Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Pair of Jacks

This week, two long standing shows came to an end. For several seasons now my wife and I have been watching both LOST and 24. At the center of each show was a character named Jack. In LOST, we had Jack Shepherd. In 24, Jack Bauer. As each show came to an end, I had very different feelings about both. As LOST came to an end, there was a sadness, and yet a sense of satisfaction for me. And as 24 came to end, there was a sense of relief - that this show was finally over.

I've been thinking about why I grew to love LOST, and grew to loathe 24. For me, it was all about the characters.

First, Jack Bauer. 24 used to be one of my favorite shows. I was caught up in the plot twists, the character development, and all of that. I think the issue though was that Jack never seemed to develop. He was always the guy who would do whatever it takes to save the day. If that meant self-sacrifice, great. If it meant torture, great. In his wake was an endless sea of bodies. It seemed like they tried to redeem him a bit this season, starting out a changed man who was looking forward to being a grandfather and retiring from this kind of life. But within the hour he was killing people again - so it all seemed rather fake. The violence of the show continued to increase, constantly trying to outdo the season before. In the end, it just seemed to lack any kind of creativity. The plot was pretty much predictable. I did actually think they were going to kill off Jack Bauer in the end, but I heard there's a movie in the works, so I suppose they can't do that just yet. Speaking of predictability - here's something you can take to the bank: The movie will be about someone getting a hold of Jack's daughter and/or grandchild and Jack will come out of hiding to once again save the day.

And then there's Jack Shepherd. In six seasons, Jack also plays the hero. He's a surgeon who is constantly saving the day, healing people, and fixing whatever is broken. He's also struggling with the death of his father, and his feeling that he's never been good enough for him. He stands for reason, and struggles with anything mysterious that can't be explained away by rationality. Over time he comes to accept the idea that there is a larger calling and purpose on his life. He's a leader that fails at times and struggles with what that means. But Jack is growing, he's learning, he's changing, and he's becoming more transparent. The show itself is building with all kinds of mystery, unexpected turns, questions that don't seem to have answers, and characters that continue to develop. There's nothing predictable about it. In the end, there are still lots of questions. But one thing is certain - as Jack's eye closes there's a sense of peace in me the viewer. His is a story of redemption that came not as a result of violence but as a result of love.

So my conclusion? Jack Bauer will be back for more in a blockbuster summer movie, but Jack Shepherd's story is the one that will live on.


I feel this way often about the novels that I read... some series go on for 10+ books, and I feel like if another were to come out, i'd go ahead and read that one too.

Then there are series that by book 3 I'm dying for it to end. It exasperates me. Although, I do continue to read them... I can't help it--but I do desperately need for it to end!

Post Script: I'm interested to know how your bible reading is coming along. Today was day 1 for me. So far so good, but its hard to get behind on the first day!

Jillien - thanks for checking up on me! I'm actually doing pretty well with it. I fell behind a couple of days last week but somehow got caught up. So I'm right on schedule now - day 58!

You can do it!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More