Jack is Back

I have largely been quiet about TV shows in the past month or so but not for any lack of watching.  We have been avidly watching a few new shows we really enjoy and while it’s not currently my favorite of the crop I can’t help but love the return of one of my favorite action heroes on 24.  I feel like the first four weeks were mostly more of the same but the fifth hour really turned up the heat and made things interesting. For the first time I can remember the pompous asshole opposed to Jack (this time played by Tate Donovan) simply realized he was wrong and manned up to the mistake.  If that isn’t 24 breaking new ground I don’t know what is.  In truth I have felt a lot of this show’s return has been nothing new but I am not complaining about that.  Not until I saw the 24 beep across the screen for the first time in years did I realize how much I dearly missed the show.  Yeah it got redundant, yeah there wasn’t new ideas being brought to the table as much as simply new scenarios, yeah Jack Bauer is a bit too invincible, but who the hell really cares? Under most circumstances I turn my nose up to this kind of thing but in the case of this show I will always be willing to make an exception.  This show originated and started during a time when TV series were making their largest leaps as far as budget, story lines, and character development go.  As far as I am concerned 24 was a pioneer series that consistently raised the bar for what TV was capable of and I am really happy to have it back.

I looked over a ratings chart yesterday that suggested the show isn’t currently a hit with its target audience but I don’t think these numbers tell the whole story.  I think in the case of a show like this more and more people are simply recording it so they can watch episodes back to back.  24 can be difficult to watch week to week maybe more so than most television shows. I think the veteran fans know this and are simply waiting for the right time to jump in and catch up.  I couldn’t do this myself because I feel compelled to see the show air in “real time” and refuse to even pause it during our viewings.  Seeing this show back on the air reminds me of the good old days in college when my wife and I had the kind of time to watch entire seasons in one or two sittings.  I love Jack Bauer in a sentimental way that makes me giddy to see him back on the air. Only Jack Bauer can break a co-hort out of a super secret prison, shoot innocent civilians to create a diversion, and somehow still hold the cards to strong arm the President of the United States into putting him back to work.  I freaking love it, and I can’t wait until he gets back into the field next week to do his thing.

I thought it was a bit silly when the show started but “the Chloe with the dragon tattoo” has grown on me a bit.  I thought her character was ready for the axe long before the show ran its course but somewhere along the line 24 just wouldn’t be right without her. There are not enough of the classic characters still left alive so she is needed, but the woman has had about three too many makeovers during the run of this series. I think given her position as Jack’s technical aide it was only natural for this most recent makeover to have her look as much like Lisbeth Salander as possible.

Speaking of classic characters, there is one that we haven’t seen since season 3 and I have never understood why.  That would be Jack’s partner Chase Edmunds, played by James Badge Dale.  Yeah he lost his hand in the end of season 3 but it was reattached and he is referenced a few times during the following seasons.  In season 4 he is mentioned as having married Jack’s daughter Kim and in season 5 he is mentioned as having left her to return to field ops.  I thought during the show’s last season when Jack was on the run that it would be great writing to bring him back into the fold to lead the hunt.  As we heard long before he is back out there somewhere in the field and who better to hunt down Jack than the man who worked alongside him. I thought it would have been a great idea but it all turned out to be wishful thinking. He was a great character and for whatever reason we have never seen him again.  If there is a bigger fan out there than me who actually knows anything about why please leave me a comment and let me know.

I am in a state of mind lately where this show can literally do no wrong.  I’m just that happy to have it back and to hear Jack’s regular references to millions of lives being at stake. It’s been fun and I hope the ratings pick up. At the very least I hope the executives at FOX have the wherewithal to see value over dollar signs.  I never watch anything on FOX because unless it’s a popular animated series they just don’t seem to have the patience to wait on any show to gain a following.  It’s a tough industry for TV series and there is so much quality stories being aired.  You have to have patience to let something develop and gain an audience.  I would love to see this return for 24 transition into more because I sincerely love it.  I want a follow up where Jack is welcomed back home to the US and all forgiven just before he is thrust into yet another day of peril.