Review: 24 Live Another Day (Blu-ray)
When 24 first came roaring onto our screens way back in 2001 I was instantly hooked, even going so far as to slip quietly away from a function I was at where I was staying overnight at a hotel to watch that week’s episode before rejoining the party. That first season was like nothing television had seen before and deservedly earned a reputation for being must see television.
By the time I season six concluded, though, I was feeling as knackered as Jack Bauer was, and so 24 and I parted company and went our separate ways. Until, that is, they decided to set season 9, or Live Another Day as it’s officially known, in London.
Now I’m a sucker for anything set in the town that I work in, and so I decided that after seven years apart it was time to get reacquainted with Bauer and see if 24 still had the old magic.
I’m happy to report that not only is Live Another Day right up there with the 24 that I fell in love with over a decade ago, it’s quite possibly one of the best series that I’ve seen in the last few years.
The plot involves a fugitive Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) coming out of hiding to protect his old friend President James Heller (William Devane), who is in London to try and persuade British Prime Minister Alastair Davies (Stephen Fry) to continue with a drone programme, from an assassination attempt by terrorist Margot Al-Harazi (Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley).
Needless to say there are more twists and turns as the series progresses, but to speak too much about them here would be to deny those of you who are intending to watch the pleasure of discovering them for yourselves.
Sutherland is superb, as always, as Jack Bauer and is ably assisted by long-time friend and colleague Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who has had a Lisbeth Salander style makeover and begins the series in CIA custody thanks to her links to an organisation called Open Source, headed by Julian Assange-a-like Adrian Cross, that specialises in leaking government documents.
Also returning is Bauer’s ex-squeeze Audrey Boudreau (Kim Raver), who also happens to be the President’s daughter, and who still carries a torch for him despite her husband being the President’s closest advisor. Who said nepotism doesn’t create problems at work.
Despite there only being twelve episodes, which I admit did have me initially scratching my head as to how they were going to practically fit 24 real time hours into half that amount of television time, there is enough action, drama and twists and turns to satisfy the hardened 24 fan and those new to the series alike. In fact, anybody who is worried that if they haven’t kept up for the last thirteen years then they’ll be missing out can breathe easily, as apart from a few insider references, everything you need to know is either explained satisfactorily or not necessary to know. My wife hadn’t seen any 24 previously and enjoyed Live Another Day as much as I did.
All in all, 24 Live Another Day is a cracking return to form and well worth a dozen hours of anybody’s time. The Blu-ray adds a few very short featurettes, but the highlight is a short episode called Solitary that features the return of an old face that will delight long-term fans.