’24: Live Another Day’ Season 9 Premiere Review: Jack is Back!

Published 12 months ago by

Kiefer Sutherland in 24 LAD Episode 2 24: Live Another Day Season 9 Premiere Review: Jack is Back!

[This is a review of 24: Live Another Day episode 1 and 2. There will be SPOILERS.]


It has been four years since Jack Bauer was last seen on television, and for a series that made its name by unfolding its storylines in real time it comes as no surprise that those four years are wholeheartedly felt here. At its heart, the world of 24: Live Another Day is still very much the world of 24, as it was last seen in season 8 (back in 2010). But things are different; most notably, the world has gone on without Jack battling it out on the frontlines. It has somehow endured without the relentless, near-super heroic efforts of one man constantly racing against the clock to prevent catastrophe. As the special 12-episode event series kicks off, it becomes clear that the ever-ticking clock counting down the seconds of each and every episode won’t be the only thing reminding the audience of time; those four years that the world treated Jack Bauer as a memory weigh heavily on the proceedings as well.

To its credit, however, 24: Live Another Day wants to use (and largely succeeds in using) that gap to its advantage, assembling the plot in such a way that it can utilize familiar faces from the past, while also putting them in situations it doesn’t necessarily have to explain in excruciating detail. For one, there’s a new president in office: former Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane), who is apparently suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, his daughter, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), has recovered from her trauma, and is now Audrey Boudreau, wife of Mark (Tate Donovan), the president’s chief of staff. All told, those are small but significant changes to the narrative that might have taken place between any season of the FOX action-drama, but the first two episodes – which transpire from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm – make pointed use of the four quiet years by establishing several dramatic possibilities with regard to those who might be directly effected by Jack’s sudden reemergence.

That being said, the progression of time becomes important in terms of building a legacy – both for the series’ protagonist, and the show itself. It’s difficult to say who exactly was clamoring for a return from 24, but they got one, and the producers and writers manage to do everything in their power to use that first hour reminding viewers what made the show so popular in the first place.

Yvone Strahovski in 24 Live Another Day Episode 1 24: Live Another Day Season 9 Premiere Review: Jack is Back!

So, after eight seasons of saving the world 24-hours at a time, Jack Bauer’s legacy is certainly deserving of some examination, and much of what happens in between ’11:00am-12:00am’ is Jack in full-on super-hero mode. Characters talk about him in hushed tones, reminding one another what he’s capable of, while Kiefer Sutherland does his best 1,000-yard stare before wreaking the kind of havoc only Jack Bauer is capable of. The kicker, then, is in how Jack demonstrates he’s still Jack, in all the good ways and even more so the bad. After all this time, Bauer is no closer to placing his trust in anything or anyone but himself. He’s a man without a country, without a job, and without friends (as he mentions to an accomplice who questions Jack’s decision to place a tracking device in Chloe O’Brian’s cell phone after he risks life and limb to extricate her from the clutches of the government). All that matters to Jack is the task at hand, and after four years of laying low, he’s finally found a task that’s worth poking his well-covered head out for.

That task welcomes Jack into the familiar, but increasingly complicated world of drone warfare. This time, with the added variable of hackers capable of hijacking the deadly military hardware for use against American and British forces. While jack is allowing himself to be apprehended and questioned at a CIA blacksite by Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) and, later, the more levelheaded, but disgraced by association, Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski), a hacker by the name of Derrick Yates establishes proof of concept for his software by setting up drone pilot Lt. Chris Tanner (Jon Boyega) for what looks like the deliberate bombing of a superior officer in the field. In reality, Derrick is formerly a part of a WikiLeaks/Anonymous-like group run who’s looking to strike it rich by selling his wares to Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley). By the end of the second hour, Margot’s daughter Simone (Emily Berrington) has killed Derrick and run off to rejoin “mummy” and apparently use American drone technology to assassinate President Heller on foreign soil, theoretically igniting World War III.

Benjamin Bratt and Gbenga Akinnagbe in 24 Live Another Day Episode 1 24: Live Another Day Season 9 Premiere Review: Jack is Back!

With that kind of a set-up, Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) becomes the perfect representative for the post-WikiLeaks free information movement world of today. It’s the kind of place where those with the ability to do so – like Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) the leader of her group – are forcing transparency on the government by actively releasing intelligence information to the public, an act that flies in the face of Jack’s pro-intelligence community stance. And while it certainly mirrors Jack’s “the ends justify the means” style of information extrication, and saving the world, the group’s methods also put a timestamp on his gun slinging, head butting ways – which, in the early part of the series paints Jack as something of a unique relic from the recent past.

That’s an interesting way of looking at a series that’s been resurrected after four years collecting dust. The juxtaposition of Jack and Chloe early on is both a callback to their previous efforts together, as well as a look at the ways in which they’ve moved on (or in Jack’s case, not moved on) without one another. Both are essentially fighting for ideologies and interests they are not interested in, nor have asked them to do so. In a way, it’s a lot like the show’s reemergence itself:  No one asked for it, but we got it anyway, so we might as well hold on and let 24: Live Another Day do its job.

