Jack Bauer is back and, this time, he's got 12 hours to not let London explode at the hands of some very bad people.
Yes, 24: Live Another Day doesn't exactly stay true 100% to the whole 24 hours thing. Well, it does by fast forwarding to 12 hours later right at the end I guess, but, right off the bat, with a different setting and a different time scale to work with, this was set to be a rather unique season of the long-running show. This time, the big threat is an override which allows anyone to control weaponised drones and this terrorist's widow Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley) is planning to use it on London if the US President (William Devane's James Heller) doesn't give himself up. It's a promising idea and those first six episodes do a really good job of building up that threat and delivering some kickass moments including the dramatic death of a major character (kinda), a full-on chase in which Jack Bauer (the ever enjoyable Kiefer Sutherland) has to outrun a drone that's blowing sh** up left and right and Bauer throwing someone out a friggin' window like a bunch of broccoli with, bizarrely, no repercussions after that.
It's fun stuff and although it doesn't go for the twist-after-twist thing, it gives you the impression that some massive reveals and unexpected turns are coming.
Unfortunately, though the second half of the season is entertaining enough to watch and does include the awesome image of Jack Bauer slicing someone's head off with a samurai sword, there's still an underwhelming feel to it. Chloe O'Brian's (Mary Lynn Rajskub) goth Girl With The Dragon Tattoo make-over ends up feeling completely arbitrary and not really worth it. In fact, the character is almost completely sidelined after the halfway point, showing up near the end with a wet laptop to hack into a nearby satellite dish... somehow. Same goes with Stephen Fry's British Prime Minister who sort of disappears eventually. The main problem with Live Another Day is really its lack of variety and refusal to stray from the formula far enough to let something actually unexpected and impactful happen. Characters are brought back from 4 seasons ago only to get disposed of again, others are killed off but then return one episode later, the whole "there's a traitor in the good guys camp" thing is pulled yet again as is the whole President having to work with douchebags thing. Even the ending mirrors almost exactly a prior season's denouement!
All you need to know about Live Another Day is that it's not bad but it's not that good either. If you're a fan, you'll find parts of it you'll love but will probably still groan at the sillier or samier aspects. If you're a casual viewer, you should leave the show entertained and satisfied enough.
All in all, Jack Bauer's as badass as ever and that's comforting but was this really a story worth telling?
Not sure about that one...
Bring on the 24 movie, already!
(just don't forget the originality, please)