Kiefer Returns (calling this Jack’s Back is trite: so I won’t do it)

I have always been generally antsy in my TV viewing. Being more interested in what will be than what is. My favourite part of SNL is the second commercial break where next week’s guest and musician are revealed. I get very excited when next week’s football match-ups are announced in the 2nd quarter of the game I am currently watching. The future carries with it the possibility of perfection. That which came from TV and has seeped into everyday life. The next meal, relationship, blazer purchase et al.

One show that seemed to satiate my lust for the future was 24, the action adventure romp that had Jack Bauer literally kicking ass and taking names. Historically significant for many reasons, the real-time gimmickry that became its signature is an early contributor to the binge watching craze and 24 is perhaps the last very non-cable television mega expensive production. With movie star leads, huge casts and special effects, 24 was able to adhere to the park bench philosophy of you get what you pay for. I was into Jack Bauer as a character fitting in between John McClane and James Bond. Jack got himself into and out of pickles as he saved the world every season from hoards of evil Mexicans, Russians, Arabs, and Jon Voight. I was excited for the next week’s offering but I definitely got enough not to think it would be better from what I currently saw. It ended still with high quality in a season that saw Jack more get back at those who done him wrong than be defender of the universe. Home Improvement stuck around about 3 years too long. Ditto Roseanne24 ended appropriately with Jack walking off into the sunset like the show itself. A little kicked around (every Elisha Cuthbert storyline was ham handed to the point that it got to be so bad its good territory, a cougar was just randomly thrown in seemingly just to give her something to do) but ultimately strong. Rumours of a movie swirled but the real-time gimmick that was its hallmark is more or less the secret to its success, so condensing 24 hours into even 4 would have it not be 24. It would be Jack Bauer blowing stuff up, but it’s not 24.

So rather than try a movie, the powers to be decided to do what they do well. A limited run on their usual home of Fox Monday nights. Its 12 rather than twenty-four episodes, but it’s still called 24. There more than 30 documentaries on 30 for 30, and Chevy didn’t go anywhere on Christmas Vacation, so it’s the 24 brand. It still maintains the real-time frame-work. The new season begins in earnest and I’m coming in predisposed to loving it. Little can be done to turn me off when I’m in this mode, as is the same when I’m predisposed to hating something going in. Personal turmoil had me hating the Michael Caine magic film The Prestige – I’m sure it’s solid but the day I saw it was doomed by the opening credits. The opening episodes are peppered with exposition, and very elaborate “we’re getting the band togetherness”. This year’s adventure is set in London. Jack has been in self-imposed exile hanging out with Serbian mobsters for the past few years (not the bad Serbian mobsters, the good kind), we hope, clandestinely solving the world’s problems. But now gets buzz that the President is under attack. President Heller played by small screen veteran William Devane whose been playing Presidents since he did JFK back in the day. Seeing him brings back memories of his roguish role on Knots Landing which was appointment viewing by my sister. I pretended to scoff at it, but I really enjoyed it as, among other things, it featured a pre-leatherfaced Nicolette Sheridan. Her and Devane played strip croquet as I recall. Enough of that. Back to business. Heller is basically John McCain and Ronald Reagan smushed together, a grizzled military man with early stages of Alzheimer’s. Chloe, Jack’s tech savvy side kick returns as a cross between Edward Snowden, Lost Girl/Orpahn Black (I can’t tell those apart) and Joan Jett. She’s back with a ragtag bunch of hacker’s fighting freedom and serving as Bauer’s human deus ex machina. I got a kick out of Stephen Fry playing an Oxbridge posh Prime Minister who I hope will get more screen time. The set up is in step with the formula of seasons of yore. There is the one field agent who has to deal with the bureaucracy to try to get to the truth. But nobody will listen! There is some brutal violence. Stabbings look way gorier than gun play. On the first night we got a jugular hacking and the ol’ switchblade through the ear in a pub urinal. There are even the ludicrous things that we look the other way on because this is TV and not a documentary on counter terrorism. Bauer this year has a magic microchip button located in his skin that is essentially an “easy button”. He pushes it when then going gets tough and his Serbian buddy gets out his trusty bazooka.

There appears to be several plot points that we dart in an out of and all have potential to dove-tail nicely together. The government is chasing Jack, Jack is chasing the bad guys who can control drones and put the President at risk. The President is in dutch with the Brits over the rogue drones and around all this is an evil British power broker and her daughter, who we thought was a Russian whore, but is not…we think. And Tate Donovan is being asshole. The role I love him in. An asshole on the OC, I even found him prickish as the voice of Hercules. Is he evil or just a jerkface? Tune in Mondays to find out.

Raphael Saray will be appearing as celebrity at McDonalds for Mchappy Day on May 7th in Flin Flon MB on Highway 10A. What would really make him happy is if you had the choice of sausage or beef for a Big Mac.


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