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TV Review: ’24: Live Another Day’ Premiere

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From the moment you hear that classic tick as each second passes and hear: “The following takes place between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. Events occur in real time,” it’s clear exactly what show you’re watching: 24. Fans know they are about to go on another thrill-ride with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and the premiere of Live Another Day didn’t disappoint!

Initial overnight ratings of the 2-hour premiere by TV By The Numbers indicate it was a success, garnering a 2.5 rating coming in second behind NBC’s finale of The Voice.

I think it’s safe to say fans were ecstatic to see their favorite hero back on their screens! Twitter was all abuzz as producers tweeted with fans using the hashtag #24LAD:

“Alexa Taylor♚ ‏@aleeexag #JackIsBack #24LAD taking time off from studying all day to watch my favorite show. SOO happy it is back on! *tick *tick *tick.”

“David Harman ‏@daveh0628 Jack always looks the same, pissed off and ready to F%*K UP anybody who gets in his way! #JackIsBack #24LAD.”

“T’PARI ‏@STOPTHIS Jack Bauer has my heart stop short a couple of times during 24. I need to catch my breathe and can’t make it through in one shot.”

People all over the world were anticipating the premiere, even as far as Asia:

“Janey ‏@swanvixen #JackIsBack Dammit!! #24LAD fever is on! Have to wait 5 more hours b4 d show starts here in SE Asia. We need 2 get JACKed NOW! #24LAD.”

Fans were also glad to see arguably one of the best duo’s on television, Jack and Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub), back together in the thick of the action!

“Kyle Scudilla ‏@kylescudilla Best TV duo ever is #JackAndChloe . I can’t believe my favorite show ever came back!! #24LAD @24fox.”

Jack7So what happened? It’s been four years since we last saw Jack Bauer walking off into the sunset to exile and Chloe turn away from the screen after saying goodbye to her friend forever- or so we thought! Never underestimate the powers that be!

Jack has been on the run the last four years, dodging not only the United States but numerous foreign governments all hunting him down as a terrorist. Secretary of Defense James Heller (William DeVane), now President, is visiting London, England to sign a treaty with Prime Minister Alastair Davies (Stephen Fry) and his daughter Audrey (Kim Raver) has recovered from her torture at the hands of the Chinese, now married to his Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan).

The episode begins with the capture of Jack by the CIA after he leads them through an underground hideout, then down to the TJack25hames River where he’s cornered. It all seems impossible- how after 4 years could he so carelessly be caught? Of course they attempt to interrogate him but get no where as Jack sits stone faced, completely unaffected by Head of CIA Agent Steve Navarro’s (Benjamin Bratt) questions.

For the first 35 minutes he has yet to utter a word, though fans were waiting for that signature “Dammit!”

Why would Jack subject himself to this? It all becomes clear as we see Chloe being held and tortured! After a stint in prison for leaking classified Department of Defense records, she’s been in hiding herself, now working for the free-information hackers hell bent on disseminating the Jack32government’s wrong doings to the public.  Although CIA Agent on the outs Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) figures out Jack’s deception, the fact he was purposely caught to get to Chloe, she’s too late as he heroically rescues our favorite techie!

Meanwhile, President Heller is dealing with his own demons as he copes with advancing Alzheimer Disease and the reality he’s literally losing himself. Though Audrey is alarmed, Heller tries to allay her fears by focusing on the treaty and reception they are about to join with Prime Minister Davies. Neither are aware that Jack is in town and Boudreau is greatly concerned for Audrey’s safety, vowing she’ll never hear the name Jack Bauer again!

However that’s not the president’s biggest problem. The U.Jack28S. has been instrumental in the implementation of the wildly unpopular spy drone program. Thanks to techie-turned-terrorist Derek Yates (Joseph Millson) who devised a program capable of remotely taking control of the drones, he is selling to the highest bidder. He successfully tests his handy work by controlling a U.S. drone to launch a missile targeting military and four men are killed in Afghanistan, including two British soldiers.  The Prime Minister is none too happy and now potential for conflict between the U.S. and Britain is escalating. But who’s behind it?

With Chloe rescued, Jack follows her to the underground free-information organization she’s been working, under extremist Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott). His motive for breaking her out? To find Yates whom he last tracked to her group of techie misfits.  Shocked by Jack’s sudden break in, Chloe agrees to help though feels betrayed. Jack27“You’re my friend. If you wanted my help you should have just asked”, Chloe admonishes Jack who now feels horrible.

Why is Jack looking for Yates? Somehow he’s gained intel that there is an assassination attempt against President Heller set to take place while in Britain and he was only able to ascertain one person involved- Derek Yates.  As always it doesn’t take Chloe’s team much time to track down the newly dubbed conspirator and knowing Jack will need back up, Chloe offers to join him.

Jack traverses the suspect’s apartment complex with Chloe’s guidance and finds Yates, unfortunately Agent Morgan has also tracked Jack down! He is held at gunpoint and although he tries to tell Morgan she needs to stop Yates it’s futile and the suspect slips through their fingers! It all goes to hell when a shoot-out ensues and Jack is suddenly shot in the arm, but makes his get-away though not before he corners Morgan to clue her in on Yates. Thanks to Chloe’s hot-wiring skills (who knew?), both are able to escape arrest.

