March 27, 2006

TV Matchup: West Wing vs. 24

Three weeks ago, we matched up two television drams: "24" against "CSI Miami", and 24 came out on top - significantly. In fact, just last week, we took CSI Miami off our season pass list on TiVo - it was just THAT BAD. So, tonight, our our TiVo lineup, we watched yesterday's episode of West Wing, followed by tonight's episode of 24. Now, with 24 following, it didn't exactly dominate. In fact, at least for tonight, West Wing won out.

West Wing, now following the last weeks of the presidential election between Matthew Santos and Arnold Vinnick, continues to be great television, and we're not looking forward to having the series die at the end of the season. The characters are believable. The stress is real. The fatigue from a lack of sleep and even the marital tension shown by the candidates can be believed. And at least on this show, the president is flocked by staffers and administration, congressmen, lobbyists and ambassadors.

In stark contrast, 24 shows the bumbling president in an empty home, with only his first lady and at maximum, two or three folks willing to push him around - because he has no clue. And on 24, while the drama is very intriguing, the good guys shoot better than the bad guys, the technology mavens are intellectual giants, and somehow they still manage to get around Los Angeles in minutes. You'd smirk at the silliness if it wasn't such good TV.

Jack Bauer is a one man killing machine who is one step ahead of every ally and foe - be they the director of CTU, the president of the United States, or an accent-challenged Russian terrorist kingpin. He's very good, but too good - and today's episode saw him running, silhouetted out of a burning building in a scene better found in Terminator than in the Department of Homeland Security. Good television, but imminently forgettable.

Meanwhile, West Wing is having a sensational ending to what's been a great show. They are peaking in confronting the very real issues in today's elections and presidential politics - leaks and special prosecutors and the possibility of winning the election in the courts. Next week is election day, and we aren't that much closer in learning who will be the eventual winner. In 24, I think we already know who's going to win. West Wing wins here.

Listening to ''Forever Waiting'', by DJ Tiesto (Play Count: 5)

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