“24: Live Another Day”
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Yvonne Strahovski (“Chuck,” “Dexter”), Benjamin Bratt (“Miss Congeniality,” “Law & Order”), William Devane (“Knots Landing”), Tate Donovan (“Hercules,” “Hostages”)
Airdate, time: The two hour premiere airs at 7 p.m. Monday May 5 on Fox
The premise: Set and shot in London, the event series once again will follow the exploits of heroic agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland). Four years ago, Jack was a fugitive from justice. Now an exile, he is willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster. Tracking Jack are CIA head Steve Navarro (Bratt) and CIA agent Kate Morgan (Strahovski). Calling the shots is James Heller (Devane), now President of the United States. Heller is flanked by his Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan), who is married to Heller’s daughter – Jack’s former flame, Audrey (Kim Raver). Meanwhile, a hardened Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) Bauer’s CTU confidante is now working underground with high-profile hacker Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott). The harrowing day will have Jack attempting to thwart an unthinkable terrorist attack that could change the world forever.
Highs: I have never watched a season of “24” before. I had a general idea of what the series was about but aside from hearing the name “Jack Bauer” mentioned in “24” promos and in an SNL parody, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. That said, I’m glad I gave this show a shot. Even though I didn’t know any of the returning characters I was able to piece together enough information to figure out what was going on pretty quickly. Producers/showrunners Evan Catz and Manny Coto did a nice job of balancing the first two episodes with enough content to keep newbie’s like myself interested and touching base with familiar characters that long time fans care about.
The premiere (the first two episodes of this season are aired back to back) hooked me with plenty of intrigue, cool use of technology, action and by providing a mythos for Jack Bauer. He’s a mysterious guy, with a touch of Jason Bourne and James Bond. Even though I’m new to the franchise, I wanted to unravel what was going on. I guess I’m just a sucker for conspiracies and 5’7” action stars. This may also explain my affection for Tom Cruise movies, but I digress.
While Bauer was naturally the center of attention, I really enjoyed the performances of Yvonne Strahovski and Tate Donovan. I’ve been a fan of Strahovski since her run on “Chuck” and she certainly shines here in another physical role. After a turn as a wimpy, cheating husband in “Hostages” Donovan is back to what he plays best, a scheming bureaucrat who only looks out for his own interests.
Lows: Even though I felt comfortable jumping into a series with a deep past, there were still times I was a bit lost. I know Chloe O’Brian is important to Jack Bauer but without having watched the series before I don’t feel the connection. I also know that the President (Devane) has a soft spot for Bauer but why I’m not sure. There’s also some backstory to Bauer’s wife divulged in the premiere, but I don’t really get the references. I’m sure these will be non-issues for returning viewers but for a noob like me I was occasionally left scratching my head.
Perhaps my biggest issue with “24” however, was Kiefer Sutherland himself. I enjoyed him in the role but every other actor onscreen practically towers over him and he looks like he’s around 130lbs. Watching someone that size take down enemies much bigger than him stretches credulity but I soon learned to let that go.
Grade: (B): “24: Live Another Day” is engaging enough that Jack Bauer didn’t say a word until 31 minutes into the premiere episode and I was still interested. Whether you’re a long time fan of the show or are just getting into it like me, you’ll be entertained with the new “24.”