“24: Legacy,” the revival of the classic war on terror TV series aired after the Super Bowl. The new series, which does not have the two main characters of super operative Jack Bauer or the quirky but sharp computer expert Chloe O’Brien, is already being accused of racism and Islamophobia by news organizations like the New York Times. The series depicts a group of Islamic #terrorists killing people in a spree across the United States and a reference to Islamic terrorist sleeper cells ready to rise up to wreck death and mayhem. If this attitude seems overwrought considering what Al Qaeda and ISIS has done for the past 15 or so years, the gentle reader is not alone.
The original “24” had terrorist villains or all shapes and sizes, including Serbians, Latin American drug cartels, and even African warlords. Only in one or two seasons did Jack Bauer put bullets into the kneecaps of Muslim terrorists. The news media waved the bloody shirt of racism and Islamophobia as well.
In the real world, Islamic extremists have shot up a military reception area at Fort Hood, an office holiday party in San Bernadino and a gay nightclub in Orlando. But Hollywood and the mainstream media seem to have an absolute phobia about depicting that sort of thing on the small and large screens. It is as if World War II dramas were being made against a background of a fear of offending Germans and Japanese.
To be sure, “24: Legacy” began in a context of President Trump’s controversial immigration order. The situation that the series set up would seem to be an argument for the executive order. We certainly do not want to allow the sort of people who would slaughter Army Rangers and their wives and their children into the country. On the other hand, imagining that such a thing could happen seems to be evidence of bigotry.
To be sure the series has a good Muslim in the form of a teenager from Chechnya who has infiltrated the terrorists. And the TV show can always employ the trite twist by revealing that the Islamist terrorists are working at the behest of a cabal of white, right wingers. But in any case, “24: Legacy” is on and the hero is an African-American army ranger now on the run with the terrorist on his trail and the McGuffin of a strong box with a thumb drive in it at hazard. Lots of guns fights and car chases to ensue.