Premieres Monday, May 5 at 7pm on FOX.
Let me save you some time. If you're a fan of 24, then you don't care what I think of Live Another Day. I have watched exactly two seasons of 24, the first two. The only thing I know about Chloe O'Brian is that she's played by the funny lady who jerked off Danny DeVito in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. To me, 24 is the show that made torture cool again. It's the show where everyone who seems like a good guy will eventually end up being a mole or they will get shot by the mole. It's the show where Elisha Cuthbert got chased by a mountain lion into an underground bunker with Kevin Dillon. It's the show that Homeland was totally better than...until it wasn't. So, it's safe to say that I did not go into 24: Live Another Day without my share of negative bias and I didn't come out of the first two episodes of its return with a greatly changed viewpoint.
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Set and shot in London, 24: Live Another Day finds Keifer Sutherland's Jack Bauer coming out of the woodwork after four years of living off the grid. Despite the fact that we know he's perhaps the only good guy left in the intelligence world, Jack is believed to be an enemy of the state, and when the London branch of his former agency discovers that he's right under their noses, it seems apparent that this all in his design.
While trekking through slums and avoiding being seen in a city filled with cameras, Jack has stumbled upon a plot to assissinate the President. In order to stop it, he needs to break Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and her Lisbeth Salandar makeover out of a black site prison, where she's being held and tortured after going the way of Edward Snowden and releasing countless confidential government files to the public. Playing Tommy Lee Jones to Sutherland's Harrison Ford is Yvonne Strahovski as Kate, a former field agent who's being transferred and demoted after she failing to recognize that her husband and colleague had been a mole. Clearly, poor Kate doesn't know how 24 works: Everyone you care about is a mole.
Fox has been promoting 24's return as something that a show virgin could drop in on and enjoy and this is only moderately true. While Jack Bauer and the CTU had a pretty strong impact on the pop culture world and Live Another is largely populated with new characters, I felt the need to trek to a 24 wiki to discover details about Jack's relationship with the President's daughter Audrey (Kim Raver) after their dark history was alluded to.
While it retains the familiar name, this installment of 24 will only air 12 hour-long episodes but still retains the "events occurring in real-time" format, with the actions hopping around between Jack, Kate and the President's office, where we learn that the Commander-in-Chief is trying to keep his descent into Alzheimer's a secret from the world. The split screens, the ticking clock and Sutherland's intensity have all returned making 24 feel familiar to anyone who's previously caught an episode. But the television environment has changed since 24 aired its last episode and everything about Live Another Day feels terribly dated. Chloe's comical goth makeover and mentions of drone warfare can't conceal the fact that this show's greatest strength was that it scratched a post-9/11 itch that's now pretty red and raw. It's outlook on the world feels oddly nostalgic for a show that last aired only a few years ago.