The premiere ends with Yates’ murder at the hands of his supposed girlfriend, who turns out to be the daughter of our as yet unnamed villain!

All in all, I’d say classic 24 is back, and the premiere reminded me why I loved the show so much in the first place. Both our heroes, Jack and Chloe, have gone through a lot during their four year absence.

Jack is definitely more hardened, clearly with nothing to lose and one of the most heartbreaking moments is when he learns he has a grandson, knowing he can’t return to the country he’s fought so hard for. Not only that, but his motivation to stop the assassination plot of course has to do with his great love, Audrey and his desire to at least save her father since he couldn’t save her.  He has no idea she’s recovered from her ordeal.

Chloe has gone through a complete transformation, with a new punk haircut and tats galore after turning against the government she worked under for so many years. Believing the US government acts criminally, she appears to have been a little brainwashed by this Adrian Cross character.  Jack picks up on it during their brief chat. “You’re smarter than that, I can see you talking but all I can hear is Adrian Cross,” he lashes out at Chloe who for once doesn’t have a sassy comeback!

The cast is phenomenal, especially Strahvoski as CIA Agent Kate Morgan, who I believe was born to play this role.  As incredible as she was in NBC’s Chuck and Showtime’s Dexter, Strahvoski canJack26 hold her own with Sutherland.

Morgan has been discharged from the CIA after learning her own husband was a terrorist.  It’s fitting that she’s on the outs with the CIA and is somewhat of a rogue agent, which will definitely play a part as she most likely becomes an ally of Jack’s. I’m anxious to see them interact more.

Another amazing addition to the cast is huge 24 fan, British actor Stephen Fry as Prime Minister Alastair Davies. His commanding performance with William DeVane was definitely a highlight and no doubt we’re in for a real treat as his character goes toe to toe with President Heller.

I was really excited when I heard William DeVane, as well as Kim Raver were back since one of my favorite seasons was upon their introduction to the series.  However one of the things that fans commented about on twitter last night during the premiere was President Heller’s Alzheimer Disease storyline.  Many weren’t happy with it and neither am I. While I understand the need for the head honcho to have some type of issue, did it have to be this? He’s been such a strong character throughout the series, representing a steadfast moral compass to storylines, that it is a shame to lose him this way and will be tough to watch his deterioration. I feel they could have gone a different route.

One of the things that not only I am anticipating but fans are too, is Jack and Audrey’s reunion. The big question is what will happen once they lock eyes? After losing his wife in the first season, I’d say Audrey is Jack8definitely Jack’s one great love. Does Audrey’s new husband Boudreau really think Jack would hurt the President or is he scared of losing his wife? I think it’s the latter! I found it interesting that within the first few moments fans believed Boudreau to be on the dark side of the force. I guess it all remains to be seen!

One of the most refreshing aspects about 24 over each season, in my view, is that producers are not afraid to subliminally (or not so subliminally) insert thought-provoking political commentary throughout the story. With the storyline about the controversial drone program, Kiefer Sutherland addressed this during a recent conference call with reporters. “One of the things that I’ve always admired about Howard and Evan and Manny with their writing is that they do manage to have quite a very current political discussion within the context of the show. And even though it doesn’t necessarily permeate my storylines, but we’re dealing with Edward Snowden, we’re still obviously dealing with torture, we’re dealing with drones, and those conversations are being represented by all sides, so, I think that that’s a really interesting part of the show, and it will be interesting to see how an audience processes that.”

Finally, fans wonder what the ‘Dammit’ count will be this season.  It’s no secret that after Sutherland learned of the drinking game that fans played where every time he says ‘Dammit’ they drink, Jack began to say it ALOT!  So far, Jack has only said it once at the end of the second episode. Can’t wait to see the stats rise so break out that Tequila everyone!

If the premiere is any indication, Live Another Day is set to be one of the best seasons of 24 yet!

Don’t miss a second of it every Monday at 9:00 p.m. on FOX!

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About Chrissy Piccolo

Chrissy Piccolo the founder of RHeart Network, the Fan's Voice, the #1 Fan Connection Destination, supporting daytime, prime-time and online scripted digital content. Currently the host of RHeart Radio, the Fan's Voice, as well as Storytellers On The Net, and Sleepy Hollow Addicts on Blogtalk radio. In addition to writing for Blogcritics, she is also an author on Examiner.com. Web Series Today and currently co-hosts with Barbara Barnett and Jerome Wetzel on 'Let's Talk TV' on Blogtalk. She is also working on adapting her her first novel in The Kirsten Kelly Chronicles series into a webseries. Passionate about keeping scripted content alive, she continues to be an advocate for all forms. When she’s not working managing several websites or writing, one of her hobbies is investigating the paranormal with other enthusiasts and searching out possible cases through historic sites in the Northwest. Chrissy believes in being a positive influence in such a vast medium as the Internet.