Jack Bauer's back to save the day in '24' revival

2014-05-05T00:00:00Z Jack Bauer's back to save the day in '24' revivalThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 05, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Viewers — like his fictional pursuers on "24" — might reasonably have given up on ever seeing Jack again.

But on "24: Live Another Day," he is nabbed by the CIA shortly after 11 a.m., London time, as this real-time, sequential drama erupts with the first of a dozen episodes that will carry the saga to a breathless resolution 12 hours later in the same hectic day.

Noted: Past "24" seasons ran 24 hours, hence the series' title. So "12" might have been a more appropriate, if lame-sounding, name for this miniseries, which premieres today at 8 p.m. EDT with two episodes, spanning the period from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A few possible spoilers follow.

Returning as the intrepid, long-suffering Bauer is Kiefer Sutherland, whose far more upbeat post-"24" drama, "Touch," was axed a year ago after just two seasons.

Also back is Mary Lynn Rajskub as marvelously mopey Chloe O'Brian. Bauer's former Counter-Terrorism Unit running buddy has had her share of tribulations of late, including torture and charges of treason as well as a severe Goth makeover.

And also back, remarkably, is Kim Raver, who, as Bauer's former heartthrob Audrey, was last seen in the conclusion of Season 6 in a coma from which she was not expected to emerge. But there is no happy reunion in store for Jack. It's quite the opposite, even though he — ever the trickster — deliberately contrives to be captured by authorities.

What's Jack's game? He's gotten wind that James Heller, previously U.S. defense secretary but now the nation's chief executive (played by the returning William Devane), is targeted for assassination while in London for a summit meeting.

Still the driven do-gooder, Jack is hellbent on foiling this plan. But it requires him to resurface and tangle with CIA officials (played by Benjamin Bratt and Yvonne Strahovski) as well as President Heller's chief of staff (Tate Donovan), who is now married to — wait for it — Audrey, after having seen her through her miraculous recovery.

"Jack Bauer is a traitor and a psychopath," he seethes, proposing that it's Bauer who is out to kill the president.

Such is the plight of Jack Bauer. He's so heroic, yet so misunderstood — except by "24" fans who will surely welcome him back with open arms. After all, he has served us, too. He saw us through a decade of high alert.

It's worth recalling that "24" premiered in fall 2001. It was hatched as scripted drama's answer to the red-hot new reality genre spawned by "Survivor." Then, just weeks before "24" was set to be launched, everything changed. What had been created as slick TV escapism seemed, quite to the contrary, too close for comfort.

Fortunately, "24" overcame the specter of real-life tragedy while managing to meet the challenge of its snugly packaged format. On the strength of its ambition and inventiveness, it prevailed as a wildly dramatized view of American response to terrorism during each frenzied season's daylong window.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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