After getting heavy criticism from the military last week, producers of Fox’s “24” have decided, from a creative standpoint, to cut back on the torture they depict. To make this perfectly clear, the military criticism and the lessening of torture scenes in “24” are only events that happen close-together chronologically. There is no cause-and-effect involved.
However, for fans of the show’s creator, Joel Surnow, he’s provided the world with a brand new form of torture with The 1/2 Hour News Hour*. This show, which hijacks its name from the short-lived MTV show, The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour, is supposed to be the Fox News version of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. The Curious Mechanism has been excited about this for weeks, having long appreciated Fox News’ ability to create programming that powerfully and irreversibly makes its impressions on its viewers.
And so, on Sunday night at 10PM, we tuned our picturebox to Fox to see what Joel Surnow can do with Rupert Murdoch’s resources and, frankly, we were disappointed. The show resembles the long-running “Weekend Update” segment from Saturday Night Live more than it does The Daily Show in that it makes fake news far more than it mocks actual news. The news it does report is almost entirely outdated–reporting on a December conference held by Iran, on a Hillary Clinton statement made in January, and so on.
The jokes are, at best, stale. At worst, they don’t resemble jokes at all. The hosts are, for the most part, without personality.
We don’t particularly care for partisanship, but given the current state of affairs for both Democrats and Republicans, we enjoy the prospect of humorously needling the Democrats at the hands of the Republicans. As it is, the needling is neither humorous nor even particularly vicious. It’s possible that the long-standing fans of Fox’s broadcasting might find some appeal in the program, but we’ve been unable to come up with any for ourselves. It appears that we’re not alone in our assesment, as Metacritic has given the show a blistering score of 14.
Fox has ordered two episodes of the show. The first will re-air on Sunday night at 10PM, and the second will air the following Sunday, March 4th. Here’s hoping for improvement.
*We’d like to apologize for that joke. It was (probably) a mistake.