24: Live Another Day Review “1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.”

24: Live Another Day Episode 3 Day 9: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (6)

It’s hard to make great television. Great television takes the convergence of superior writing, directing, casting and acting. When all of those things coalesce, television transforms into high art. Shows like Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Mad Men transcend television in ways that startle, surprise, and impress. We may complain about these shows on occasion, but the sheer quality of these types of shows should never be forgotten. The uniqueness of these shows it was will stand the test of time. Many shows have tried to mimic the tones of these shows for years, but many of them have fallen flat on their face. There’s a reason these shows are in the pantheon. It’s really hard to make great television.

However, it’s not hard to make entertaining television. With the third episode of its return, 24: Live Another Day showed it knows exactly how to make entertaining television. We still haven’t seen the show’s first ever time jump, so the action is off to the races right from the beginning. Given that this episode takes place immediately following the previous episode, some of the wonky timing issues that plagued most seasons of 24 started to rear their head. Chloe’s merry band of hackers work up full credentials in a matter of moments and get them in Jack’s hands before you can say “fish and chips”. Watching 24 this way can drive a person insane as they dissect the construct that is time. It’s just the wrong way to view the show.

Instead of railing against the insanity of the series; learn to embrace it. The third hour of the limited series delivered pulse pounding stuff for the majority of the episode. You can complain about the inanity of some of the events, but it’s hard to look at this hour as anything but an entertaining episode of 24. Whether he’s hopping on the tube or trying to break into an embassy using hastily made credentials, Kiefer Sutherland plays Jack Bauer with a cool intensity that makes you wonder why the action star thing didn’t happen for Sutherland. I’m not entirely certain about a lot of things so far on this season of 24, but I know I’m getting exactly what I expected from Jack Bauer.

One week after saying Yvonne Strahovski didn’t seem to fit in the world of 24, I would like to print a retraction. Strahovski is terrific in this episode and she masterfully pulls off bad-ass CIA agent out in the field. Last week, she played the person who is right, but is also really annoying about it. Here, she’s simply a field agent who is right and only needs to take down criminals to prove her point. She doesn’t radiate beauty and charm like she has in other places recently, but she’s not too shabby here either.

Most of the supporting characters remain fairly nondescript at this point. While I don’t need a whole lot about these characters (they’re not why we’re here after al), I do need something to help me identify them. Right now, all we really have is their job title. There’s not a whole lot else to go on. I guess it’s important to dance with the person that brought you, especially if you’re dancing with Jack Bauer… because he’ll incapacitate you if you don’t.