24: Legacy – “12 P.M. – 1 P.M.” Pilot Review
Our new hero, Eric Carter clocks in.
Fear not. This is a spoiler free Pilot review.
All right, let’s be real about this. I gotta put this out there. 24 is my favorite TV show of all time. I am a die hard Jack Bauer fan. The character is the reason why I often refer to Kiefer Sutherland as my spirit animal. Yes, I know, technically there are better television shows that have come along the way. Shows that broke new ground in the way 24 did back when it made its debut in 2001. But 24 changed the way I watched TV shows. Sure, I watched and liked plenty of shows on TV long before the FOX show came along. But this intriguing action thriller, with an awesome movie star like Kiefer Sutherland, playing out each week in real time had me hooked line and sinker. It was the first time I truly dedicated myself to watching a show every single week. In a pre-Hulu/Netflix world, I set my VCR to REC if I wasn’t going to be home. One week while at work, I realized I had my days mixed up and didn’t set the timer. I flipped out and could barely focus on work. That’s how much the show meant to me. And thankfully, they used to still show reruns of it on Fridays back then.
Point is, I love 24, Jack Bauer, Tony Almeda, Chloe O’Brian, President Palmer, the suspense, the gunplay, the drama, the word “dammit”, all of it. In 2010, when the series finale aired, I was an emotional wreck. I literally felt like there was no point to life anymore. It took at least two years until I could enjoy a show on Network TV. Overdramatic, I’ll admit, but that was me until they brought the show back in 2014 for a limited run under the title 24: Live Another Day. I felt alive again. Jack was back! “Dammit, Chloe!” was a thing again. My happiness, of course, was short lived because when that came to an end, I remember reacting worse than the original series finale.
So can you see how much I love 24? It is my everything. Jack Bauer is my ultimate hero… besides Batman.
Now that I’ve indulged myself and jerked off to the creation of the original series, I suppose I better get to the current series, premiering after the Super Bowl.
24: Legacy, a reboot of the original series created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, produced by Brian Grazer, Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, Jon Cassar, Manny Coto, Kiefer Sutherland and many others. Yes, name dropping, something I don’t normally do. But when an elite group of people bring fourth something legendary, you gotta give credit where credit is do. Most of those same producers have returned to create this revised series of 24. When they say revised, they mean… pretty much the same show but with a new cast. Let’s be real.
24: Legacy can be looked at as one of two things or both: An experiment to see if the show can survive without Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Or an exercise to keep the 24 name relevant until Kiefer Sutherland decides to return as the great Jack Bauer. After all, 24: Live Another Day did openly end in a way where Jack Bauer can return. Of course his return has been suspended indefinitely due to Kiefer’s fine work as the President of the United States on ABC’s Designated Survivor. And Sutherland has gone on record saying he see’s the ending of 24: LAD as closure to his famous character. With all due respect to Mr. Sutherland, that’s bullsh*t. He needs to come back and hopefully get a happy ending.
Now, because I’m not one for describing plots – even though you’d expect that from a reviewer, right? – I’m going to describe the basic setup as simply as I can so I can hurry up and get to my feelings on this pilot episode.
The story centers around former Army Ranger Eric Carter played by Dr. Dre, I mean, Corey Hawkins of Straight Outta Compton and The Walking Dead fame. He’s just going about his business, trying to chill with his wife until he gets word from an old Army buddy that their former squad is being picked off by the men who worked for the dead middle eastern terrorist leader they eliminated during their last mission. Basically, the terrorists are after an item that was taken from their boss’ home during the Ranger’s raid. Because Eric and his wife are soon attacked, he has no choice but to jump back into action, seek out his Army buddy, and put a stop to this new threat which is sure to have an even bigger threat on the horizon.
Alright, before we elaborate on a few characters and some subplots, let’s dive right into my thoughts on this pilot and the concept of this new show.
Yes, I was originally pissed that they would dare make a 24 series without Jack Bauer being the main hero. Even though Kiefer has said on numerous occasions, the structure of the show didn’t necessarily need Jack Bauer. It could work for any set of characters. As far as structure goes, and the real time aspect, yes, he’s absolutely right. This pilot uses the real time aspect and basic plotting of the original show very well. It uses similar music queues, and is filmed with the handicam, multi-angle style fans are used to. It’s intensely paced, contains a lot of violent action and has similar themes. It is a genuine 24 episode.
The negative aspect of that is, while it has the core principals of 24, this reboot honestly doesn’t do anything new. This pilot presents the same kind of basic terrorist plot the audience is used to. There are also trust issues between characters. True fans of 24 looking for the same escapist action of the original series may be fine with that. However, for something that has this much hype around it, and with so much to prove, the lack of originality and innovation is a significant negative. Now keep in mind, this is just the pilot. A lot can happen during the show’s limited 12 episode run that might come as a shocker to those familiar with the property. Yes, much like 24: LAD, this is a limited series event. What this pilot does is it gives a basic setup. All the familiar parts of 24 are here, perhaps just to ease fans back in, while creating a gateway for newbies. There’s plenty of time to create new ideas following this pilot.
