Yes, it's good to have "24" back. For all of its bizarre twists and wild credibility gaps -- and there are huge ones Monday -- this is riveting television, sharp stories crisply filmed. The show returns with two hours on May 5, then has 10 one-hour chunks to (again) save the world. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
For eight seasons, the crises kept expanding.
A senator might be killed … a nuclear bomb might be
detonated … a virus might be released … a president is slain … a world-war
nears. Each time, Jack Bauer saved us in 24 hours; then he fled.
Now, four years later, he’s back. This new version both is
and isn’t like the old “24”:
The story again spans 24 hours, but now the series
is 12 episodes, not 24. Each episode is still in real time, but sometimes the
story will jump ahead an hour or two between weeks.
Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) is on his own now, a
fugitive with almost no one on his side. Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is back, but
not like before. She’s “not just his trusted sidekick and most trusted friend,”
said producer Howard Gordon, “but someone who has been quite damaged.”
Only two others from the previous seasons are
around – Audrey (Kim Raver), Jack’s ex-lover, and her dad (William Devane), now
And Los Angeles and Washington are finally safe;
this story happens in London.
For Sutherland, the jump to London was fine. “I was born
there and spent huge parts of my life there,” he said. “It’s a place where I
feel very comfortable.”
Still, it’s not the usual spot for action-adventure. “Traffic
there is very difficult,” Sutherland said in January, before filming began. “We
plan to be shooting outside … blowing up cars, double-decker buses, things like
that. I’m sure we’ll be hated by a large portion of London for snarling up
And yes, producer Manny Coto said, there will be “some
pretty crazy events” in London.
The difference is in the precision of the storytelling.
Cable-viewers are used to 10-12 hours or so for a story; pushing each “24” to
24 episodes was a stretch, Gordon admitted. “It was really, really punishing.
So this felt like we could catch our breath a little bit and felt like we could
At first, all the “24” rumors were about a movie (which
producers say is still a possibility); then talk of a 12-hour series emerged.
Fans insisted Chloe be involved.
“It was a strange two-month-or-so period,” Rajskub said. “It
was every day on Twitter and me waiting to see if I was going to be included ….
I have a lot of people refuse to call me anything but Chloe.”
Then the story was set. Chloe is a rebel, Jack is a fugitive;
one federal agent (Yvonne Strahavski of “Chuck”) senses his schemes. And then those
“crazy events” hit London.
“24: Live Another Day,” Fox
Opener is 8-10 p.m. Monday (May 5); then 9 p.m.
Mondays, with 10 more episodes