Jack’s Back — But Not Here

Racing-the-clock thriller 24 returned to US, UK and Aussie screens this week in the mini-series sequel Live Another Day but there’s no sign of hero Jack Bauer living another day here.

And even if he did, fans wouldn’t see him in HD.

MediaWorks, which used to own the rights, consigned the ex-TV3 property to SD channel Four for its last two seasons and is longer interested in a drama that never rated strongly on either network.

With 20th Century Fox TV shows now on the open market, TVNZ could have picked it up.

But while the series would have suited TV One’s profile, the broadcaster would have seen little value in spending extra money on damaged goods when its US drama cup already runneth over.

Yet it’s surprising neither Sky’s The Box, which re-ran earlier seasons of 24, nor Sky’s free-to-air channel, Prime, which has invested in other Fox shows, like Bones and Modern Family, have made an offer.

Of course, with the LA Screenings about to start, Sky/Prime programmers might have a change of heart if Live Another Day continues to rate well after a solid start.

Even so, those who want to see it in HD will have to stream or download or wait for the Blu-ray.

The problem with the latter, legal option is the Blu-ray won’t come out until all efforts to secure a broadcast deal have been exhausted — which means fans will have to import it from the UK or across the Tasman, as Fox tends to region-lock its US releases.

As for the early reviews, The Telegraph said it “still delivers thrills and twists” and The Guardian called it “as unrealistic as ever, and that’s … OK.

“The show returns with Snowden-style leaks and drones upon drones. But trust me: that’s enough non-fiction. Real spy work isn’t nearly as exciting.”

“Certainly nostalgia is a factor,” the Los Angeles Times acknowledged. “But delight may be a better word.

“It’s always good to see an old friend, and an old pro in action. Live Another Day gives us both.”

Most reviews were positive, although the New York Times observed, “The setting, London, is new, but not much else,” and Time said: “As long as all you ask of it is more familiar twists and backstabbing, you’ll probably be happy with it.

“If you felt (like I did) that the series had said all it had to say after eight years, the reboot looks skippable.”

In the meantime, Sky is offering spy buffs the chance to rediscover The Man From UNCLE when the ’60s hit resurfaces this month on Jones!

It will air 9.30 Thursdays from May 22 but the channel isn’t going back to the first and best season; instead, it’s picking up the series from season two, because of a bizarre policy not to air black-and-white shows in primetime.

And if you like not just your UNCLE spy concepts ancient, try TV One’s upcoming Intelligence, which Variety quipped “feels like a show developed when computers were the size of a refrigerator“.

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4 Responses to “Jack’s Back — But Not Here”

  1. Seen the first 2 eps of 24 and its pretty good in HD. Shot in the UK, it looks a lot grittier than the US shows ever did. Story is ok, the usual terorist stuff.

  2. Sounds great. Which sites are best for HD?

  3. Sad on both counts — not seeing UNCLE from s1 and an indefinite wait for Bauer, Chloe and co’s UK holiday.

  4. It’s good to see David McCallum still going strong in NCIS :-) As for 24 don’t get me started :-(

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