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TV Review: 24: Legacy - Pilot

01.05.2017

TV Review, 24: Legacy, Drama, Action, FOX, Corey Hawkins, Mirando Soto, Jimmy Smits, Kiefer Sutherland

Synopsis: The clock ticks again with the next evolution of the Emmy Award-winning “24” with the new drama series 24: LEGACY. The series chronicles an adrenaline-fueled race against the clock to stop a devastating terrorist attack on United States soil – in the same real-time format that has propelled this genre-defining series. 

TV Review, 24: Legacy, Drama, Action, FOX, Corey Hawkins, Mirando Soto, Jimmy Smits, Kiefer Sutherland

Review: After eight seasons, a TV movie, and an event series, the Jack Bauer era of 24 has officially come to an end. With the premiere episode of 24: Legacy, Kiefer Sutherland’s iconic action hero has been replaced by Corey Hawkins (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, The Walking Dead). With a supporting cast that includes Miranda Otto (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Jimmy Smits (ROGUE ONE), and Teddy Sears (The Flash), 24: Legacy sticks to the tried and true real time format that the original series made so memorable while attempting to tell a fresh story about terrorists attempting to attack the United States. While that may seem like more of the same from 24....well, yeah, it is. Nothing truly revolutionairy is on display in Fox's latest attempt to turn 24 into a franchise, this time by injecting it with a young star and a supporting cast of recognizable faces.

Set three years after 24: Live Another Day, Legacy focuses on war hero Eric Carter (Hawkins) who is being hunted by the family and followers of a slain terrorist. It seems one of Carter’s fellow soldiers stole a lockbox from their target which contains a USB drive that can trigger a cataclysmic event. So, you know, typical 24 stuff. There is also the return of CTU, now under the leadership of Rebecca Ingram (Otto) who is quitting to support her politician husband (Smits) who is running for President of the United States. These characters are thrown together when the bad guys begin picking off Carter’s unit one by one, forcing him to try and find the USB device and save the world. Unlike the first season of 24 which gave us some time to get to know our main character and the rest of the Bauer clan, 24: Legacy takes less than ten minutes to send Carter from stranger to shooting, fighting, and analyzing encrypted data on a phone that accepts USB drives.

TV Review, 24: Legacy, Drama, Action, FOX, Corey Hawkins, Mirando Soto, Jimmy Smits, Kiefer Sutherland

Under the direction of 24 veteran Stephen Hopkins, this looks and feels just like vintage 24. Everything is back: the split screen, the ticking clock, the real time opening title card. Hell, even CTU looks exactly the same (despite being disbanded during the original series run). There are no references to Jack Bauer in the pilot but there are call backs to the first show, including a CTU employee named Mariana Stiles (Coral Peña) who makes a concerted effort to make sure she is related to fan favorite charater Edgar Stiles. Despite being a bit forced, most of the series feels like any other episode of 24 but is still sorely lacking in Bauer power. I will say that Corey Hawkins does an admirable job of carrying Sutherland’s mantle of the heroic badass but he just doesn’t match the gruff intensity that was imbued in Bauer. Hawkins does put his youth to good use. The 28-year-old does a lot more than shoot guns and say "damn it". We see him fighting and killing bad guys like a seasoned veteran.

I wish I could say as much positively about the rest of the cast. In the pilot episode, we are introduced to Jimmy Smits' character who seems to be a surrogate for Dennis Haysbert's President David Palmer but the focus is really on Miranda Otto. As the head of CTU, she has a direct connection to Carter as the two were a part of the operation to take down the terrorist whose USB drive everybody is after. But, over the course of the first episode she makes some of the dumbest decisions since Elisha Cuthbert was being tracked by a mountain lion back in the second season of 24. Yeah, there are some truly inexplicable narrative decisions here but this is 24 after all. There is even one questionable use of the term "bitch slap" in an office setting that made me cringe. There is also a subplot about Carter's past life in the DC projects where he escaped from to become the badass soldier we see today. To say it comes across as a bit cliche would be an understatement.

TV Review, 24: Legacy, Drama, Action, FOX, Corey Hawkins, Mirando Soto, Jimmy Smits, Kiefer Sutherland

The biggest weakness of this pilot episode is the fact that it is saddled with a filler plot about a teenager who is plotting a potential terrorist attack. Also saddled with multiple cliches, this aspect of the episode really took me out of the story. Could it possibly turn into something significant over the course of the season? Sure, but with 24: Legacy already slimmed down to a 12 episode run rather than the original 24, there should be no room for filler. If not for this part of the story I likely would have ranked the debut of the show a little bit higher, but it just didn't click for me. The action is much better than what we have seen in the last several seasons of the original series in regards to the close fighting scenes but this show needs a lot more than some fisticuffs to warrant a spot on my DVR. FOX is likely hoping that pairing the show with the Super Bowl will garner enough viewers to last them through the season because at this rate the narrative definitely won't.

From a nostalgia standpoint, fans of 24 will enjoy the return of the format and the ticking clock that serves to intro and outro each segment of the show. I felt very underwhelmed and expected there to be so much more to this show than just a retread of what we have seen already. With the promise of a major original series character returning (no, not Kiefer), there are some reasons I will tune in to see what comes next, but the show better take a major step up from this hour if it wants to keep any viewer's attention. I will give the show credit for not making a big deal out of the ethnicity of any of the characters but instead just jumping in head first to tell a story of action and little logic. But who watches 24 for the logic? We watch it for the action and the unsanctioned murder of terrorists. After all, few shows embody the Trump Era like a FOX show about a Black man shooting Brown foreigners to protect White people. Yeah, I said it.

24: Legacy premieres after Super Bowl LI on February 5th, 2017 on FOX.

Source: JoBlo.com

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