TV Review: ’24: Live Another Day’

24 live another day

Jack Bauer is back, and enthusiasm regarding “24: Live Another Day” (or really, at 12 episodes, another half-day) will likely be split, depending on whether news of the project evoked, “Wow! Can’t wait!” or, “Seriously? Again? Just how desperate is Fox?” As a member of the latter camp — why not let the man find a nice beach somewhere instead of dragging this out into “Expendables” territory? — it’s safe to note that the two-hour premiere is ably executed and effectively paced, which is to say, like sundry past seasons. For Fox, along with comfort-and-catharsis-seeking viewers, that’s probably enough.

Set in London, an opening sequence in which Kiefer Sutherland’s signature, much-politicized hero takes on a group of CIA-station operatives quickly demonstrates Jack hasn’t lost his knack for mayhem during his hiatus from TV. But his arrival creates headaches for the station chief (Benjamin Bratt) and the only agent with a brain in her head (Yvonne Strahovski), who, naturally, is in the process of being drummed out of the service when the chaos begins.

It gives away nothing to say the plot hinges on the fact the U.S. president (William Devane, promoted from his earlier stint as Secretary of Defense, and invariably classing up the joint) is visiting London, representing a ripe target for a terrorist attack. Moreover, there’s the little matter of Jack’s history with both him and his daughter/Jack’s former girlfriend, Audrey (Kim Raver), which is only one of the several degrees of difficulty — a few of marginal value — producers introduce into the proceedings.

As usual, “24” draws some of its kick from its references to real-life concerns, from “enhanced interrogation” techniques to drone strikes. That said, showrunner Howard Gordon upped that bar with his Showtime series “Homeland,” and whatever its patina of seriousness, “24” ultimately works best as James Bond-type fare, with Mary Lynn Rajskub once again on hand as Jack’s Moneypenny and Q rolled into one.

The opening two episodes are characteristically entertaining, and snap along pretty briskly (the first is in real time), but it’s hard to escape a sense of creative malaise around all this. Essentially, the limited series became the consolation prize for a proposed movie that never came to fruition, while offering Fox — coming off a season where its ratings have experienced their own countdown — a highly promotable title heading into the upfronts and summer.

So while Jack might continue to nobly hammer away out of a sense of duty and inherent goodness despite receiving a cold shoulder from an ungrateful nation, this “24” revival seems motivated by more pragmatic and mercenary considerations: trying to wring a few more nuggets out of a played-out goldmine.

TV Review: '24: Live Another Day'

(Series; Fox, Mon. May 5, 8 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in London by Teakwood Lane Prods. and Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, Manny Coto, David Fury, Robert Cochran, Brian Grazer, Jon Cassar, Kiefer Sutherland; producer, Iain Smith; director, Cassar; writers, Katz, Coto, Cochran, Fury; camera, Jeffrey C. Mygatt; production designer, Jonathan Lee; editors, Joe Hobeck, Jordan Goldman; music, Sean Callery; casting, Debi Manwiller, Amy Hubbard. 120 MIN.

Cast

Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kim Raver, William Devane, Benjamin Bratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Tate Donovan, Michael Wincott, Gbenga Akkinagbe, Giles Matthey

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  1. John T. Rennie says:

    24 is the show of the season. Can’t wait until the next episode. Show is best is every instance,and
    Fox should be given credit for bringing it back.

  2. Sue Sims says:

    Loved the show!!!Have been waiting for Jack to come back. I hope there is another season. I thought this show did not disappoint. It was action, action and had me on the edge of my seat. I did not care for the review. It was very negative.

  3. james stengel says:

    Probably the worst and more biased review I have ever read in my life!

  4. Richard Ward says:

    Did you even watch the show? “The opening two episodes are characteristically entertaining, and snap along pretty briskly (the first is in real time)”

    Clearly not then… Both episodes were in real time Brian just like every episode that’s ever been and ever will be. Your scathing review reads like it was written by someone who has read a few other articles and hit copy and paste a few times.

  5. Eli Simmons says:

    It’s too bad the Shaky-Cam ( now with Super Zoom ! ) is still used.
    Sorry … can’t watch something that poorly filmed. ‘ Edgy’ should
    not be a substitute for lack of style. You’re not really trying.

  6. Andrew Kole says:

    I liked it.
    Old school and fun.
    Lowry needs to find something else to pick on.
    Real appeal to the audience that actually watches TV today – think NCIS crowd.

  7. Rich Rathnow says:

    Loved 24 before AND LOVE it still…..I cant get enough of Jack Bauer and the show. Bring it on and keep it coming!

  8. gav says:

    So far so bad. The story line so far is poor. Acting is bad. I am a huge 24 fan but so far it’s resurrection leaves me a little bewildered.

  9. Blah Blah blah says:

    I should think it is clear that Audrey is Jack’s girlfriend, not Jack’s daughter. This is set in London, not Kentucky.

  10. Filmgeek says:

    Brian Lowry is a wanker, trying to make his name by crapping on his betters. I’ve seen the first episode and it rocks! 24 fans, rejoice – Jack is back and badder than ever!!

  11. tONY says:

    I have a phone interview with Keifer today. I’ll get his opinion.

  12. tONY says:

    What is Lowry talking about????
    Totally waisted time to read this negative article. 24 is the best series ever created and Lowery knows nothing about TV. Totally biased.

  13. Daryle Gardner-Bonneau says:

    Absolutely worthless review…and clearly biased from the get-go. I have not been a rabid fan of the show…particularly in its later years, but it was groundbreaking when it started and quality television over the first five seasons. I’m willing to give this one a chance; certainly, Lowry’s review is not going to dissuade me….

  14. Bill says:

    Why does Variety have people with an active dislike for a show review them?

    This is ridiculous and not at all professional with your review more or less being “it didn’t suck any more than it did before.”

  15. MovieGeek says:

    It seemed you had your mind made up even before watching this and were never able to bypass your ““Seriously? Again?” state of mind. The result is a pretty pointless review which seems more concerned about the reasons for this new series than the actual product itself.
    Furthermore Kim Raver is not his daughter! Get your fact straight before trashing anything along the way.
    Very poor, Variety… Very poor.

    • Brian Lowry says:

      The post has been updated to make clear to the reading impaired that Kim Raver is the daughter of the president, played by William Devane, not Jack Bauer’s daughter.

      • Ozgur says:

        You don’t really have to edit it, Brian. For anyone who bothered to read the first sentence of that paragraph, it was already pretty clear who ‘him’ and ‘his daughter’ would refer to.

  16. Jane says:

    I don’t care what any reviewer says. I’ll be watching whatever Jack Bauer does, gratefully. The character and the drama have been missed.

  17. Seba says:

    Very poor review.
    Also, you don’t even know what you are talking about. Kim Raver plays Audrey Rains. She’s not the daughter of Jack… Please, if you don’t know, shut up!

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