NOTE: Spoilers ahead! Do not read if you have not seen the first episode of 24.
Jack Bauer returned Monday night to battle terrorists, outwit bureaucracies, and head up 24: Live Another Day, a 12-episode addition to Fox’s hugely successful 24 television series.
Live Another Day, which picks up the story four years after Jack’s last appearance on TV, is another exciting outing for the groundbreaking program that had been in cold storage while fans speculated on whether it might return in a full series, get adapted as a feature movie, or just fade away. The new show sticks to 24’s reliable strengths and maintains the patriotic core that brings the show through its endless twists and reverses.
When we last saw Jack (Kiefer Sutherland), he was on the run from the always ungrateful federal government after, once again, saving the United States from ultimate destruction.
In Monday’s episode, Jack is picked up by the CIA in London. It becomes clear early on that he planned to get caught so that he could rescue Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub), she of “Dammit, Chloe” fame, a former CTU agent who now works as a Snowdenesque free-information hacker-activist (hacktivist?). In true 24 form, there are about four different twists in one episode. Jack did not just rescue Chloe because he is her friend; he rescued her so he can get access to her activist-friends’ database to find someone named Derek Yates, who is planning an attack on the current president, the fictional James Heller.
President Heller (gold pitchman William Devane), whom we saw in earlier seasons as the Secretary of Defense, faces an international crisis when Yates (Joseph Millson) somehow hacks into a drone’s computer system, takes control of it, and fires on four British soldiers, who are killed. Clear parallels are drawn between Heller, who has always been characterized as a patriot and a friend to Jack, and Ronald Reagan. It becomes clear that Heller is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In a desperate bid to repair relations with the British after the attack, Heller schedules a press conference, where his deteriorating mind becomes apparent when he cannot remember the names of the men killed.
24: Live Another Day feels promising. The creators do not attempt to reinvent the series. Instead, they stick with what makes it great: Jack as a CIA superman, Chloe as a computer genius, Heller’s daughter Audrey (Kim Raver) as Jack’s girl-who-got-away, and the United States government mercilessly chasing Jack, no matter how many times he has saved the world from World War III.
The new season of 24 promises to be just as good as the seasons before, so far. However, Jack has not shouted, “Dammit, Chloe!” Until that happens, this season will remain sub-par.
— Christine Sisto is an editorial assistant at National Review.