On the fence about ’24′ comeback

Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson

By Kevin Wilson

Local columnist

Anybody who knew me knew I’d be excited. Now they know I’m conflicted.

There are few TV shows that I watch on a consistent basis. I actually told Nielsen ratings they could save a lot of time just assuming I filled in my viewing log with “Bob’s Burgers” episodes and basketball games.

In this way and many others, “24” broke the mold. And now that it’s back as a special television event, I couldn’t be happier.

The show’s premise was simple when it first debuted in late 2001. Jack Bauer headed the fictional Counter Terrorism Unit, and each episode of the season was an hour of a day where every personal and work problem rolls up into one.

As the voice-over from star Kiefer Sutherland goes, “Events happen in real time,” and you feel the ticking clock constantly because a ticking clock is how the show breaks for commercial.

However, “24: Live Another Day” isn’t a full season; it’s a 12-hour version of the same thing. Three episodes in, terrorists have a tool to take over U.S. drones and they’ve used it against the U.S. military to kill four soldiers. The situation is close to boiling over for the president who must now deal with angry allies (two of the soldiers killed were British), the military member being scapegoated for the attack, Bauer trying to stop an assassination attempt on the president on foreign soil and the CIA agents tasked to arrest Bauer for transgressions compiled over the previous eight seasons.

What always made “24” different from other types of crime-fighting shows is the degree to which the criminal element is often successful. The bad guys on “24” have always been caught or killed at the end of the “day,” but not before doing significant collateral damage to the country and causing great personal loss to Bauer or — more painfully — those he cares about.

Whatever happens with the series, and maybe others like it, does hinge on this season. Maybe it will spawn the long-discussed movie. Maybe it will bring the series down for good.
We’ll see how I feel in a month, when it will hit me that we’re already more than halfway done with this story. Will 12 episodes be better because there’s nothing extraneous, or will it be like packing the washing machine so full of clothes that everything comes out not quite clean?

For now, though, I’m just glad we and Bauer are living another day.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 319, or by email:
kwilson@cnjonline.com