TV Review: Jack Bauer Rides Again in ’24: Live Another Day’

Jack Bauer and his hit series, 24, return to Fox this Monday with a new, limited run season.

Subtited Live Another Day, this new run of 24 includes all the elements fans have come to expect from the show. That good old digital clock ticks off the seconds as they pass. The show still relies on split screens to tell its story in real time. For the most part 24: Live Another Day takes the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach” to its construction.

Speaking of real time, this is the only place where Live Another Day deviates from the original 24 format. Rather that producing a ful 24 episodes, each incorporating one hour of a day in Jack Bauer’s life, this season features twelve episodes only, taking various jumps in time throughout the season.

When we last left Jack Bauer, he became a fugitive, on the run from both the Russian and American governments, and disappeared. In the first of the two episode premiere, Jack is caught in London by the CIA and brought in for questioning. But after being off the grid for four years, just why was it so easy to catch him now?

Of course, it just so happens that President Heller (William Devane) is also in London, seeking a treaty with Britain while enduring protests over the American governments use of drones to assassinate dangerous figures. Heller is also dealing with a rapidly increasing case of dementia, something he wishes to keep secret from Mark Bourdreau (Tate Donovan), his chief of staff who also happens to be married to Audrey (Kim Raver), Jack’s old flame and Heller’s daughter. And if you couldn’t guess, it seems that someone has taken control of the American drones.

Much of the beginning of 24: Live Another Day is burdened with the weight of exposition, needing to catch fans and newcomers alike to these characters. There’s also the overabundance of coincidence that all these characters with all this drama between them all happen to be in the same area when a crisis erupts. It’s a delicate balance the show has to strike, and for the most part it wears it well by balancing the action with the informational needs of the story.

Kiefer Sutherland is back, of course, as Jack Bauer, the now disgraced super secret agent. He sulks through most of his opening scenes wearing that familiar grimace and muttering his trademark “Dammit!” at just the right times. Sutherland was meant for this role and he plays it well. In fact, it’s almist as if there hasn’t been four years since he’s been in Bauer’s skin. And Jack Bauer remains an interesting character.

Even more interesting is Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Chloe O’Brian. After helping Jack escape, she’s lost much of her life, becoming a computer hacker that rallies for the freedom of information. While there’s a bit of a cliche to this type of character by now, the take here is more akin to Dragon Tattoo’s goth-y Lisbeth Salander than Agents of SHIELD’s Sky.

There’s plenty enough promise in Monday night’s two hour preiere to keep me coming back. I can’t wait to see how things get worse for poor old Jack. So, welcome back, 24…it’s like you never left.

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