Return of the Tough Guys
"... as the equally long-awaited 24 revs up for a four-hour, two-night season premiere, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) soon discovers you can play dead for only so long.
I lost count of how many times I jumped and yelled at the TV in the opening minutes of 24's relentless, fiendishly entertaining first episode. It never lets up, and why in the world would you ever want it to?
As the fifth season begins, our hero has been living under a new identity 18 months after faking his death. But terrible circumstances catapult him, and the new innocents in his life, onto a sudden collision course with nonstop danger—and, inevitably, CTU.
Before long, it seems everyone's in harm's way, and Jack's mission is to get at the truth while he has multiple targets on his back. "Relax, he's really good at this," snarly CTU tech Chloe (the amusing Mary Lynn Rajskub) tells a stunned observer. Jack Bauer is lethally good—better than ever, in fact—and so is the show, a breathlessly paced torrent of tragedy and impending disaster on multiple fronts.
Of special note this season: Jean Smart's wily performance as a possibly unstable but ultimately steely first lady to wimpy President Logan (Gregory Itzin). She's one of many fresh new characters to fret over.
I didn't know how 24 could top last season, but so far it's working. And the edge of my seat is already frayed."