Jack Bauer is back, albeit only for a 2-hour TV movie prequel for the upcoming season of 24 scheduled to begin in January. I’m stoked about this because it’s the first new episode in nearly a year and a half, since the writer’s strike last fall led to the season’s cancellation. This isn’t a full-fledged new season, but it’s a good teaser of things to come: Jack on the run, a new female President of the United States is sworn in, and a new villain in a very high place.
“24: Redemption” sticks to the multilayered real-time dramatic narrative format that has made the show such a success. But they did something different here, which I think is a refreshing change: they moved the action in the show out of Los Angeles (according to the credits, the episode was shot in Cape Town, South Africa and Los Angeles). While during most seasons the action goes back and forth between LA and Washington, this time around Jack is living in hiding in a fictitious African country on the brink of war, helping out a friend who runs a UN and State Department-funded school for young boys.
Without getting into specifics, the show takes a turn into contemporary and historical events, doing its own take on elements from the movie Blood Diamond and the U.S. embassy evacuation of Phnom Penh and Saigon in 1975. How all of this is going to tie into the new season I have no idea, but it’s definitely good for the show to change the scenery from Washington and Los Angeles, as it expands the range of subjects, characters, and issues that can be worked into the plot.
January can’t come fast enough.