I was surprised by just how much I missed 24. The show is a guilty pleasure in a way. It’s not high art. It’s a straight up action showcase. Yelling, explosions, betrayals, and Kiefer Sutherland badassery used to comprise the quickest hour on television.
But, like most shows, 24 hit a bump in the road. Its sixth season started with one of the best runs in the show’s history. Four exhilarating episodes aired over two nights. A nuclear freaking bomb was detonated! Then, the show stalled. Season six quickly devolved into one of the show’s worst, and it never quite recovered. They tried new locales in Washington and New York. They brought characters back. It didn’t work and 24 came to an end.
It’s been four years since the show was on the air. There’s been so much great television since then, that it has been somewhat forgotten. There was talk of a movie, which eventually turned into its return in its current format as a 12 episode season.
24 suffered in the past from an overabundance of storylines. There was too much filler between the action that the audience didn’t remotely care about (the poster child for this being the infamous Kim Bauer cougar storyline). The hope is that with a 12 episode season, the show can concentrate on the meat of the storyline instead of spending too much time on the side dishes.
The first two hours went a long way towards reestablishing 24. There’s some weird elements, like Chloe the cyberpunk hacker, but the show slipped right back into the flow of things. Multiple panels, explosions, Jack Bauer yelling, a bizarre Presidential side plot, bureaucratic nonsense; it’s 24!
Strong beginnings are natural for an action heavy show. The aforementioned season 6 started out quite strong, before descending into utter crap. Can it continue like this? The main drone warfare plotline seems strong. President Heller’s oncoming Alzheimer’s could easily veer into silly territory. We’ve seen the Yvonne Strahovski female Jack Bauer character before in the form of Renee Walker. I’m sure there will be a traitor at some point. Someone’s going to get tortured.
The key thing for 24 is try and keep it simple. That’s difficult for a show that loves to pile on the plot twists. Those twists can quickly get overwhelming. There’s 10 hours left, will 24 use them wisely?