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Jack Bauer Is Back in the '24' Reboot 'Live Another Day.' Is It Worth Watching?

Chuck Ross Posted May 5, 2014 at 2:22 AM

When last we left Jack Bauer, four years ago, he was in a world of hurt, both personally and professionally. Both the Americans and the Russians were trying to hunt him down.

Then, as we fans of Bauer know, Jack was somehow lured to Hollywood, where he -- and we -- were tortured for the past four years going through feature film development hell. Would we ever see Bauer again?

The answer is yes. Jack is back, on Fox in a 12-episode “24” reboot titled “Live Another Day.”  How, exactly, “24” is back as a limited TV series is not our concern. All we really care about is that it is indeed back.

Having seen the first two episodes of the reboot -- both of which are scheduled to  air tonight -- what I can tell you, as a huge fan of the show, is that they are a kick to watch. If you didn't watch or record the first two episodes that debuted on Monday, May 5, 2014, you can watch them at Fox.com. Also, some cable and satellite program distributors will have them on-demand.

It’s like an old friend is back, and you both immediately fall back into your old, comfortable habits. I’ll show you what I mean. Below you’ll find, in no particular order, just about all of Jack Bauer’s dialogue from tonight’s first hour. It’s very brief, as you’ll see. And please, there aren’t really any spoilers here. Just some comfort food for us fans:

“Damnit!”

“This way. Stay Down.”

“You know who I am. Trigger the alarm and I’ll blow your head off.”

“We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Hurry Up. Get down.”

“Go!”

“Take me to her. Now!”

“I don’t have any friends.”

But don’t get me wrong. Judging from the few plot twists just in the first two hours it’s clear that showrunner Howard Gordon and his staff are well up to speed with how the world has changed since we last saw Bauer. In the intervening years Gordon has put on "Homeland," the popular and crafty award-winning political thriller that's been a critical hit for Showtime.

And don’t worry, Jack talks much more in hour two. Each episode, by the way, continues the “24” conceit that it’s an hour in real time. Since there are only 12 episodes of this reboot, half the hours will be skipped. That’s a good thing, by the way. It should prevent what almost always used to happen on “24" -- that there wasn’t really enough great material to fill the 24 hours of each season.

Like many fans, I always felt that the best season of “24” was season four, which featured Secretary of Defense James Heller, played by William Devane, and his daughter, Audrey Raines, played by Kim Raver. Both are in this reboot, which promises fireworks galore for Jack, both professionally and personally.

Besides Howard Gordon returning behind the scenes, included on the writing staff are “24” veterans Evan Katz, Manny Coto, David Fury and the co-creator of the series, Robert Cochran. Jon Cassar is back to direct as well. Director of photography Jeffrey Mygatt is a “24” veteran, as is Sean Gallery, who does the music. Editors Joe Hobeck and Jordan Goldman are new. Casting well has always been a hallmark of “24,” and pro Debi Manwiller, who was the primary casting director on the series, is back, along with Amy Hubbard, who is new to “24” this year.

So invite a few friends over and enjoy the return of one of TV’s great anti-heroes, Jack Bauer, as fiercely and intensely portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland.

Weatherwise, for much of the country, the winter was terrible, and the spring so far only slightly better. For the rest of the spring and early summer I’m predicting cloudy, with quite a chance for a great big delightful disturbance in the Bauersphere.

In preparation, I’m making room on my couch for Walter White, Vic Mackey, Tony Soprano, Patty Hewes, Don Draper, Paul Drake, Mickey Spillane, Eliot Ness, Paladin, Francis Underwood and Bradford Galt’s secretary, Kathleen.

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.png

Kiefer Sutherland IS Jack Bauer