24: Live Another Day: Premiere

[This review covers the first two hours that aired May 5, 2014, as in 11:00 a.m through 1:00 p.m.]

I remember now why I watched all eight seasons of this show. It just doesn't stop, does it? It was like spending quality time with an old friend, only with tension.

"You probably think I'm at a disadvantage. I promise you, I'm not."

The very first sequence set the tone and gave us Jack Bauer doing his Jack Bauer thing, in spades. It had me saying out loud to my television, "Come on, it's obvious that Jack wants to be caught," and when Navarro said he could get information out of Jack, I responded, "Yeah, good luck with that." I also said, "Wow, Kiefer, you are looking good. Except for all that Jack Bauer scar tissue." And the subcutaneous remotes? "Jack, you are such a badass."

"A guy I used to work with broke me out."

Chloe looked badass, too, with black leather and tatts and extreme eye makeup that didn't get smeared in spite of everything that happened to her. Plus she was involved with a bunch of under the grid Snowden-like free-information hacker buddies that unfortunately, included a guy named Adrian (Michael Wincott) giving the orders. I don't like the idea that Chloe isn't thinking for herself.

I also didn't like that Jack rescued Chloe because he needed her for an op, even if the goal was to foil an assassination attempt on our old friend Heller. I like to think Jack would have rescued Chloe, anyway. Of course, any Jack Bauer under-the-grid operation needs tech support, and what would 24 be without Chloe in a van doing her Chloe thing?

"You're smarter than the rest of them."

The CTU CIA field office looked so familiar, too, with the gray cement and steel, and Benjamin Bratt as Navarro, who feels like he might be a bad guy but might just save the day when he realizes how wrong he is about Jack. Or maybe it's only Kate Morgan (a glammed-down Yvonne Strahovski), the smartest agent in the office, who will end up as an ally of Jack's this time. Right now, she's his hot blonde opponent, a position formerly held by Katee Sackhoff. Even though Kate is being transferred, she has something to prove because she totally missed that her husband Adam was selling secrets to the Chinese. Which really was sort of a big boo boo, wasn't it?

The rest of the CIA field office included Erik Ritter (Gbenga Akinnagbe), an ass who really wants Kate's job, and Jordan Reed (Giles Matthey), who is apparently Kate Morgan's version of Chloe. Any guesses on which one turns out to be a mole, and which one dies a hero?

It's always about a president, isn't it?

They were smart to bring back two continuing favorites, Secretary of Defense Heller (William Devane) who is now the president, and his daughter Audrey (Kim Raver), Jack's former honey. Unfortunately, Heller has an illness that is only now starting to present (I'm betting Alzheimers) and Audrey has married Heller's chief of staff, Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan). Let's see. Boudreau is twitchy, he's mean and nasty to President Heller, he's married to Audrey and out to get Jack. And he has a French name. He is soooo going to turn out to be a bad guy.

Since the drone attack (see below) took out both Brits and Americans and the setting is London, I'm assuming we didn't get the British Prime Minister (Stephen Fry) for just a five minute scene.

And of course, it's about drones

What's the most controversial topic in the news right now? Drones, of course. And the bad guys plan to use a drone to assassinate President Heller. (Is that irony? I'm always confused about the use of the word "ironic".) In the process, the bad guys are framing an earnest, charismatic young Air Force lieutenant named Chris Tanner (John Boyega, who just made the news big time when he was cast in the new Star Wars movie). It appears that there are going to be ten drone attacks. Does that mean we'll be getting one in nearly every episode?

Who are the bad guys this time? It started with Derek Yates who programmed the drones, but I knew he was dead when he idiotically boasted to his pretty girlfriend about what he was doing. The reveal when she killed him (twisting a stiletto in his ear, ick) was so not a surprise. On 24, we usually go through layers of villains until the final big bad is revealed, but I wonder if an abbreviated 24 might take a shortcut? Is "Mommy" Margot (Michelle Fairley) going to be it? She certainly feels like a major villain. I hear the actress played an important role in some big fantasy show I don't watch.

Bits and pieces:

-- Four years have elapsed since the series ended. Four years have also elapsed in the story. Which is set in England this time. At least so far.

-- Jack has a quiet, scary-looking buddy named Belcheck, who was in the "Serbian mob". He has a facial birthmark and a bazooka. Some nice alliteration there: Belcheck with the birthmark and the bazooka.

-- According to Navarro, Kim had another baby. Jack almost reacted to that news. Are we going to see Kim this season?

-- Shouldn't Chloe be showing more signs of reaction to the drugs they were pumping into her? Shouldn't she at least be sucking down some serious Starbucks to stay awake?

-- Of course, Jack has already gotten shot. Fortunately, it's "just a graze." Which is nothing for a badass like Jack Bauer.

-- Practically the entire original 24 team, producers, directors and writers, have gotten back together for 24: Live Another Day, and it shows. Jon Cassar directed these first two hours. I seem to remember that he always directed the premieres.

-- Much of the 24 team worked together previously on La Femme Nikita, and there have always been little in-jokes. I laughed out loud when Chloe mentioned "piggybacking servers", a phrase that was often used on LFN.

-- Our official hashtag is a short one: #24LAD

Am I encouraged or disappointed that 24 hasn't changed? It might have been time for something new. But on second thought, no. If they'd changed the format, the fans of the show would have been deeply disappointed. They want us to stick around for twelve hours, don't they?

I will. Will you?

[Thanks to J.D. Balthazar, who contributed to this review.]
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.


ChrisB said...

This review captured exactly how I felt watching these two hours last night. The ticking clock, the twists and turns, the familiar faces, the first "dammit!" all made me a very, very happy person.

I will most definitely be sticking around for the full twelve.

Mark Greig said...

I wasn't looking for a reinvention of the 24 wheel. All I wanted was a really great season of the show I crazily addicted to for 8 years and so far it looks like that is what I'm going to get. Welcome back, Jack. We've missed you. You too, Chloe.