Jack Bauer and 24 are back tonight. No, really, the character and show aren't just back ... it's as if they've never left.
If there are things about 24 that bugged you in the final few seasons, they're going to continue to bug you. But if there are things that you absolutely loved, from the breakneck pacing to the seemingly superhuman that is Jack Bauer, you're going to continue to be very, very satisfied -- just as I was when watching the two-hour premiere of 24: Live Another Day.
It's hard to review the first two hours of Live Another Day without outright spoiling major plot points -- even if, as I'll discuss in my recap tonight, you'll see a few of them coming a mile away.
Instead, I'll mention the things that I loved and am glad to see are back. And then I'll point out the few quibbles that I really wish producers had learned to excise from the show over the last four years.
What I Love About the Premiere
-- The friendship between Jack and Chloe that, no doubt, is tattered at the beginning of the two-hour premiere. But you'll see signs of their anger (especially on Chloe's side) start to dissipate as they realize how much they truly care for each other.
-- The return of a lot of characters we haven't seen in a while, such as President James Heller and Audrey Raines -- though she may have a different last name these days.
-- The way a lot of the new characters played by actors such as Benjamin Bratt and Yvonne Strahovski seamlessly fit into the show, as if you're kind of surprised they've never been on the show before. (Then again, compared to Freddie Prinze, Jr., anything might be seen as a casting coup.)
-- The topical ideas they show always seems to enjoy putting into 24. This time: the use of drones during wartime.
-- Setting the show in London, which gives the show a nice new flavor and lots of great new locales to explore, even if we don't see much of London in the first two hours.
-- And of course, the first and only "dammit!" we get from Jack during the first two hours.
What I Wish Producers Got Rid of in the Last Four Years
-- The internal politics of the CIA (standing in for CTU). Why must everyone argue and backstab?
-- The fact that there are enough asshole-like people in the government that I've already identified two or three likely candidates to be the typical 24 "mole." Tate Donovan's character, Mark -- I'm looking straight at you, buddy.
-- The storyline involving President Heller. If they're going for a Reagan-like metaphor, I get it. I just don't think it's going to be dramatically interesting to watch that all season.
24: Live Another Day premieres tonight at 8pm on FOX, and moves to its regular timeslot at 9pm starting next week.