Here are some excerpts from a list of 100 facts about Jack Bauer:
1. Jack Bauer once stepped into quicksand. The quicksand couldn't escape and nearly drowned.
2. Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer because he saved the city several times. But they had to rename the street because people kept dying while crossing it. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives.
27. When bad things happen to good people, it's probably fate. When bad things happen to bad people, it's probably Jack Bauer.
53. On a high school math test, Jack Bauer put down "Violence" as every one of the answers. He got an A+ on the test because Jack Bauer solves all his problems with Violence.
100. Jack is Back!!!!!!!
Jack Bauer, everyone's favorite regular-guy superhero, returned to television Sunday in "24: Redemption."
More subdued and ironically the better for it, Jack returned from an 18-month absence thanks to the writer's strike. Frankly, the strike couldn't have come at a better time.
For years, "24" was the most addictive, well-crafted show on television. But after four successful seasons, the show's concept became tiresome, and the action became cartoonish in Season 5 and 6. To continue the edge-of-your-seat plot twists, everyone had to become a villian-in-disguise: even the president, Jack's lovers, his friends and many at CTU, the fictional anti-terrorist unit where Jack worked.
But the time off has done Jack, and the show's writers, some serious good.
"Redemption," a two-hour prequel setting up Season 7, which debuts in January, finds Jack in the fictional African country of Sangala. For the last year, Jack has been avoiding a subpoena from the U.S. government and helping out with orphaned children.
But at the same time the subpoena comes, a military coup breaks out, and all Hell breaks loose. But like Jack, the action in "Redemption" is more toned down than in previous seasons.
Sure, Jack still kills a few people and saves a few others. But in the time off, "24" has become a more thoughtful, contemplative show, focused as much on character development as it is action. With the Jason Bournes and James Bonds running rampant in our society, Jack couldn't necessarily compete in the kill-anything-and-explode-everything climate that pervades Hollywood right now. The show needed the change of pace.
Furthermore, the setting -- being outside, away from the U.S. government, away from CTU -- also lets the show breathe. The cinematography -- mostly shot in South Africa -- is both breathtaking and harrowing, and the editing and production values are top-notch as usual.
If "Redemption" is representative of what we can expect in Season 7, then the prequel's title is accurate: "24" has truly been redeemed.
(P.S. If you missed "24: Redemption," you can watch it on Fox.com or get the DVD today.)