24: Season 8 Revealed

That sound you hear? It’s the sound of millions of men canceling their weekend plans, as Season 8 of 24 starts this Sunday night at 9! As usual, the show kicks off with a 2-night 4-hour premiere, but the similarities end there – this season, Jack’s in New York City.

“You need to pay attention to this.”

For those of you who’ve been living in a cave that’s also underwater that’s also on the moon, 24 follows the adventures of Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) agent Jack Bauer, a tough-as-nails government spy who’ll do whatever it takes to protect the country. The show operates in real time – every episode represents an hour out of one long, hellacious day for our hero.

Last season introduced his new partner, the sexy and fearless Renee Walker, and brought back his trusted handler Chloe O’Brian. CTU had been officially disbanded, but the three of them fought anyway, beating impossible odds to stop terrorist attacks aimed at halting a US invasion of a fictional African country.

Actress Annie Wersching, who plays CTU's Renee Walker

Of course, this being 24, things weren’t nearly that straightforward. Double crosses and triple crosses were the norm, while new friends and old enemies converged to form the mother of all conspiracies. Evil military contractors, a shadow government and a computer skeleton key called the “CIP Device” were all in play, but in the end, Jack saved the day.

“I don’t work for the government anymore.”

While knowledge of old seasons is a plus, every season is also written and designed to be accessible to new fan, and Season 8 is no exception. The Big Apple season starts with Jack Bauer, retired and caring for his daughter and granddaughter in New York City. He’s getting ready to move back to Los Angeles and begin his familial life when a desperate man corners him, begging for his help.

The unknown agent provides Jack Bauer with critical information about an assassination plot to take place during a meeting at the UN between Middle East leader Omar Hassan (Slumdog Millionaire’s Anil Kapoor) and US President Allison Taylor (Emmy award winner Cherry Jones).

“This is going down now. Innocent lives are at stake.”

Naturally, Jack wants nothing to do with this – he’s a grandfather now just looking to move on with this life. But this being 24, it’s not long before Jack’s all conquering sense of duty kicks in, putting Jack – with Chloe and Renee at a newly reconstituted CTU – on the trail of the assassins.

“Who are you people?”

A new CTU brings new faces, the most exciting addition being Battlestar Galactica’s Katiee Sackhoff as Dana Walsh, CTU’s new computer expert with a dark past. Expect the secrets of her character to be revealed over the course of the season, but also expect immediate tension with Chloe. Dana’s in charge of CTU’s computers now, and Chloe’s a few years behind – meaning the season should begin with Chloe hating her right away.

Katee Sackhoff, who plays CTU's Dana Walsh

An interesting real world development from this season will be the introduction of Arlo Glass, played by John Boyd. Arlo’s a military drone pilot – when we think of drones, we usually think of Afghanistan or Iraq, but Arlo’ll be piloting one of those killer machines right through the skyscrapers and tunnels of New York City. We’re so used to Chloe hacking into “keyhole satellites” at this point, the introduction of these mini-death planes brings an interesting new take on aerial surveillance.

CTU’s rebirth was not without controversy within the US Government – allusions are made to CTU head Brian Hastings (Boomtown’s Mykelti Williamson) putting himself on the line to get the organization reactivated, and the consequences of his sacrifices to bring CTU online will play out over the course of the season.

With a new CTU comes a new badass agent, played by…Freddy Prinze Jr? Yes, that’s right, with a new season of 24 comes another attempt to create a mini-Jack Bauer who can hopefully take over the franchise (as this is star Sutherland’s eighth season) – hopefully he won’t be crammed down fans throats like Ricky Schroeder was in Season 6.

“Take the shot!”

All seasons of 24 go through some kind of massive rescripting halfway through the season, so I can honestly say: not even the executive producers know where Season 8 is going. But I do know that America’s in for a hell of a ride.

Can’t Wait?

Here’s a list of 24 Season 8 Funstuff, Trailers and behind the scenes stuff.  Get ready to get Jacked New York.

24 Season 8 Behind the Scenes featurette.

Season 8 Trailer

Interview with Keifer Sutherland

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