Jack may not be back, but the premiere of “24: Legacy” suggests the magic of FOX’s flagship serial thriller can survive without him. The first one-hour episode was damn good — I’d give it a 9 out of 10.
Maybe it’s too early to gauge how well the show will follow in its predecessor’s footsteps. It indeed feels different with its new hero (Corey Hawkins as former U.S. Army Ranger Eric Carter). Kiefer Sutherland is a superb actor who masterfully portrayed a disturbed-yet-noble antihero, the now iconic Jack Bauer. Hawkins doesn’t shine much in this initial outing, but there will be time for the actor to grow along with the character. (In the long ago series premiere of “24,” Sutherland’s debut as Bauer wasn’t terribly interesting yet either.)
But the creators of “24: Legacy” have carefully assembled nearly all of the components of “24’s” greatness: the real-time urgency and the frantic pace; the surprising violence; the twists and betrayals; the cool technology; and the converging plotlines as various actors affect key outcomes in the story. A more critical viewer might complain that that these feel like common tropes after nine years of the original show. (And “24’s” unique mode of storytelling kind of defines it as its own sub-genre.) But these signature elements of the show, however predictable, are exactly what will keep fans coming back.
The only thing missing is an interesting villain. The bad guys here are suitably nasty, and drive the plot from the story’s opening minutes. But, so far, they’re fairly generic terrorists. Like the Hawkins’ character, it remains to be seen whether the script can develop them further.
I had a blast with this. If you’re a fan of the original “24,” then you ought to check this out.