in Review

24: Live Another Day

Jack Bauer, I missed you. Say what you will about Raylan Givens, Walter White, or Rustin Cohle, there’s been a badass hole in television since 24 ended four years ago. This poor man, who has lost everything time and time again while he’s been busy saving the country (and often the world) remains the best action hero of the 21st Century, and Live Another Day reminds us how great Kiefer Sutherland is in the part. And with a short 12 episode order, Live Another Day gives us just enough of him and the world of 24 to leave me wanting more.

If you missed out on Day 8, basically all you need to know about this season is that Renee Walker, the third love of Jack’s life, was murdered and Jack took vicious revenge, leaving him a fugitive from the United States and Russia’s most wanted. This season opens in London, with Jack resurfacing just in time to get tangled up in a web involving old friends and new enemies. Like every season of the show, there are countless twists and turns and the final conflict bears almost no resemblance to the one that started everything (even though its only been a few hours) and going into any detail would spoil some of that fun.

I will say that they brought back exactly the right people. Secretary of Defense Heller (William Devane) is now the president, and his staff includes his daughter Audrey (Kim Raver), the only woman who Jack ever loved who is still alive. Any longtime fan of the show knows how exciting it is to have these characters back, and how complex their relationship is with Jack. And for everybody else, well, you get to enjoy the fine, fine work of William Devane. The only other CTU vet to return is Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe, because it wouldn’t be this show without her. It’s weird to think she wasn’t in those first two seasons.

Newcomers include Yvonne Strahovski as this day’s agent who is good at stuff, Michelle Fairley as a terrorist, and Stephen Fry as the PM of the UK, so that’s pretty great. I want to give a shoutout to Stanley Townsend for playing a really slimy dude and also having one of the worst beards ever put to film. Just look at this shit:

I have never seen the “hair just around my mouth” look before. It’s almost a goatee, but it’s not.

Like I alluded above, Live Another Day basically gives you everything you’d want out of a season of 24 and not too much else. There’s light political commentary, plenty of shootouts, a few (most torture-free) interrogations, and lots of hard decisions to make. You’ll hear “within the hour” uttered more times than you might like, but hey, it keeps things tense. And the stuff that goes down in the back half of the season is so great I was someone left wanting even more. The show’s over! I should be satisfied! Why do I care so much about Jack Bauer?