Today’s cuppa: Darjeeling tea

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There may be something to synchronicity.

Today is the second time I turn for comments on "24" to the estimable Tia Cupps, my mentor in all things tea-related, and the town is abuzz with word that the Screen Actors Guild may call for a strike authorization vote. The last time Tia appeared in this space was on July 1, the morning after SAG’s contract expired.

There was no strike then, and for the sake of all the weekly wage-earners that depend on the entertainment industry for a living — especially in this chaotic economic climate — let’s hope that Tia’s presence in this humble blog has the same cosmic effect this time.

Anyway, once again, Tia Cupps is the alter-ego of a woman who, as she puts it, "works black (tea) ops for the federal government," somewhere in the great Northeast. In the future, Tia and I may do audio podcasts. Truly, America may not be ready for this.

Here are her answers to some questions I posited to her on "24: Redemption," the two-hour "24" prequel that aired to good ratings last night on Fox. Click here for my syndicated feature story on the movie.

How did you feel right before it started?


Breathless with anticipation.

Halfway through?

Frustrated.

At the end?

Angry at the diplomatic corps, but definitely psyched for the new season. Oh, my God, the ending was like the fall of Saigon.

Favorite new character?

Carl Benton (played by guest star Robert Carlyle)

Least favorite new character?

I’m not sure I could like anyone less than the U.N. guy, who, I have a feeling, we haven’t seen the last of. There’s neutrality, and then there’s craven cowardice.

Which new character had the most impact on you?

Guess I’d have to say Carl again.

(When I pointed out that a land mine blew Carl up, Tia reminded me that we only heard the explosion, 24 bauer 7821abrf 3 '24: Redemption': Tia Cupps Speaks

and quoted back to me a line from "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, which I have often quoted to her, "Did you see him die? Did you actually see him die?" Point taken. But I still think he’s blowed up.)

Impression of the incoming President Alison Taylor (Cherry Jones)?


Not much chance to make an impression, but it seems she has hidden depths; not sure about her husband either, and her son has no personality. If you put two grooves in him, he’d be an ashtray. (Thanks, Cos, for the line.)

Should Jack have to face the music in front of the U.S. Senate for what he’s done? (It’s the main plot thrust at the beginning of season seven, which launches Jan. 11 and 12 on Fox.)

That would take three seasons in and of itself. However, it appears that even though Jack is in trouble, his country needs him yet again and is willing to overlook his bad habits of torture and
detention.


The Africa storyline continues into season seven — your impression of it?


It’s new; it’s now; and it’s relevant. Plus, it isn’t the Middle East. I thought the PSAs for Human Rights Watch and the tag at the end about there being more info on the boy soldiers on the Fox Website were a nice touch — it brings the drama into reality.

Jack Bauer — cowboy hero or cold-hearted hit man?

Why? Well, they’re two sides of the same coin, really. Jack’s biggest flaw is that he cares too damn much. I am beginning to believe that Jack has an aunt who lives in Cabot Cove, Maine.

The continuity fairy sez: Jack has an awfully Western haircut for being on walkabout for two years; burn mark from machete missing on Jack’s cheek.

Total aside: Powers Boothe (as outgoing President Daniels) looks great; nice to see Jon Voight (as Jack’s nemesis, the shadowy Jonas Hodges) on TV, he does eeeeevil so very well; luuuurrrve Robert Carlyle.

Howard (executive producer Howard Gordon) may get to live another season, because it looks like Jack is back. He only got blowed up, but he’s OK. I’m always happy when stuff get blowed up.

FYI, Tia, me, too.