Jack Bauer, the special agent who has saved the world time and again on Fox's 24, may well be remembered as Kiefer Sutherland's signature role, and that's saying something. This year's news that Bauer would return to the airwaves in 24: Live Another Day was surprising enough - then reports that the format will be changed to a 12-episode format threw fans for a bit of a loop.
We've had a good run of updates too: the new series (technically the show's 9th season) will be set in London, where Jack must prevent "an unthinkable terrorist attack that could change the world forever." Live Another Day will feature the return of many characters, including Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) and James Heller (William Devane). New faces include Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter), Giles Matthey (Jobs), Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire), Michael Wincott (The Crow) and Judy Davis (Life with Judy Garland).
Now, we have our first look at what's in store in Live Another Day - in the form of a batch of trailers. Watch the captivating first footage above, which aired during the Super Bowl, all done in one shot. Then check out a series of very short teasers, all of them presented on top of over 24's famous beeping countdown.
Here is the first of them, in which someone - probably Bauer - chambers a round in slow motion:
The next super-short shows the top of London's famous Gherkin Building… along with screams and a cloud of smoke:
A flaming piece of glass (remnant of a car bombing?) is in flames as people run screaming in the background:
Finally, flames in the foreground, as Londoners scatter:
Taken as a whole, these teasers quite effectively establish the atmosphere of what's to come: fear, violence and a cloud of constant danger. The grim tone of the sneak peeks is so pervasive that it's hard to notice the absolute lack of any plot details. So the show's trademark style (and mystery) will return, as well.
In the years following 9/11, Jack Bauer was an iconic, needed hero: facing terrorism with an iron will (and bladder), with a take-no-prisoners approach. He became something of a superhero in the last few seasons of 24, but this new chapter will supposedly provide a more grounded approach to storytelling and his character. The shortened season will hopefully mean a much more focused, streamlined story.
The world still needs a Jack Bauer: let's hope the showrunners rise to the task.
24: Live Another Day premieres on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 8pm EST on Fox.