Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jack Is Back: Early Thoughts on "24: Live Another Day"

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Well it's official! While production for the "24: Movie" was nixted for the 3rd time, FOX threw up their hands and decided to bring back television most bad ass Federal agent, Jack Bauer to "Live Another Day". Coming down the pike on May of this year, we once again follow the tale of former CTU agent turned fugitive Jack Bauer. To help get back into the universe and feel of "24" I went back and watched the latter seasons (6 to 8) and I'm surprised to find that my position has changed on a few things. For starters I still think Season 8 is the worst of the latter seasons, but 6 and 7 weren't AS bad as I remember them to be. With that being said, with "24" coming back I list my hopes, hope nots, expectations and predictions for this revival.

With "24" coming back and considering how Season 8 ended the main plot for "24: Live Another Day" seems to be the man-hunt for Jack Bauer. Not hard to figure out why since when we last saw him, Jack Bauer physically assaulted former President Charles Logan (a.k.a Satan's evil little brother), murdered several Russian officers including a Russian Foreign Minister, defied The President's orders repeatedly and escaped into the ether after The President released him and warned him to never return. With Chloe getting arrested in the prequel episode it looks like this won't be the same "24" action we're used to. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say "24: Live Another Day" would start as a man-hunt for Jack Bauer but later evolve into Jack being involved in a plot to do something or other and The CIA having to aide him in this effort, much to their dismay.

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When Jack Bauer asks for your help, you help Jack Bauer or die.

With the way the "24" world is now Jack Bauer is down to only a handful of people who have his back who are still alive (Chloe O'Brien, Chase Edmunds and Mike Doyle who is partially blind). This was a major point of contention for me that Jack was constantly losing allies and we the viewers were constantly losing familiar faces. By the time we got to Season 8 the show didn't feel like it's self. "24" has done a decent job is giving Jack competent allies (Chase, Tony, Agent Baker, Curtis, Renee) and I can only imagine if "24: Live Another Day" will do the same. Unfortunately with the addition of Yvonne Strahovski, I'm concerned that they'll try to make her out to be The Female Jack Bauer and I'm sorry but...No. If "24: Live Another Day" is gonna work Jack has to be a solo act, because trying to introduce a new side-kick for him would just be kinda forced at this point. Almost as forced as it was in Season 8.

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I didn't mention you for a reason, Cole. No one wants to see you again.

It's been confirmed that James Heller will be the President Of The United States in this Season and that Audrey has recovered from The Chinese Torture she endured and is remarried. I have mixed feelings about this. For starters I do like the fact that we're revisiting Audrey and that (unlike all the other women in Jack's life) she's alive and doing well. My point of contention is that while James Heller is a welcomed character and a familiar face, I have an issue with him being The President. It almost seems just as forced as when Wayne Palmer was The President. Wayne Palmer was the down and dirty fighter from the private sector to help Palmer in grey situations, his involvement in Season 5 was logical, his Presidency in Season 6 was not. With James Heller being in "24: Live Another Day" and being The President and considering their last conversation didn't end so well, it'll be interesting to see what kind of a relationship they have now. Still my point of contention comes from Heller being President and not some unknown being President. It'd much rather have had Heller brought on to be a consultant on Jack Bauer rather than the head honcho himself.

With Audrey fully recovered and married to another man, I can only contemplate on how Jack will receive the news. When Season 4 rolled around, Audrey was actually going to get back with Paul Raines until he died due to Jack's decision. Jack has gone to bat for Audrey and damn near caused World War III to save her from The Chinese. Also with Audrey being back on her feet it'll be interesting to see how she feels about Jack now. After all Jack did save her, but her memory was rattled at the time. I'm thinking she'll become an ally to Jack as the man-hunt continues and they might rekindle feelings for each other. However, now that Audrey is with another man and back on her feet I wouldn't be surprised if Jack felt like Tony in Season 4.

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Who's still alive by the way.

As far as casting goes, Benjamin Bratt seems to be the logical choice for a hard-nosed, no-nonsense CIA commander thanks to his stint on the short lived "E-Ring". Bratt is no stranger to playing characters in law enforcement. The rest of actors (with the exception of Yvonne & Tate Donovan) I'm not familiar with so it'll be interesting to see how the dynamic of the show has changed to be more "now". The character of Adrian Cross appears to be a Julian Assange analogue. I'm also curious as to what CTU is doing or if they've been defunct like in Season 7. Thankfully a head of CTU hasn't been cast so hopefully we'll just be dealing with The CIA. Not that I have nothing against CTU, it's just after 8 seasons we can lay off...well that and every CTU director after Bill Buchanan have pretty much sucked.

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Yes, even you.

Will Jack Bauer die at the end of this? I'm VERY doubtful, mostly because what's been revealed doesn't appear to be a life or death situation. I'm expecting this has something more to do with cyber terrorism and leaked information then anything else. Personally, I think this will end with Jack Bauer receiving a Presidential pardon and being able to ride off in the sunset with Kim and his family (and if Kim doesn't at the very least make a cameo in this mini-series I'll be pretty disappointed). Despite Kim being essentially useless early on, Season 3 and 7 really had Kim step up to the plate and be more than a handbag. I'm not saying I want her to take an active role, but just a brief acknowledgment that she still exists would be nice.

All in all I can't say I'm all that excited to see Jack Bauer, since they should've let this series end the way it did. I don't know. I have a collection of mixed feelings about it. On one hand this could be fun, but on another I'm worried it won't be able to capture the same "24" feel that started to decline after Season 5. All I know is that this can't be more of the same. This has to be different in a good way (like Season 7 was) and the threat has to be real.  Come on back in May as I'll be reviewing all 12 episodes of this revival and see how it stacks up. Until then, DAMNIT, WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

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