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24: LEGACY Has the Right Ingredients, but Bad Timing (Review)

24: LEGACY Has the Right Ingredients, but Bad Timing (Review)

24: Legacy has all the right ingredients to make it a hit with longtime 24 fans: a strong hero ready to save the day by any means necessary, a mole hunt inside of CTU, a snarky, funny agent to add comic relief to the tense day, high-octane action scenes, and an intriguing White House plot all woven together to make a gripping thriller told in real time. On the surface, that all sounds like the makings of a hit TV show. And the 24 revival really could have been great … but it’s not. And here’s the thing: it’s really not the fault of the writing, the acting, or anything about the show itself. 24: Legacy‘s downfall is simply the time in which it’s premiering.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: right now, our country is a mess, and that unfortunately causes you to view 24: Legacy with much more critical eyes. Where we are in the political climate highlights all of 24: Legacy‘s shortcomings in a truly horrible way. If the world were different, the flaws really wouldn’t seem so bad. But having the ruthless, violent, killing-machine villains be Islamic terrorists out for revenge on the Army Ranger squad that assassinated a terrorist sheikh feels like it only stokes the fire of how Muslims are currently being negatively portrayed in the media.

Fox

Where the original 24 often came under fire for its portrayal of Muslims in a post-9/11 world, now it just seems like the show is leaning in to the harmful stereotypes being perpetuated in this “fake news” world. Maybe that wasn’t the intent of the writers, but again, it’s not their fault. How could they have known that one of our country’s most controversial executive orders would be issued only days before this revival premiered?

Unfortunately (which seems to be the word of this review!), the stereotypes don’t just end there. One of the Rangers being hunted is a homeless veteran suffering from PTSD, and instead of taking the time to responsibly tell his story of how his actions as a soldier led to him suffering from mental illness, immediately in the series premiere he’s painted as a corrupt bad guy. Our hero Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) has an older brother who’s a gang leader, running drugs and guns in the inner-city. There’s even a plot with a Chechnyan sleeper cell in a high school, only adding to the fear of homegrown terrorism leaking into everyday, “safe” places like your science class or next door neighbor in suburbia.

Fox

But like I said earlier, it’s not all bad. There is still the gripping tension that comes with the iconic ticking clock and split-screen transitions as the show moves in real-time. There’s the classic mole hunt in CTU, igniting paranoia in both the agents and viewers. Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) is back and plays a key role in the season.

Even the political plot woven into the CTU intrigue has a modern feminist update, as Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto) struggles with her promise to step down from acting head of CTU to help her husband, Latino Senator John Donovan (Jimmy Smits), to campaign for President of the United States. The hero at the center of the show is now a black man instead of a white man.

My criticism may sound harsh, but I didn’t hate 24: Legacy. As I’m a huge fan of the show’s original run—Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is and always will be my hero—it was still enjoyable for me to dive back into this world. But no matter how many wins 24: Legacy can claim, the fact of the matter is that it’s premiering at a time when reality is stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to politics and terrorism. Maybe there is still a way to make a 24 revival work for the world right now, but this certainly isn’t it.

Are you excited to see a new version of 24 in 24: Legacy? Disagree with my thoughts? Let me know! Tweet me @SydneyBucksbaum.

2 burritos out of 5

2 burritos

Images: FOX

24: Legacy premieres Sunday, Feb. 5 on FOX at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET or whenever the Super Bowl ends, so set those DVRs accordingly.

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