24 returned tonight with an all new season after a prolonged hiatus – and it didn’t take long for the themes of the new season premiere to echo many of the themes from previous seasons. Within the first twenty minutes of the two hour premiere, Jack and Chloe were already being tortured in an “enhanced interrogation” session. Someone in the CIA was being bounced because her husband turned traitor and sold secrets to the enemy. And the Chinese are somehow involved, because well, it’s 24.
Some things just don’t change. And so 24, the series that rose to popularity in the shadow of 9/11 at a time when torture and other such hijinks were briefly considered a virtue, will attempt to keep going to the same well – even in this new era in which Americans have largely come to reject the neoconservative paranoia that once gripped the nation.
And yet there will have to be some update to the 24 worldview, some acknowledgment from the show that this is no longer the world we thought it was a decade ago, right? Perhaps this first episode is merely a hook to prove that 24 is still 24, and from here the show will begin to acknowledge that it’s 2014 and not 2001. Otherwise, the fictional universe of 24 will end up feeling like as much of a fish out of water as Jack Bauer currently feels in London.