With all the hype surrounding 24: Live Another Day, you almost have to wonder why Fox cancelled 24 in the first place. Live Another Day isn’t really a spinoff of 24 in the traditional sense—it’s a continuation. It stays true to the original 24 formula and with episodes titled “Day 9” followed by the time they covered, it seems as if those behind the show want you to think of Live Another Day not as a separate show but season nine of 24. In fact, Live Another Day’s title card doesn’t even say 24: Live Another Day it simply says 24 and I’m sure that is intentional.
Live Another Day feels a lot like the original 24 series: It’s still in real-time-ish (more on that in a few), there’s still explosions, tense phone calls and people blurting out “damn it” at every opportune moment. Live Another Day also uses 24’s signature split screen style and of course, there’s Jack Bauer—it wouldn’t be 24 without Jack Bauer, would it?
However, while 24: Live Another Day is identical to 24, you’re only getting 12 episodes opposed to 24’s namesake. Live Another Day’s season is half of 24’s out of near necessity because it’s intended to run over the summer. The reduced number of episodes maybe a good thing as the original show tended to drag on to fill the required 24 hours per season. That’s not to mention it’s a stretch to say all these people stayed up for 24 hours and dealt with all they did during that time. Live Another Day’s shorter run should fix that. While the show is still in real-time, it will skip an hour here and an hour there.
You’ll also likely notice that the show is set in London opposed to some random US city. It’s particularly noticeable in some scenes, but in others, you’d be hard pressed to tell Live Another Day from 24 proper.
While 24 was a staple of the first decade of the new millennium, Live Another Day has kept up with how the political and social landscape changed since 24 last went off the air. A significant part of Live Another Day’s plot is the use of drone warfare, which is essentially ripped out of the headlines and there’s a WikiLeaks-like element to the story as well. You’ll also hear mention of the tension between the US and China and see tablets being toted around. (The iPad was released in 2010, just weeks before 24 was ending its run.)
Live Another Day also addresses some of 24’s loose ends like the murders Bauer committed in the final season, and the four years between 24 and Live Another Day has been simply written into the show.
I think Live Another Day is just as adrenaline filled as 24, perhaps you could even argue more so. However, the show isn’t quite realistic, which I suppose you could say about its predecessor as well. I found the way Jack Bauer broke out his friend, hacker Chloe O’Brian, who was held captive, almost cartoonishly absurd—completely unrealistic. I didn’t think it would even be remotely plausible in real life. There was a shoot out in the second hour of the debut that I felt was nearly as bad.
There’s a ton of unnecessary violence in the series as well; however, that’s so commonplace in dramas today, both on the small and big screen, that it might not be worth the mention, but I’m always concerned about the influence it might have on particularly impressionable people. Every few months you hear of some sort of massacre with some guy with a gun, and I often wonder if all the violence on TV has anything to do with that.
Live Another Day is well paced, which helps to make it a lot of fun to follow. However, as Global is Global they messed up the real-time element by getting the time in the show out of sync with the time in real life. The debut of Live Another Day was about a minute out of sync after the first commercial break and by the end of the first hour that gap grew to around four minutes…just enough time for another commercial break. Coincidence? I think not. I believe Global likes to run their ads at different times than the US networks for whatever reason. I suspect Global does something similar during Saturday Night Live too. It often appears that there’s an added commercial break before the host gets together with the cast to end the show. Perhaps I’m wrong, maybe both shows air the way they do here as they do in the US, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. It’s easy to get hooked to Live Another Day as it was with its predecessor regardless if it airs a few minutes out of sync.
Live Another Day is quite special. How many times do series get a second chance like this? Not many; however, there’s talk of Heroes coming back as well as some sort of variant of Lost. So, who knows, if Live Another Day can keep up the quality of its product and its ratings it might launch a wave of television series revivals.
Episode Reviewed: Day 9: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and Day 9: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
24: Live Another Day airs Mondays at 9 PM on Global and Fox