Nostalgia is a powerful force. We are naturally attracted to the familiar; it brings us a sense of comfort. So it’s no wonder that the entertainment industry traffics in nostalgia. Hollywood is built on sequels and remakes because they belong to pre-sold properties. They have to work less to get people to see/watch them. The TV industry is no different.
Revivals have become quite the trend in recent years with shows like Gilmore Girls, The X-Files and Heroes all coming back after multiple years off the air. The reception for this revivals has been mixed at best. If anything this practice has proven how hard it is to recapture the magic that a show had while it was on the air. In the case of 24: Legacy, we get a new cast transplanted into the same stories that the original told nine times over between 2001-2010 (and a miniseries in 2014). While this reboot shows signs of bringing new perspectives to the old 24 model, the three episodes I’ve seen suggest this new incarnation is simply more of the same.
The main story follows former Army Ranger Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) who is drawn back into action after a terrorist cell goes after his unit for the death of their leader. Naturally, Carter discovers that the deaths of his men is just the first step in a plot that could kill thousands (sound familiar yet) and is forced to take action to prevent it. Carter is supported by former CTU director Rebecca Ingram (Homeland’s Miranda Otto) who is also drawn back into the day’s events because of her connection to Carter’s operation.
What disappoints me the most about 24: Legacy is just how similar to the original it is. This story is exactly the same as every season that has come before. There’s the terrorist plot, the moles, the domestic problems and the side plots that drag every episode’s pace to a halt. So much of what happens in the three episodes I’ve seen is derivative of everything the original did. Characters behave at the behest of the plot rather than any action that is true to whoever they are (to be fair, given the real-time format we hardly know who these people are anyway).
In episode two, Carter breaks into a police station and in the next episode is allowed to leave completely without consequence. The original did this all the time but for this “new” show to pull the same tricks isn’t good enough.There are moments where I saw the show attempting to bring a different perspective on some issues (Carter being African American or how America cares for its veterans) but these moments were just a drop in a very muddled bucket. There’s a difference between being faithful to an original property and straight copying it beat for beat. Sadly, 24: Legacy appears to be the latter.
I knew going in that not having Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer was going to change the dynamic of the show (as it should) but, I hadn’t realized just how much of the proceedings Jack grounded. Through every ridiculous plot twist or line of dialogue, Jack Bauer was there to make sure your eyes were fixed on the screen. Hawkins does an admirable job as Carter, but he just doesn’t exude that magnetic presence that Sutherland had.
So did I enjoy 24: Legacy? Not as much as I had hoped I was going to. For the sake of brevity, I won’t run down every grievance I had with these first three episodes. However, despite its flaws, the show serves as decent escapist entertainment. As with the original 24, the action sequences remain well-directed and intense and the pace of the main plot rarely takes a breather. If you’re looking to turn your brain off for an hour, you could do worse than 24: Legacy.
The original 24 was the source of a lot of good memories for me. It was one of the first shows that my mom and I began to enjoy together. We would binge the box sets on the weekends when I was a kid. Because of that goodwill (proving the power of a recognizable brand name), I intend to keep watching through this first season. Hopefully, the show takes a chance and does something to set itself apart from the original.
So have you been watching 24: Legacy? Are you missing Jack? How do you feel the show stacks up to the original? Let me know in the comments section!