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24: Live Another Day continues next Monday with ’1:00pm-2:00pm’ on FOX.

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  1. Great premiere! Welcome back Jack!

  2. Come on, they’re doing the same routine as season 8. Boring. Events happen in real time? No, not really. Everything is voila!, oh found the cell number, voila, here’s the tracker, voila, they’re are in that house. Really? Make us want to watch and be engaged. Let us figure the story out a bit and stop force feeding us everything. Let Jack be Jack like in the first season. As the series moved from season to season, they kept us moving along each episode quickly, no real drama and intense moments. Yeah, this or that might blow up but come on, let us believe that you might have done some work to figure it out instead of it being gift wrapped. I really enjoyed the show at times but just sick of the networks pumping out shows that they advertise as intense, drama filled episodes of great story and blah, blah, blah. Get real. Read a book and see what real drama is about. Tell a story. Let it breath. I thought that after such a longtime of 24 being gone it would have rewritten the genre for this type of show. It hasn’t, just give Jack some more energy drinks and surround him with good actors, there you go. That’s it for me, first episode could have really done better. Enjoy it, I am not watching anymore. Don’t let them dictate to the public that this mediocre style of TV is ok. Back to cable we go.

    • Yes! My sentiments exactly.

      • Oh haters r u here too..come on. 24 will continue to be all time best tv series and i mean it!!!

    • dude is that a cat up your ….or did you forgot to take your meds?

      • i mean forget not forgot

  3. Dear Writers of 24:

    Why is CTU constantly chasing Jack? After 8 seasons, he’s proven that he’s just trying to help. Why don’t they just get out of his way and let him do what he does? How many presidents’ lives does he have to save before CTU stops detaining him in those puny little cells of theirs that he keeps breaking out of. Please use your imagination and plug those gaping holes in your plot lines.

    Fan of GOOD screen writing

    • CTU is not chasing after Jack as it was abandoned several seasons ago. Instead it is now the intelligence agencies and screen-writers who cannot seem to understand the difficulty they have put themselves in by going after the one person who seems to constantly pull their butts out of the fires.

      Of course, they see Jack as a nuisance to their best laid plans who keeps on destroying their chances of making the best use of such crises…

      • there chasing him now because, in season 8 he killed a good 4 or 5 Russian diplomats
        and kidnapped a former VP in that epic body armor

  4. I’m not sold yet. For me the first two episodes felt a bit contrived and like a lot of stuff was being squeezed in to re-introduce all of the characters and hook the audience with crazy action. However, that could have been for exactly those reasons and the remaining episodes will hopefully settle into a better flow with more quiet moments to offset the loud ones.

  5. They lost all respect with this poorly written premiere. The Kate character is the worse, she doing way too much. It’s unbelievable and stupid . She’s taking down Jack Bauer and figures all his plans…yeah right. Get some better writers and stop bringing back all these characters the show no longer needs. Try to move on, it’ll make for better writing. So disappointed, I was a 24 fan before this, and please kill off this Kate b**** ASAP.. So much more I can say about her ridiculous over the top character and the show itself.

    • I agree with you about characters being brought back not helping the show, but I find the Kate character interesting. My first thought once she started taking out friendlies and going against her own agency was ‘this is exactly like Jack Bauer in season one’.

      In fact, if you look at Kate’s whole narrative thus far she has effectively become Jack Bauer of the past, and Jack Bauer himself is like one of various 24 characters of the past who seems like a villain but actually isn’t.

      It’s actually one of the few parts of the new season I found genuinely interesting. The show is essentially getting us to see Kate as an antagonist and someone who’s way over the top and out of line, even though she’s doing exactly what Jack Bauer has always done. Whether or not this was something the creators intended is another story.

  6. Love the show but realistically it fails. The President waits to notify the British P.M. who allows the CIA to run with it on British soil. Not a single jet has been put in the air to try to get eyes on these drones. It’s called a sky cap. Several hundreds of jets could and would be in the air regardless of the drones stealth technology. Once a missile is fired the drones position is given away. The drones require a satellite or aircraft to relay the data sent to it unless it’s line of site and that is usually limited to landings. Launching require a go code or clear to fire authorization. These signals would be easily detected as they could only be sent on certain frequencies which the military would know of and monitor. Of course the evil genius who hacked the drone system could find away to disguise these codes thus allowing the evil queen to kill everyone but wait he’s dead so if an adjustment has to be made, oops, her bad. I know it’s just a TV show which in the words of Chancey Gardner, “I like to watch,” but you’ve got to admit I have a couple of valid criticisms.

  7. The real world is not as fun as in movies; it is this line ’24′ treads… Jack, no matter the good deeds, still has to face justice for crimes against humanity; also, 24 had to appeal to fans, old and new alike, while keeping true to its nature… that explains the old characters while still reshuffling the cast.
    There is a finite number of ideas in a limited genre, cut this amazing show some slack; any of you hating ever heard of ‘suspension of disbelief’? You do not need to have a perfect 100% show to enjoy it, and its need to appeal to different people means it WILL have aspects you do not like…