The last time there was a new episode of 24 (not counting the prequel movie) was May 2006. That was my seventh month in Florida. Back then, Barack Obama was a hot-shot Senator without a shot at the White House. So it's been a long time. Way too long.
When the clock started beeping for the first episode of 24's seventh season, a calm came over me. We may be absolutely screwed with a terrible economy and more Middle Eastern wars, but everything was OK ... because Jack Bauer was back.
(SPOILER WARNING. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FIRST FOUR EPISODES OF 24)
Jack is in Washington D.C. He's in a bad mood. He's alone in the world. Janeane Garafalo is there, too. She's nerdy. If you want more set-up details, go to TVGuide.com.
What I Liked:
1. The new setting. Being in D.C. instead of L.A. invigorates the show. I love seeing the Washington Monument, the Capitol building, etc. And besides, the terrorists had tried attacking L.A. for the past six years and Bauer kept killing them. They finally figured out that attacking a city where Jack Bauer is not located is a sound move. He'll find them anyway and exterminate them, but at least they get a few hours. It would take Jack at least 40 minutes to travel from Africa to Washington. Maybe 35 with a headwind.
2. Tony is back! I've always loved the character and the fact that he and Jack are working together, undercover as bad guys and being pursued by the FBI, is something I fully approve. Jack and Tony together just like old times. :::Tear::
3. The nerdy chick-off. At one point, Garafalo's character, Janis, and Chloe go at it like we all want girls to go at it ... by trying to outhack each other in the FBI Headquarter's security subnet! Hot. I forgot who won because the hot and sweaty action was enough for me.
4. FBI agent Renee Walker. She's a by-the-book suit who, after a taste of The Bauer, flirts with the dark side of "enhanced" interrogation techniques. She's very conflicted. It's also clear, like any straight female, she wants The Bauer in The Sack. I hope she still feels that way after Bauer put her in a sleeper hold. Do the females like that kinda thing? Either way, she's not tough to look at and she doesn't bore me. I approve.
5. Dueling plots. The African plot, the First Son's death plot and the main plot with Jack aren't connected yet, but it definitely seems they will connect in the future. No extraneous wedding plots. No Johnny Drama in the woods. No mentally disturbed children. Just plots that are interesting and serve the greater story.
What I didn't like
1. The 24 trap. They are going to the well for a 500th time with the moles, with the furtive looks around the office, with the socially awkward techies, with the "suspect dies right before he can reveal important info" move they've pulled off more than Patrick Ewing did the frog leap in the paint. I see them coming from a lightyear away.
2. New computer-bots. Not sure I like Janis or Entourage's Billy Walsh character yet. We've been there before with CTU. They know the most complicated of computer systems, but boy, do they find it hard to interact with other people! When will they ever learn, those loveable geeks?
Final verdict: A very solid start. I like where the show is headed. Tony, Bill, Chloe and Jack are back as a team and it warms my heart. It's great to have you back, 24!