Jack Bauer is back! But Natasha Bissett reckons the preposterous nature of 24 means London should brace itself for an influx of dodgy terrorists, bizarre plot twists and double-crossing political figures.
Warning: contains spoilers for 24 seasons 1-8 and Redemption
The arrival of a brand new series in the 24 saga should be received with rolled eyes – and the question of just what ridiculousness will ensue.
Four years after the finale of Season 8, which even had a heartwarming ending that threatened to end Jack Bauer’s path of destruction and vigilantism, 24 is back with UK-set story Live Another Day. If the the plots from the previous eight seasons and 24: Redemption are anything to go by, London should be very worried indeed.
24 started off pretty tame. The first season (2001- 2002) saw an attempt to coerce Bauer into assassinating Presidential Candidate David Palmer, by kidnapping his family. It was a convoluted revenge plot for a military action in approximately 1999: not a far departure from military movies in Hollywood in the surrounding years, like The General’s Daughter.
The next season ramped it up by threatening Los Angeles with a nuclear bomb courtesy of mysterious Arab terrorists. It ended with the President being attacked by a biological weapon. Ah, that ol’ chestnut.
In Season 3, taking place years later (what happened to the President?), the bio-weapon trope loomed large again. It was revisited throughout the remaining seasons as terrorists (backed by the President) tried to use nerve gas in a shopping mall (Season 5), and a Private Military Firm wanted in on the upper echelons of the US Government using biological warfare blackmail (Season 7).
In other seasons, LA experienced another nuclear threat (Season 6) , Jack prepared to assassinate the Russian President (Season 8), and there was a gratuitous amount of torture dished out. At least in Season 7 there was a bit of a debate about the use of torture, though it was overruled when the ends justified the means.
Throughout eight seasons and one movie, spanning approximately 14 years, Jack Bauer has gone from pseudo-regular army guy with Special Forces training to being a severely damaged uber-soldier. With the exception of his daughter, he’s lost every woman he had a romantic relationship with: enduring the brutal murder of wife Teri (who was pregnant at the time), a bad breakup with Kate, Renee getting sniped and, most tragically, Audrey developing amnesia after Jack was locked up by the Chinese. After surviving just to see her again, she’d gone and forgotten him and he had to let her go.
He’s also been kidnapped, tortured, developed a heart condition, become addicted to heroin, bitten out a man’s jugular, prepared mentally for his death several times by biotoxin and execution, and seen old friends killed left, right, and centre. If Jack Bauer were a real person, he’d probably be found squatted in a dark corner, huddled and rocking on the ball’s of his feet, mumbling the names of all the people he’s seen killed by his hand or another.
Fox were obviously a bit skeptical about bringing back 24 after it entered ludicrous territory for six seasons straight. The movie Redemption was appropriately named: the plot saw Jack rescuing a bunch of African kids to prevent them becoming child soldiers. At the end, he even went back to the US to face trial for using torture.
24: Live Another Day is only 12 episodes, and will skip about through the 24 hours. Instantly, I think it will be like Die Another Day: basically the Jack Bauer story of government betrayal played out by James Bond. So perhaps it’s appropriate for the next 24 to be set in London.
What trailers show is that Jack is in London to protect the US President from an assassination, while tangling with the CIA and dealing with a goth Chloe involved in a hacker circle that’s going to kill the President that will bring about WWIII.
We have to wait until Sunday for the premiere, but here are my predictions for what the new series will involve.
- There will be a run-in with the Queen, which may or may not result in her assassination due to Bauer’s assumption she’s a double-agent.
- There will be a biological or nuclear weapon threat and Chloe will need to hack into all the CCTV cameras around the UK to find someone. If they liked the idea from Watch Dogs, she can hack people through the camera too.
- Jack will find fleeting love, or already be in love, and she will either double cross him or die horribly.
- Michelle Fairley, fresh from Game of Thrones, will channel her rage against Jack while trying to adopt Chloe as her new version of Brienne.
- Stephen Fry will be hilarious and a pompous twit as the British Prime Minister. As this is an American production, imagine a shade of Jim Hacker (Yes, Minister) but with all the same bumbling incompetence.
- Someone will drive around a roundabout the wrong way, or just straight through, because they are apparently the most complicated piece of road infrastructure ever.