The problem with ’24′
For years and years John and I lived with almost zero TV. Literally the only TV in our house was an hour or so of PBS early in the morning for the little kids. But then a couple years ago we discovered the joys of Netfix instant watch, and got into the habit of 42 minutes of TV at bedtime after the kids were off to bed. A nice time to unwind, you know?
First came Lost. Interesting premise for think-we-could-be-survivalist folks like us, excellent character development, sketchy morals, story that got freakier the longer it went. We watched all the seasons in a year or so, then felt adrift as we tried to find another show that kept us as interested.
Finally we landed on 24 and were intrigued by the characters, the plots, the sheer capability of Jack Bauer. Watched every single episode.
Except we grew more and more troubled by one thing. Over and over again the characters were put in positions where the only thing to do to preserve good was to do wrong. Grey area after grey area after grey area, where always the only answer presented was to do wrong to make right win out. Moral relativity at its most confusing.
We never bought it. Never felt right with the solutions. The further we got in the story, the more we disliked the choices Jack was making. Yeah, he did it for the ‘greater good’. But, sorry, it’s still wrong to execute your boss. Or do all sorts of other atrocious things.
We watched, hoping I think that he would head back towards right in the end, that he would end up standing for good by doing good. But that moment never came, in spite of all his bravery and his inventiveness and his sheer power– he still thought wrong was OK if it was fighting on behalf of right.
After John and I finished ’24′, we were adrift, scanning options for a good evening entertainment choice. Netflix in its infinite wisdom suggested that we might like Flashpoint– yet another police drama, this one based in Canada. We watched the first episode and knew we’d found our show. It is so much suggestive of ’24′: intriguing story lines, suspenseful situations, interesting people.
So much like ’24′.
This is a show with conscience. These folks stand up fearlessly for what is right. This show, instead of having a body count of at least half a dozen per episode— this show believes in protecting life. These men and women honor their commitments and risk their lives for what is honorable.
Oh, we’ve been enjoying this show. It was incredibly interesting to watch immediately after ’24′, because it so dramatically shows the difference between moral-less ‘honor’ (where you’ll do dishonorable things for the sake of ‘right’) and real, true honor. Where you do the right thing whether or not it is painful, whether or not it gets you your desired outcome. These men are real heroes.
They fight for what’s right. They honor life. They show integrity.
What amazing concepts. What an amazing show.
Thanks, 24 and Flashpoint, for reminding us of the difference between an action figure and a true hero.
Even if it is just in a TV show.