The title of this latest promo for 24: Live Another Day is “Every Second Counts” – but that’s not necessarily true. In this retooled miniseries version of the original show, we’re only getting 12 episodes instead of 24, thereby breaking the oft-restrictive real-time rules that first helped distinguish the 24 TV series. So to the contrary, for the first time ever, every second does NOT count in this show.
What DOES count is Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), and he’s back along with Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub). At this point in a show whose characters and mythos has grown well beyond its core concept, having the characters we know and love back in the thrill of espionage and battle is pretty much all you need.
…And it’s a good thing, because much of what is actually shown in the promo looks like someone replaying one of their early-season 24 DVDs for a minute-long montage, with all the workplace/family drama fluff cut out. That could be exactly what we’re getting with 24: Live Another Day: vintage Jack Bauer lean cut, as opposed to the later, bloated, “Super Jack” seasons when the character arguably became a victim of his own hype. That’s nice to see, for sure, but is it a compelling enough reason for a multitude of viewers to tune in for 12 episodes – especially if they don’t immediately get that warm, fuzzy, Jack Bauer feeling held sacred in their nostalgia?
As always with these revival events, there’s the risk that people won’t be happy even if they get what they want (again). It seems like serial killers are at the center of a lot of action/thriller shows these days (just note how The Following now occupies that old 24 Monday night slot), while the espionage sub-genre has gotten a cerebral and stylistic upgrade thanks to shows like Homeland. And while Jack Bauer is iconic, Sutherland is not the same level of heavyweight as, say, James Spader on The Blacklist - a hit show where a character that Jack Bauer would’ve water boarded in the early 2000s is now the biggest draw.
I probably sound more morose than I want to (I’m happy, I swear – Jack is Back!), but nothing seen in this trailer has me champing at the bit. It all feels slightly dated, honestly – down to the line Jack says about how the plot is bigger than just President James Heller (returning cast member William Devane). You could lift that same line out of seasons 1, 2, 5, of the show.
Finally, I love how the evil plot seems to revolve around the idea of basically restarting the Revolutionary War by having a US president assassinated in England. Seriously bro, those hostilities have been percolating ever since 1783; one powder keg, dead pres, or spilled barrel of tea will unhinge the entire world – unless Jack Bauer can stop it.
Plenty of familiar faces are returning – Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) James Heller (William Devane) – but new faces are joining in on the high-octane fun, too: Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter), Giles Matthey (Jobs), Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire), Michael Wincott (The Crow) and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones).
24: Live Another Day premieres on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 8pm EST on Fox.