By Melissa Girimonte
24 has quite a bit to atone for. It’s been 18 months since the end of its lackluster sixth season. Filming Season seven hit roadblock after roadblock, from scrapped storylines, to California wildfires, to the infamous WGA strike. Will fans welcome back the action series, and their hero, Jack Bauer? If the upcoming two-hour TV movie is any indication of what’s in store. Absolutely.
24: REDEMPTION sets the ball in motion for its long awaited seventh season premiere by filling in the gaps following Jack’s triumphant walk off into the sunset at the end of season six. A female president is about to be sworn in, war is about to break out in the fictional African country of Sangala and Jack Bauer is desperately trying to escape his past.
Staying true to the series’ real-time format, the two-hour movie begins to chart previously unexplored subject matter by moving the action on US soil to Washington, DC. Over in Sangala, Colonel Juma is rounding up child soldiers to create an army for his military coup. Bauer’s reunited with one of his friends from Special Ops, Carl Benton, who runs an orphanage and school for boys in war-torn Sangala.
The movie manages to raise some potentially touchy issues: the harsh reality of children being stolen to fight in brutal wars; the US turning a blind eye to conflict in areas where they don’t have any interests; and the United Nations cowardly hiding behind a wall of neutrality. I know, it’s just a movie, but I can’t help but look at this as social commentary.
In addition to the strong storyline, what else do viewers have to look forward to on Sunday? How about the introduction to some intriguing new characters? We’ll meet President-elect Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), US State Department slimeball Frank Trammell (Gil Bellows), and the villainous Jonas Hodges (Jon Voight). Then there’s Kiefer Sutherland, proving that he’s not just a great action hero; he’s also a fine dramatic actor. He shows some real depth and emotion in this movie, showing a passion that I’d liken to 24’s very first season.
My verdict? The series has redeemed itself from its prior indiscretions. 24: REDEMPTION is an exciting, powerful, and action-packed 2 hours of TV, and a strong reminder of its former glory. So bring on 2009, and the series’ return to “hit” status for its seventh season.
24: REDEMPTION airs this Sunday November 23 at 8PM on FOX (Global TV and E! in Canada)
Melissa is a Toronto-based TV blogger and music journalist. A TV fan since birth, it was only in recent years that she discovered her love for writing about what she was watching. After contributing to several online and print magazines as a freelance writer, she started her own TV blog, The Televixen, in 2008. She’s also founder and editor of Toonage.ca, an online music magazine.
Photo Credit: ©2008 Michael Klick