TV Review: “24: Live Another Day” – Half the Time, Twice the Fun

Written by Spencer Sterritt July 10, 2014

24, Kiefer Sutherland

“24” had only finished its eighth and final season for a day or two, way back in 2010, before talk of a “24” movie began in earnest. After the movie discussions stalled out and Kiefer Sutherland’s next show “Touch” burned out, talk turned to a limited series. After years of speculation and mild anticipation, “24: Live Another Day” takes audiences back into the action-packed and audacious world of Jack Bauer.

Day 8 ended on a rather ignominious note, with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) going on a revenge-fueled rampage, and being labeled a fugitive by the country he had protected for 8 preposterously plotted but adventurous seasons. “24: Live Another Day” picks up four later and moves the action to London, England, where Jack resurfaces to stop Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley) from hijacking US drones and turning them against London.

“The only death tonight on my head  is yours.” [throws out of window]

Even though “24” was defined by its central gimmick (that each episode was one hour in real time), this new limited series is only 12 hours, but still in real-time. This solves “24’s” biggest problem, which was that there was never enough plot to fill 24 episodes. “Live Another Day” is more focused and brisk compared to earlier seasons, and the story as a whole comes together much neater than any other season. The last few episodes oddly enough callback to season 6, which was the worst season of “24” by a wide margin. It’s clear that the returning producers and writers want to atone for their previous sins, and make the best season of “24” yet.

24

explosions

It begs the question, though, of how many people actually wanted another season of “24.” The show, with its many Emmy’s, was fondly looked back on, but it didn’t really seem like anyone besides Kiefer Sutherland was clamoring for another season. Season 8 ended in a very strange place, having Jack Bauer atone for his numerous crimes (all in the name of his country) by becoming a fugitive felt apt. Even though this new limited series is very good, nothing about it feels necessary.

“Apart from this being the worst day of my life, I’m doing great.”

I would argue that after the second or third season “24” stopped being necessary, and became just a fun action show. So, it doesn’t bother me that this new series is just an action-packed and well told story. Margot Al-Harazi somewhat successfully turns the US drones against London in episode 7, first blowing up a hospital and then several city streets in her attempt to catch Bauer. Once things start blowing up I left my skepticism behind and just enjoyed the show for what it was.

24, explosions

Explosions

More than any other season, “24: Live Another Day” rests almost solely upon Kiefer Sutherland. Previous seasons were rife with subplots to fill out the time and take the focus off of Jack Bauer. Now everything rests on him. Thankfully he holds up relatively well after being away from the role for a few years. By this point Kiefer is Jack, as you can see in every role that he has taken since “24” wrapped.

“Do what has to be done. Do you hear me, Jack?”

To be fair, he gets a lot of mileage out of stone-facing every conversation and yelling in every situation, but Jack Bauer has become a rather rote character. Any complexity was stripped from his character by the end of season three, which was the last time Jack showed any emotion other than fury. Jack’s straight-ahead way of thinking gives the plot a lot of momentum since there’s no time to dwell on anything other than the next plot point; “24: Live Another Day” could have used some slower moments to reflect on everything that has happened.

24, explosions

EXPLOSIONS

There’s something very antique about “24: Live Another Day,” the same way 80’s action movies seem antique and old-fashioned. Jack Bauer’s morally black-and-white trip to London touches on issues like drone warfare, but doesn’t do anything with the idea. This 12 episode run has been all about the action without any of the usual sub-plots or distractions. Like “24’s” later seasons, it feels very outdated, but it’s still as entertaining as ever, and I’m glad Jack is back.

My Rating: 7/10 

 

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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