24: Live Another Day, Sky1, TV review - It's business as usual for Jack Bauer


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The Independent Culture

Four years after last doing whatever it takes to keep America safe, Jack is back – hiding out in London’s East End during a state visit by the US President.

Is the fugitive Bauer’s  presence in the UK a coincidence?

The new series is described as a “limited event”, only a dozen episodes – Live Half a Day (or 12), you might say. Despite a slow start by 24 standards and its almost-Bond title and London setting, this was business as usual as soon as Jack uttered his first words: “Take me to her now… trigger the alarm and I’ll blow your head off”.  He never was one for small talk.

The “her” of his command is systems analyst Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub), who is now working for a Wikileaks-style free information movement, a fact signalled by her Stieg Larsson makeover – all tattoos, eyeliner and emo-scrappy haircut. 

Information campaigners, the growth of Chinese power and drone warfare were the topical issues swept up in the hallmark 24 formula of Bourne-like, non-stop action.

24, like the BBC’s Spooks, was born out of the events of 9/11.

Spooks had the good sense to call it a day in 2011 and it remains to be seen whether Jack Bauer’s creators can find ways for him to adopt to the more complex, post-Edward-Snowden world – especially as Homeland has been filling this particular vacuum since it was last on our screens.

A consolation then that 24 doesn’t have any of draggy stuff that so quickly palled Homeland’s charms; there are no stroppy teenagers in Jack’s world.