Formulaic

I am a huge fan of 24 and Jack Bauer. Ever since my wife and I decided to check out the “greatest show on TV” part-way through season 2 I became hooked. My wife and I will name our son Jack Bauer Rainwater afterall ^^;

During the past 7 seasons there have been a few missteps along the way, (why on earth did they decide to kill Palmer?) but my love for the show through its twists and turns has remained staunchly solid. 24 is like a classic wooden rollercoaster: it might be bumpy, jarring, and slightly predictable at times, but once the ride is over, you crave more.

Even with season 7 straining my devout love for the show, I was satisfied with the ride and yearned for the next season. Sure, the ending was a bit contrived but then again, what plot in 24 isn’t? I almost feel like season 7 had been set up to close out Jack’s story and maybe season 8 would start fresh with Jane Bauer, er … I mean Renee Walker. I would have been okay with that, but 24 wouldn’t be 24 without Jack Bauer.

Enter the first 4 hours of season 8.

I am beginning to think that 24 may have run its course. 24 has always been predictable, but this time I’m finding myself far less forgiving of it. Perhaps it is the cliche of pulling Jack back in or the fact that CTU New York is far too fashionable and run by quite possibly the most poorly written and dense character ever in 24. Every time Hastings has that little control for his headset in his hands I want to punch the TV.

These are new feelings revolving around 24 for me. I’ve always suspended my disbelief in previous seasons, but this time I am finding myself criticizing 24. Chloe is out-of-her-element? Freddie Prince Jr? Shoulder-less dresses are acceptable attire at CTU?

Now don’t get me wrong. I still enjoyed the first 4 hours of this season, if only because of the return of the pompadour. President Omar Hassan is easily my 2nd favorite president in 24 next to President Palmer of course. Any scene with him in it is a good scene as his demeanor and style ooze cool.

Jane Bau…er Renee Walker’s return should also provide some substance for season 8 considering how hour 4 ended. The dynamic between Renee and Jack was very intriguing in season 7 and I cannot wait to see where the writers take their relationship during the next 20 hours.

So while I predicted every plot twist so far, (mark my words, there’s still a sinister twist involving the blonde reporter) I’m looking forward to season 8 unfolding. There’s still plenty of time to recover from the blunders of the first 4 hours, especially if they kill off Dana Walsh ASAP. God she’s horrible.

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Diversions

How awesome are the new 5 mans in the Frozen Halls? I know right? Er, well … I haven’t seen them yet. What little time that I have had in WoW was spent setting up add-ons and running one PUG with the new dungeon finder tool. I’m determined to use pitbull again but ver.4 has a different learning curve to setting up than ver.3 did. I figure that since this should be the last major patch until the 4.0 roll-out prior to Cataclysm any time I spend on getting my UI just right will be worth it.

Considering that I don’t have much to comment on with patch 3.3, I figure I’ll shift the focus on this entry towards console gaming and the upcoming diversions from WoW. There have already been a large number of games released this holiday season that I’m interested in, but I’m always looking forward. Assassin’s Creed II, Borderlands, Uncharted 2 … Meh! Who needs them right? Let’s look to first quarter of 2010 for what really has me excited. Old games are old news is what I always say ^^;

Right out of the gate January has two games that I am really looking forward to: Darksiders and Bayonetta. The buzz revolving around Darksiders is very positive, but I’m hoping a demo gets released in the coming weeks so I can try it out for myself. I downloaded the Bayonetta demo and WOW that’s how you start a demo. It doesn’t slow down in January either with Dark Void and Mass Effect 2 on their heels. Dark Void is likely to get overlooked by many but I’ll check it out based off how much I loved Crimson Skies. Mass Effect 2 is a no-brainer … but I still need to pick up Mass Effect and finish it first.

February isn’t quite as packed with titles that cause me to salivate but there are a couple of titles that I’ll mention. As blasphemous as this might be I could care less about Bioshock 2. I didn’t like Bioshock, the control just felt off and as cool as the atmosphere seemed, it just didn’t grab me. Where Bioshock 2 fails to excite me Star Trek Online exceeds in tapping the inner-trekkie inside of me. Away missions aside the game looks amazingly fun. DS9 uniforms?! Hell yes. I loved TNG and DS9 (season 4+) and cannot wait to captain a cruiser through the Gamma quadrant and kick some Dominion ass (okay, that might be getting ahead of myself).

February closes with a bang with Splinter Cell: Conviction which is a little surprising coming from me. I’ve never been a fan of the Splinter Cell series, but Conviction just looks bad-ass. Obvious inspiration from the Borne movies as well as Fox’s 24 seems to have shifted Conviction into a game that I look forward to playing. Speaking of 24, season 8 is going to absorb my Monday nights. I am a huge Jack Bauer fan and should my wife and I ever have a boy, he will be named James “Jack Bauer” Rainwater. 😉

Finally the grand-daddy of all diversions will come in March as Final Fantasy XIII is released. As much as I love the Warcraft universe, Final Fantasy has and will always be #1 in my heart. Once FFXIII drops my WoW playtime will disappear until I’m completely satisfied and finished with FFXIII. I just need to decide whether I’ll pick it up on 360 or PS3 should a PS3 slim find its way into my home during the Christmas holiday.