Friday, May 9, 2014

What I’m Watching: 24 (Series Return)

24: Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2 “Day 9: 11:00am-12:00pm” and “Day 9: 12:00pm-1:00pm” (B-)

There are a number of shows recently that are being revived years after they ended and recommissioned for new episodes. In many cases, it’s hard to believe that this or that show is the one that netted enough attention to merit a revival. With this show, however, it’s different. By the time it went off the air back in 2010 after eight seasons and nearly two hundred hours, this show had burnt out most of its original energy and creativity. It was nonetheless a blast to watch, and it would be difficult to find anyone who didn’t find the notion of watching more “24” at least a little bit exciting. Set four years after Jack went on the run following his express act of treason, this show picks up in a world in which CTU is just a distant memory and Jack is a wanted fugitive. This show does like to keep its Presidents in the family, and therefore it’s former Secretary of Defense Heller’s turn in the Oval Office, though he happens to have a debilitating and continually worsening memory and mental state. Kim Raver’s Audrey is back too, this time with a new last name and a new husband, in the form of Tate Donovan’s Chief of Staff, who hates Jack with a fiery passion. The other returning faces are none other than Chloe O’Brian and our very own Jack Bauer.

Having Jack back on TV comes with the same stipulations and suspension of disbelief that was crucial to enjoying this show in the first place. Jack doesn’t even speak for most of the first episode, and it’s to be understood that as soon as he is in custody, much like Nina before him, nothing anyone can try to do to stop him can control or contain him. Contrary to popular belief, he does not possess superpowers, yet he certainly acts like he does. It was great fun to watch Jack overwhelm his escorts and look at the camera with that token look of his, and to see that Chloe was a prisoner in the Special Activities division and immediately understand what was going to happen next. But the fact that he managed to get into a secure facility and break his way out within minutes – an instance of this show’s real-time format working against its believability – is purely ridiculous. That only Yvonne Strahovski’s disgraced Kate Morgan can deduce what Jack is up to, and exactly that, for the record, is equally preposterous, especially considering her conveniently familiar story of not knowing that the person she loved was a spy. I don’t see how Jack is going to be able to convince anyone that he’s trying to save Heller’s life when everyone believes the opposite, but I guess that’s the point. Michelle Fairley from “Game of Thrones” seems like a formidable villain, and hacking drones to use against the very army that’s supposed to be controlling them is an intriguing storyline.

Basically, I know what to expect with this show, and most other people do too. Will it be completely over-the-top and unbelievable? Yes. Will it be a blast at the same time? I think so.

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