…well…perverse, what with Day 7 being postponed until who knows when and that show’s charismatic Leading Man currently in jail. The problems of the real world (problems which 24 has explored in such an entertaining and provocative manner) has disrupted our collective fantasy life. The irony is rich.

Ah, the Writer’s Strike. I’m not going to attempt to analyze the minutia of this work stoppage here, or try to speculate on how or if it will ever be resolved.

I will say that there are three TV shows that I follow almost religiously: Lost, 24, and Battlestar Galactica. All three are complex fantasies that do not permit sporadic or casual viewing. These shows have a large cast of characters and complicated, multiple plotlines. All three of these shows have enjoyed excellent writing, acting, and directing, good music and fine photography. All three have a unique visual style and are lovely to behold. All three shows, each in their own way, serve to deconstruct and offer a fresh perspective on life in the early 21st century. They serve as mirrors to our own world. Although each series has occasionally suffered from some inevitable bumps in quality or the odd weak episode, these shows have provide us with years of fine entertainment and food for thought.

With the exception of a handful of Lost episodes, these are three shows that I (and everyone else) will have to live without this winter. I know: Read some more books. Catch up of DVD sets. See some movies. Explore the drama of my real life.

But I feel (forgive me if this sounds pretentious) that the (hopefully temporary) loss of these dramas represent much more than the mere pangs of withdrawal. Writers such Steven Johnson, in his book Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, have stated that we are enjoying a Golden Age of television. One only needs to compare The A-Team to 24 (thank you, xbedhead) to appreciate how far the art of television has come. Academic publishing houses such as the afore-mentioned Blackwell and BenBella Books have deemed many TV shows worthy of serious discussion. It has often been said (by so many people I can’t quote a single source) that if Shakespeare or Chekhov (the playwright, not the navigator) were alive today, they would be screenwriters.

What if this Golden Age is at an end due to forces beyond our control? That television will regress to a wasteland and celebrity gossip and reality shows? A sad thought.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment of my efforts at 24 fanfiction. I look forward to your feedback on this, my initial and somewhat overwrought journal entry.



Dec. 17th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
Great to hear from you. I admit to being a little bit pessimistic when I predicted the end of the Golden Age. I need to try to stop following the strike news. Thank you for the reassurance.

Your point about the websites running dry is a good one. I’ve almost stopped reading Television Without Pity.

Enjoy Season 3 of Lost.