Sunday, January 17, 2010

24 Season 8 Hours 1 and 2: Stop-Watch, Heartbeat Perfect

Another superb 24 2-hour premiere tonight - 24's been making a good habit of that.

Here's the set-up.   Remember the protests in Iran last June, over a good-guy being robbed of his election win?  Well, let's say he hadn't been robbed - let's say the good guy had won, wants peace, and is now at the U.N., negotiating the nuke disarmament of his country with President Allison Taylor, in return for  a bushel of American aid.   The bad guys would want to kill him.

Meanwhile, Jack's also in NYC, about to leave for L.A. with Kim, her husband Stephen, and their sweet little daughter, Terry (named after Jack's wife, stunningly killed at in the finale of the very first Season or day of 24).  You know that Jack's not going to get to L.A. just yet.   But the way he's delayed is, so far, about as stop-watch and stop-heartbeat perfect as a TV show can get.

In the first hour, Benito Martinez (played Captain to Mayor just right in The Shield) comes to Jack with a story about an assassin's plot against Iranian President Hassan.  He's wounded, Jack believes him.   But Jack's attempt to bring him in is blown up - literally - when the helicopter that CTU (re-established and now in NYC) sends is taken out on the roof, right before its pick-up of Jack and the informant, who dies.   The last thing he tells Jack is that the assassin is on the inside, and close to Hassan.

On to Hour 2.   In addition to who the assassin is, a question immediately arises about why the roof extraction team had no protection.   Freddie Prinze, Jr plays Agent Cole, who presses Director Hastings about this back at CTU.  (Hastings is played Mykelti Williamson - who had one of the best minor roles in one of my all-time favorite movies, Heat.)   I think Hastings is someone to watch - it's hard to believe that a Director could be a bad guy, but on 24 you can't rule anything out.

Also back at CTU is Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackoff - looking good and pretty high up on the team - playing Dana Walsh (she's actually Jenny, but that's another story which hasn't fully kicked in yet).  She's supposed to marry Cole, and is supervising Chloe, who's having a bit a trouble learning all the latest computer programs - she just came back to CTU - but Chloe's sharp enough to realize that Hastings' pick for the assassin (an American reporter that Hassan is having an affair with) may not be the culprit, even though lots of evidences points at her.

In one of the best scenes of the evening, Jack wants to leave CTU and get to the airport to fly to L.A. with Kim and family.  Chloe pleads with him, saying that she's always helped him when he'd called on her over the years (that's exactly what I thought she should tell him).  But Jack says no.   Kim comes to the rescue - she'd called Chloe to find out what was going on - and tells her father it's alright if he needs to come to L.A. a day later in order to save the world.   It was probably Kim's best scene in the series - she's finally grown up (she was on her to doing this last season), and Jack and Chloe were letter perfect in their responses.

24, against all odds, looks to be well in the way to re-inventing itself for another season of fresh, smart, adrenalin-pumping television.   It has been one of my top five television favorites since Day One - often my favorite - and it's going to be another contender this year, too.

Fortunately, we'll get the next two hours tomorrow night! And I'll be back within 24 minutes of the show's conclusion with my review.

6-min podcast review of 24

See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 3 and 4

And also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 

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