Alright, so now I’ll touch upon the two main characters that shine in this pilot.
Obviously, Eric Carter is the hero, the one in the spotlight – or rather, the crosshairs. Corey Hawkins continues to raise to stardom. In addition to the work he’s already famous for, here he plays a very capable lead. Gotta state the obvious: No, he’s no Jack Bauer. He’s got a long way to go before he gets to Bauer status. But he’s on the right track. He’s a scrapper. He fights brutally in order to survive. Hawkins is spot on with his tone as someone who’s seen a lot of action and horrors. As a soldier trying to live a new life but is suddenly thrust back into his old one. I like how he doesn’t back down from an argument, but can also be very sweet and romantic to his wife. And by the way, Hawkins has really good chemistry with his co-star Anna Diop, who plays his wife Nicole. Carter is easily a character I can root for. It helps that he is in no way invincible. So any pain he has to endure, you might feel bad for him, but you know he’ll keep on truckin’.
Miranda Otto plays Rebecca Ingram. She is the former head of C.T.U. who is now married to Senator John Donovan who is running for president. She seems like a interesting character who now has to juggle running her husband’s campaign and helping Carter stop an imminent threat. So she has a lot on her plate, obviously. She seems like an honest woman but also flexible with the rules if it gets the job done. I like Otto’s screen presence. It seems that she will be a very important part of Carter’s success.
There are plenty of other characters introduced in the pilot, but it’s too soon to weigh how integral they’ll be to the main story. Most notable, there’s Jimmy Smits who stars as Senator Donovan. He spends most of this episode looking good in his suit as he attends events and rides in back of his car being escorted around the city, worrying about Rebecca. I’m a big Jimmy Smits fan, and he seems to be one of the show’s headliners. So I truly hope he plays a more vital role throughout the season. The Flash‘s Teddy Sears plays Keith Mullins, the new head of C.T.U., successor to Rebecca. No telling if we can trust him or not. You know how these things go. Eric’s former comrade Ben Grimes (Charlie Hofheimer) suffers from P.T.S.D. He may play a key role in this conflict. And as I mentioned, Nicole, Eric’s wife. She’s not bad ass, but she has potential, proving to be capable of getting out of dangerous situations, as proven when she helped Eric escape the attack on their home. Might want to keep your eye on her.
Of course the main story with Eric is exciting, intense, and has everything we want to see in a 24 season, but there are two subplots I’m a bit worried about. The first has Eric taking Nicole to the “safest” place he can think of which is an apartment complex run by his gang boss brother Isaac (Ashley Thomas). The conflict there, besides the obvious differences of career paths each brother took, is Isaac and Nicole used to be a thing. Uh oh. I worry about this setting because Nicole already gets dirty looks from the women in the complex in what seems to be a setup for some jealousy drama. Plus, after a heated confrontation between Eric and Isaac, something has to come out of it. But with Eric chasing terrorists, what time will he have to mess with his brother?
The second subplot is in a high school setting. Oh, no. If you’re new to the show, you should know teenagers are often the Achilles heel of 24. This plot involves a girl named Amira Dubayev (Kathryn Prescott). A student suspects her of communicating with terrorists. Now, this plot may have more potential than the one involving Nicole. There can be ties between the events presented in this setting that link to the main threat. But again, teenagers are often the problem with 24.
The concept that gives me the most faith and I’m most thankful for is the fact that this reboot is in continuity with the original series. This is all in the same universe. Sadly, the producers have been insisting there will be no return for Chloe O’Brian nor Jack Bauer in this season. But no doubt, us veteran fans are hoping to be surprised. It has already been announced that Carlos Bernard will be returning as fan favorite Tony Almeda. As I typed that, I got chills of excitement. So we have that to look forward to.
I’ll be honest, my main investment in this show is Tony Almeda and the possibility this series might lead back to Jack and Chloe. Even while feeling like a true 24 product, this new series faces the strenuous task of convincing true 24 fans, like myself, that it’s a worth while addition to the 24 universe. Sorry, that’s just how it is. We want our Jack Bauer back. I can’t be certain if too many newcomers will be flocking to this series because with so many anti-terrorists shows on Network TV and Cable, 24 without Kiefer Sutherland may give off the impression that it’s just another generic action show. This show has to work for the already established fan base first. Then again, I could be dead wrong. The core idea of 24: Legacy is to act as a reset to the clock with new characters and stories. A whole new beginning might be enough for new audiences to tune in and see what the fuss is about. For veteran fans, eventually, these new events may tie into the events of the past, but that remains to be seen. With that prospect alone, why the hell not watch it?
The premiere packs a lot of punch and intensity. While lacking new ideas, and obviously Jack Bauer, having Corey Hawkins in the lead, as well as having the signature 24 tone certainly helps elevate the excitement of this reboot.
24: Legacy has its two night premiere beginning Sunday, February 5th after the Super Bowl. It resumes Monday night, February 6th at 8 P.M. PST on FOX