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Monday, November 24, 2008

For 2 hours, Jack was back ... and now he's gone

Except for that moment toward the end of the second hour, when Jack Bauer started to feel like the leader of Boy Scout Troop 24 as he told the African boys he was rescuing to all hold hands as they made their way through the throngs to the U.S. Embassy, "24: Redemption'' was good stuff. Not knock-you-flat-on-your-back great like Season Five, but good -- good enough to get "24'' fans who have been lost, alone and CTU-less for 17 months fired up about Season Seven, which begins Jan. 11 on Fox. (In case you're counting, that's 49 days away.)

Last night's two-hour prequel was designed to set up the backstory going into the new season -- and to throw us slobbering "24'' freaks and geeks a bone, after the writers' strike robbed us of Season Seven in 2008 and a whole lot of "damnits!'' in the process. For those of us who got all goose bumpy and twitchy at the mere sound of the digital clock at the start of "Redemption,'' it worked on both accounts. What it did right:

No CTU. Thus, no cast of CTU characters who were wearing thin in the nearly shark-jumping Season Six (Chloe and Miles included). By moving the action to the African country of Sangala, the story felt fresh and the issue at hand definitely eye-opening and compelling.

New prez. Everybody on board with Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor, raise your hand. Thought so. It's about time "24'' gets back to its honorable President Palmer roots by giving fans a Commander in Chief they can believe in. (Did someone say timely?). We got just enough of departing President Daniels (Powers Boothe) last night to remind us how reptilian he is -- and how creepy his noggin looks during close-ups. Plus, the new Madam Prez has a son (Eric Lively) with a history that sounds all nice and messy.

New baddie Jon Voight. I'm willing to bet "The Champ'' as a villain is still an easier sell than Farmer Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell) from "Babe'' was.

Same ol' Jack Bauer. The man has been through the ringer these last few years, er, days, but Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) is still in top form. Is there anything like the adrenaline rush when he takes on a whole band of armed revolutionaries, while still hauling around his backpack, and miraculously manages to escape relentless machine gun fire? Think not.

The torture scene that made our ears burn, however, seemed like a bit much, even for Jack. If there's a gripe about the show -- and a controversial one at that -- it's that it has made torture its gimmick. Over the course of 24 hours, yes, we expect it at some point. But throwing it into a two-hour movie felt forced, like the writers sat around the table and said, "And don't forget the cringeworthy torture scene!''

So where does last night's ending, with Jack heading back to the States to the Senate subcommittee that wants to grill him for his torture of terrorist Abu Fayed in Season Six, leave us? By the looks of the trailer for Season Seven (Tony's back from the dead! Jack wears suits! No signs of Audrey!), 49 days away from a helluva ride.



finally the best show on TV has returned. i don't think anyone else has ever had to wait so long than 24 fans. geez.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 24, 2008 at 6:44 PM  

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