The revival premieres after the Super Bowl on Fox
When Fox announced it was rebooting its landmark real-time thriller 24 with an African-American star, the news was hailed as a victory for diversity. This remains true, regardless of what you think of the show itself. Me, I think it’s laughably ludicrous.
Corey Hawkins of Straight Outta Compton is rock-solid Eric Carter, a hard-boiled Army Ranger whose squad assassinated a terrorist sheikh. Now they’re being hunted as part of a vengeance scheme, which, in true 24 style, is linked to a larger conspiracy and a presidential campaign (Jimmy Smits plays the candidate) that unfolds over the course of one long day. Unfortunately, in classic bad-form 24 fashion, egregious stereotypes and caricatures abound, from stock Islamic villains to crazed homeless vets to Carter’s brother, an inner-city drug lord. At one point Carter has to steal $2 million from a police station, and his plan hinges on getting arrested by a racist white cop. Within a second, one rolls up. Are the writers aspiring to topicality? If so, their work comes off as pandering and cynical, while Carter comes off “why did you do that?!” stupid and insane.
Meanwhile, in a parallel plot so near-camp absurd it’s enjoyable, a thickly accented teenage femme fatale from Chechnya (Finding Carter‘s Kathryn Prescott) who has seduced her science teacher pursues her own explosive plan. There’s a character who protests the demonization of Muslims, a criticism that has long dogged 24, but the show can’t shake it here. Familiar intrigues will either delight or bore fans of the original. Paranoia reigns within CTU, and yep, there’s probably a mole.
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There’s still some crackle in the split-screen storytelling, still some pop in the action. The sprawl of melodrama complicates quickly, so it’s possible the series can evolve into something more interesting than a guilty-pleasure hate-watch. But who has time for that anymore? Get better soon, 24: Legacy. My clock is ticking. D
24: Legacy premieres on Fox Sunday, Feb. 5 at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET or when the Super Bowl ends.