Jack Bauer is the new Chuck Norris. Sorry Chuck, you are getting a little old and just don't have the stamina to be a Jack Bauer. Jack Bauer spent a full day without sleep, bathrooms, or food saving the world and at the end of the day was taken away by the chinese to pay for crimes he committed before on another one of his marathon days. Then, his government negotiates to get him back after two years, not to let him finally have the peace he needs, but to trade him to an old enemy. In less than 60 minutes, Jack has broken away, uncovered a deception that had evaded all of the US Government intelligence, and is back on a roll. Just for the heck of it, there should be an episode where this guy takes a nap.
Life is a constant cliffhanger for Jack, but then, everybody knows that, that is why people turn on he television and watch him every year. Kiefer Sutherland plays the role above his stature, and has redefined the action hero.
This season, I have read reviews attacking a few plot holes, such as the fact that by the end of the first episode it seems like Jack hadn't even been a prisoner, being tortured and subjected to what else for two years, at all. That's not quite true, on the second two hour marathon night, Jack breaks down and says he can't do it anymore. His old boss, Bill Buchanan tries to talk him out of it, but then it seems even Bill sees that Jack needs a break and lets him off the hook.
Then, a nuclear bomb is detonated and Jack is back on the mission. "24" doesn't try to be anything fancy, there are always crazy holes in the plot, technology that can leaptall buildings and takes an hour to get a recording off a digital recorder, people that go catatonic at moments when the week before they had jumped to action. I recognize these as their plot tools and simply sit back and watch.
Four hours into this season, actually about thirty minutes, the initial battle lines are drawn, you have terrorists of two colors, good and bad, yes, a good terrorist. This wrinkle was well handled, after Jack accepted Assad's help and standing behind his word to protect him, Agent Curtis, his old friend and one of the few Jack Bauer loyalists throughout, hates the man and attempts to execute him in retaliation for a past personal transgression.
Jack tries to talk him out of it, but Curtis forces his hand and Jack shoots him.It's unclear whether the shot is fatal. I'm guessing that Curtis will show up later, bandaged up and somehow changed.
Each season ups the ante a little bit, except for the one that was just about drug dealers. This season, with a main character taken out(apparently) so early, and the nuclear bomb detonation.
Peter Machnicol enters as the slimy, contrary, bureaucrat, in the White House. Wayne Palmer, now president, has lost his backbone with the office, and Machnichol's character is pulling his strings. Palmer's sister, a new character that they are spending too much time with not to matter later, is causing trouble and building her own storylines.
No matter how irritated I get, by the end of the first show the oval office was even telling each other that they should have listened to Jack, I am along for the ride. It's fun, and as I said, Jack Bauer can kick Chuck Norris's ass.