Years ago, Jack Bauer fans accepted that season eight might be the last. With Live Another Day, Jack is back with all the favorite elements. Timely plots, favorite characters, and the all important pacing of the show draw fans old and new into this action packed television series.
Sure, 24 can’t go on without Jack, but every long time fan asks, “Is Chloe back, too?” Luckily, every promo ad makes it clear. She’s not just back; she’s front and center. Jack looks just the same, but Chloe shows how much the world has changed. She reflects a world with Edward Snowden, and a sophistication about surveillance. Other familiar characters, Heller and Audrey Raines, continue the storyline from several seasons back. The plot doesn’t require in-depth information from previous seasons, but the fans can appreciate the depth of character development.
Fortunately, this season introduces enough new territory to keep it fresh. The day takes place in London, away from the previous US based locations. The visuals are compelling, and the plot offers an international flair. Jack isn’t saving an American city this time, but the American president on foreign soil. He may still have noble motivation, but he’s edgier. The Jack of season one, with family concerns dominating every hour, has grown into a more complex character. The world is more complicated, and Live Another Day reflects it.
The Other Star: The Format
In previous seasons, the most exciting episodes tended to be the special two hour events. The producers apparently took note, and made the entire season two hour events. With only twelve episodes, the season can be more tightly packed into summer viewing. The essential format of a 24 hour, real time plotline remains the same, but the wait for unfolding is shortened. Years ago, 24 initiated the binge watching experience when it came out on DVD. Now that binge watching is commonplace, the producers acknowledge that experience, right from the initial broadcast.
Some elements of 24 are essential: the clock, the sound effects, explosions, and Jack’s “dammit.” There’s something special about a show that can be cancelled for four years, and come back with a vengeance. Kiefer Sutherland wins over fans, old and new, with his performance in Live Another Day. For the fans who will be noticing all the finer touches of editing and script details, 24 satisfies like few shows. Live Another Day deserves all its accolades from critics and fans alike.