I’m one of those people who just couldn’t see 24 continuing without Jack Bauer. When news broke of this new season, 24: Legacy, and confirmation came that Kiefer Sutherland wasn’t starring, I immediately wrote it off. And then when the trailer came it was even worse. I hated it. It just looked ridiculous and laughable. They might as well have tried to remake Back to the Future without Marty McFly as far as I was concerned.
But the truth is so many movies and TV shows these days have gone through numerous big changes and have managed to remain successful. Look at how many times we’ve had a new actor playing James Bond, or Doctor Who. As long as they stick with the familiar themes and elements of what’s gone before, people usually end up embracing it. And it’s not even as if new star Corey Hawkins is trying to take over the role of Jack Bauer. He’s new guy Eric Carter, with his own issues and his own way of dealing with things.
The format of 24 hasn’t changed. It’s obviously in real time, no way that could change. We have the split screens showing us what’s going down elsewhere in the story and we have the clock ticking us down into an ad break (although the style of the clock has changed a little). There’s the usual amazing CTU tech making you wonder if it actually exists or is even possible, the sub-plots which will no doubt eventually cross paths with and become part of our bigger storyline, the terrorist bad guys, the possible bad guy(s) within CTU, the action and the tension. It’s all there and it’s all part of a formula which has worked well on the whole for many, many seasons so far.
Aside from the take down of some bad guys at the start, and the stylish take down of some more towards the end of the episode, we’re yet to discover much about how the character of Eric Carter is going to measure up against Jack Bauer. He’s ex-military, with something from his past coming back to haunt him and probably the rest of America. But, understandably, much of this opening episode is spent settling Eric into understanding the shit that’s going down and what he might need to do in order to prevent it getting worse. And it’s all done very well. I found it highly enjoyable, intense at times and left me with that same feeling that I used to get at the end of pretty much every 24 episode that’s gone before. I want more!