>TV Round-Up: 24

>Day Eight: 4 – 6 p.m.
And so, day eight of “24” begins with a shift in scenery (we move from D.C. to New York City) and an all-new CTU.

Jack is back and seems to have recovered from his bout with near death last year, thanks in large part to Kim. He’s also decided it’s time to give up the saving civilization as we know it business and ready to move back to L.A. with Kim, her husband and his granddaughter. Of course, being fans of the show, we know this won’t last too long…in fact, within five minutes of Jack saying he’s out, there’s something there to pull him back in.

The pulling him back in is an old informant (who because he was played by Benito Martinez from “The Shield” I kept calling him Acaveda) who has news about an assignation attempt on the new leader of an Arab nation who happens to be in town for a peace summit. So, before you know it, Jack is pulled back in just a little and despite every possible attempt to get out of the saving the world business, Jack is sucked back in yet again.

And it may be kind of a good thing since the new CTU is operating under a new boss with a new emphasis on expediency. Which is a good thing except when terrorists are making crazy moves and your computer drones can’t quite keep up–as we see when CTU’s helicopter is destroyed in the first hour. There’s a whole new cast of CTU people as well, including Mr. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Starbuck. Again, it’s hard to see the actors as new characters just yet, though Kate Sackoff is trying her best with her character. So far, I don’t quite see what the character brings to the table other than pining for Mr. SMG and smirking a lot. Oh and she’s getting mysterious calls about her past.

At least we don’t have any signs of a CTU mole just yet. And if the producers are listening, you can leave that little plotline out this year.

Meanwhile, the first two hours are full of red herrings from the Arab leader’s brother being the one on the inside and not the blonde reporter that he’s having an affair with. And there’s some family drama boiling over there that you can bet will come into play before the day is done.

Ever since “24” went to its two night, four hour premiere, it’s been interesting to watch how the storytelling has changed. It gives us four hours to get inside the situation, meet the new characters and get things rolling–things that really had to happen in just one hour early on when the show ran over a more conventional season. It’s both good and bad. It’s good for the chance to have things unfold in a more natural way and maybe not have a letdown in hour three or four as things try to catch up. But in a bad way, you kind of miss the edge-of-your-seat, over-the-top action that could come with an early hour or that one huge hook that “24” would use in early seasons to get you back into the game.

So far, season eight is off to a solid start. Hopefully tonight will ramp things up a bit and carry us on a thrill ride for the rest of the year.

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