’24,’ ‘Desperate,’ ‘Tru Calling’ show signs of improvement

Robert Taylor

‘24:’ The Football and You

Fox, Mondays at 9 p.m.

I’ll admit it: This week’s episode of “24” was the best of the season. It got away from all the sweeping developments and instead focused on a crackerjack cat-and-mouse game between two civilians and the terrorists who brought down Air Force One.

Whenever the episode focused on the characters involved (Michelle and Tony, the married couple) and not the overarching plotlines, it rocked. The mythology stuff (such as Marwan outwitting Jack again) didn’t.

Other than the near-suicidal decision to call those nuclear codes “the football,” the subplot involving those campers hit all the right notes for me. It reminded me of the great first season when not everything was technologically focused, and it was more about the characters and their interactions.

Because this was “24,” I immediately was wary of caring about them since it was almost a given they would die, but the great work of the actors won me over. I felt more suspense over this one hour than I have since Michelle almost got infected by that virus last season.

By the end of the episode, I was having so much fun reliving just how great “24” can be, but then that final moment where all the other subplots are featured for a few seconds . It reminded me that the series still has to return to those snores and has so far to go to make me say its quality entertainment again.

‘Desperate Housewives:’ Mommy Issues

ABC, Sundays at 9 p.m.

It was great to see a good episode of “Desperate Housewives” after that last bunch of stinkers. Characters are doing things that matter, subplots are advancing and, for once, shocking things do happen.

How great was it to see Bree and Lynette bonding? With all our housewives off dealing with their own problems and subplots every week, it’s refreshing to see reasons why these women bonded in the first place.

As for shocking developments, while the revelation that Zach was actually Dana made my mouth drop, the big shocker for the episode was Carlos’ sudden abuse of Gabrielle.

What the @#%!, dude? If I were Gabby, I would have taken one of those designer high heels and shoved it into the guy’s forehead, or at least torn up that post-nup as soon as I finished signing it. Gabrielle should have let John lay the smackdown on him.

And then there was Lesley Ann Warren and Bob Newhart’s guest spots, both perfectly cast and executed. I was in stitches for most of their screen time, and I hope they stick around for at least three or four more episodes.

‘Tru Calling:’ When Did This Show Get Great?

Fox, Thursdays at 9 p.m.

I tried watching “Tru Calling” when it first came out (Eliza Dushku = yum), but the show’s entertainment value was less-than-adequate. But I checked out the first three episodes of the second season, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the show has gotten not just good, but excellent!

For those of you who have no idea what the show is about, Tru Davies (Dushku) is asked by the dead for help and her day rewinds to the point where she last woke up and she must spend the day stopping the death from occurring. But Jason Priestley (Jack Harper) plays this really peppy grim reaper whose job it is to prevent Tru from doing her job, further complicating matters.

Instead of just doing the same old routine every episode like it did in the first season, “Tru Calling” is now exploring every possible scenario that could come out of the concept, and this viewer loves it. What if someone asked her for help in the dark and she couldn’t tell who she should help? Catch the show while you have the chance, it has a very short (6 episodes) second season and every one so far has been a winner.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected].