Last year, in a scathing review of the MacGyver reboot, I wrote that while its network CBS was being left behind in the cotton fields of the 1860’s and minstrel shows of the 1930’s, Fox’s forthcoming series, 24: Legacy would be different by featuring a black protagonist. How wrong can a man be?
Unrecognisable from his role as Heath in The Walking Dead, Corey Hawkins, does his best as Non-CTU Agent Eric Carter. Even though he did an amazing job playing Dr Dre in the excellent N.W.A biopic, Straight Outta Compton, he just doesn’t have the screen presence of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer to carry this show.
While the first ever series of 24 was genre defining and subsequent series jumped the shark (anyone remember Kim Bauer being attacked by a mountain lion?) the franchise, on the whole, remained semi-realistic. 24: Legacy all just seems preposterous: Eric Carter isn’t even a CTU agent and yet is enlisted with zero experience to boss CTU field agents around. His drug-dealing, gang-lord brother and his wife inexplicably get a free pass to wander the hallowed halls of GTU HQ in the only moments where black people are treated with an iota of dignity. Which leads me nicely on to…
I had hoped that the casting of young, exciting Corey Hawkins as the new Jack Bauer was a step in the right direction for diversity, and to some small extent, it is… but for every step forward, 24: Legacy takes three steps back.
Like a deal with the devil, for every racial stereotype it jettisons, it relies upon three more. So, here, in a nutshell, is the message being sold by Fox and being lapped up by millions of Americans and people around the world.
Eric Carter may be a war hero, but he’s the exception – black people are drug dealers, gang bangers and women beaters who use guns…
and their women are Macchievelian dirty-dealing, backstabbing, two-timing double-crossers who will up and leave you at the drop of a hat when something better comes along.
But they’re not as bad as Muslims. In fact, black people are okay in our book, so long as they’re using the guns we sell the to kill brown people. Because Muslims are monsters. Quite literally. Look!
Because Muslims are monsters. Quite literally. Look!
“But, wheelchair-bound Ibrahim Bin-Khalid has just escaped a fire or bombing – that’s the reason he looks like this” I hear you cry. While that may be true, he looks like this for one reason and one reason alone – to demonise Muslims.
I mean come on… DOESN’T HE REMIND YOU OF ANYONE?
The difference is that Davros – sworn arch-enemy of immortal sci-fi hero, The Doctor is a heartless, soulless, evil despot, controller of an army of heartless machines hell bent on destroying any race that isn’t their own.
Just like the global threat of Al Quaeda and ISIS, Davros and The Daleks simply don’t exist. They were created to scare children. The modern-day fairy tale boogeyman invented to make five-year-olds scampering behind sofas.
Ibrahim Bin-Khalid was invented to send Americans scampering to the polls to vote Republican.
Do you see where this is going over at Fox? Did you expect anything different from the media conglomerate that has its head so firmly planted up “President” Trumps asshole? Did you expect anything else from a company that is part owned by the same man whose newspapers spew anti-Muslim bile around the world, walking ballsack, Rupert Murdoch?
The irony is, Muslims are not the monsters. The people who run America are. Murdoch is Davros, The Koch Brothers are the real boogeymen and Americans are The Daleks; mindlessly doing their overlord’s bidding.
It might be more subtle nowadays, but we’ve seen it all before:
Granted, it’s not full spread newspaper pages spouting anti-Japanese, anti-Communist and racist bile but it’s still there – subliminal messaging that gently brainwashes weak minds and worse, the minds of our more impressionable children.
America is a country built on the hatred of, and violence towards anyone different. It’s a culture that cannot exist without someone to belittle, hate, exploit, victimise and kill; from Native to African Americans, from The Nazis and The Japanese (okay, they were both deplorable) to The Soviets, the Vietnamese…if America isn’t actually at war, it needs its people to be at ideological war with something, anything – communism, socialism… and Fox’s message is clear: fear anyone that isn’t just like you.
This time it’s Islam’s turn again. Oh… and homosexuals.
24: Legacy has not only seemingly ‘opened its heart’ to African American characters but, dragging itself into the 21st Century, now features its first openly gay character… which can only be a good thing, right?
Well, ermmm…. unfortunately, the producers have made actor Dan Bucatinsky play Andy Shalowitz as a gay man from a 1980’s sitcom. While his actions are, for the most part, brave and loyal to the cause, Andy is portrayed as a snivelling, sarcastic, bitchy little coward.
I can understand writing a gay character as being more sensitive than his CTU counterparts, but does his delivery have to be so over-the-top bitchy and camp, complete with pouting lips, eye-rolls and bitchy comments to his ex-lover while embroiled in the midst of a terrorist attack?
Imagine Ricky Gervais as David Brent doing an impression of a drag queen and you’re half way there. In 24: Legacy’s defence, Andy’s partner is a no-nonsense, muscle-bound CTU field agent and not portrayed as a whiney little bitch.
The thing I don’t understand is that as a gay man in real life, why would Dan Bucatinsky want to be a part of setting perception of the LGBT community back 30 years? Why would Middle-Eastern actors want to portray their Muslim brothers and sisters as hideously deformed, terrorist monsters? Why would black actors want to portray themselves as gun-runners and heroin dealers? Why would female actors women want to appear as disloyal, double-crossing bitches?
Oh, I geddit. A Fox paycheque. Infidels.
“Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are gonna be the problem,
or whether you are gonna be the solution.”