This seems to be a trend in my articles lately (this one here, and this one over at my new co-authored site, Dream Reviews), but I guess it’s on my mind. Well, that, and I’m watching a lot of it. Which brings me to the focus of this article. Although I have been keeping up with the current season, I have also been slowly working my way through the first season of the show. I’ve been a huge fan of the show for about 7 years now, although those of you who are aware of it will notice that the show has been on for around 8 years (because of the writer=strike-induced hiatus). I started watching the first season, but both VCR glitches and other uses for my time intervened, and so I never finished it.
So, now that it’s being slowly cycled through on Hulu, I have a prime opportunity to catch up. And man is it different. First of all, everything is yellow. This I remember very well from when I watched it the first time. For some reason, all of the outside shots, and indeed anything with vaguely natural light, is very tinted. I’m nor sure if this was a conscious choice (like the color masks in Traffic, which I haven’t seen), or whether they just weren’t used to filming yet. I’m tending towards the second option. There’s a few more bits of evidence that point to that.
My reaction to the aforementioned evidence is really skirting the boundary between “Argh that’s so distracting!” and “Aw, that’s so cute. They’re new at this.” At least twice (I think maybe three times?) in the first season of the show, there has been a very obvious camera or cameraman in the shot. Now, a few things about this. First, I have never seen this in any other season, so I think they learned how to deal very quickly. Secondly, one could think of this as poor filming technique, poor editing, and so on, but think about what they’re doing. When this happens, it’s when they’re setting up one of the really cool shots of multiple angles on the same event simultaneously. This isn’t something they could just edit out without making everything more boring, and I think it is surprising that this doesn’t happen more. Yes, maybe you never see cameramen in other shows, but I don’t think they’re setting up the same kinds of shots. And you do see a boom every now and then. But there have been a few times when, in my mind (or out loud), I’ve said “Look out Nina!! Someone’s sneaking up behind y-… Oh. That’s just a cameraman. Never mind!” or “AAAH what’s that crazy machine?! Ah, a camera.”
Now, about the characters. Firstly, it’s really weird seeing this season and knowing how it turned out. I know the twists, but not when they happen. And so it’s almost like watching The Sixth Sense for the second time (or the first time if the surprise is ruined by stupid Time magazine…), except that there are really no clues. I think they probably figured things out as they went along, so I’m not sure if the characters who turn out to be evil even know they’re evil at this point in the season.
Jack. Jack is a person! It’s crazy. He’s driven, yes, but he loves and cares for his family, and is almost kind at points. I really hadn’t noticed that he had hardened through the series, but the events (that haven’t happened yet) of the first season did in fact change him. I sort of thought (because he was roughly the same for all 6 seasons I’ve seen all of) that he was always like that, but it’s cool to see him as not only a tool of the (neo-cons and) government. Also, Kim Bauer isn’t as annoying as she is later in the series. Still annoying, but not as much.
It’s cool to be seeing the very latest and the very oldest episodes of a series roughly at the same time. I kind of want to do this with more shows. But first, I want to get through the ones I’m watching at the moment. And believe me, there are a lot of them.
As a parting gift, I point you towards the Jack Bauer Torture Report, a really entertaining live blog of each of the episodes.