Jack is back! Or at least he will be. Fox has confirmed that "24," the all-in-a-day's-work drama centered on counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), is set to return to prime time.
That's good news for fans who've waited three long years to see what became of their small-screen hero, last seen on the lam at the end of season eight. But there's bad news too: Those fans still have to wait one more year.
That's right, "24: Live Another Day" isn't expected to kick off until May 2014.
To help bide the time, here's a list of the 12 things we want to see when Jack's back in action.
Back to the beginning
While "24" always made for edge-of-your-seat viewing, it lost a little of the magic as the years went on. There was just something special about those first two seasons that the show was never able to top. Maybe it was the newness (sure to be recaptured with a fresh return), or maybe it was just sense of innocence -- before nearly everyone betrayed everyone else (unlikely to ever be recaptured). But maybe the winning formula was really just about straightforward storytelling, which wavered as the plots grew more convoluted over the years. Either way, getting Jack Bauer back to basics is a must.
We love L.A., but…
The West Coast is easy on the eyes -- and no doubt easy on the budget for a Tinseltown production -- but let's face it, it's not really a natural fit for a counter-terrorism agent (or former counter-terrorist agent still fighting the good fight) often tasked with saving targets in D.C., New York and beyond. This would be a great time for Jack to finally make the move to the East Coast for good.
No more time travel
No matter where Jack is based, the minute-by-minute action should be at least somewhat plausible. After all, traversing the greater L.A. area or even just the parking lots at LAX takes more than five minutes. But back in "24's" heyday, Jack rarely spent more than a few moments to get to any destination.
Get real, Jack!
Of course, Jack's itinerary wasn't the only thing that lacked a little needed realism before the show bowed out the last time around. Jack Bauer himself had become a bit unbelievable. Not only was he burned, shocked, sliced, shot and infected with a brutal bioweapon, Jack actually died -- more than once. Briefly. Heck, he even found time for a heroin addiction in the midst of it all -- not that it slowed him down much. And that's the problem: Jack's a hero, but he's also a human. There has to be some limits to what he can survive.
Cut Kim loose
Sure, she's his flesh and blood, but Kim Bauer has got to go. When she's not being abducted (and frankly, when is she not being abducted?), Kim just can't decide what she thinks of her dear old dad. Jack doesn't need the distraction.
Not every minute of the day is interesting, that always posed a problem for "24," which allowed the plot to progress in real time -- no matter what. But this is one problem that shouldn't be a problem next summer. The new "limited series" approach Fox has planned means viewers will only see 12 hours of the day -- the good ones.
Some action heroes deliver little more than cheesy one-liners, but Jack Bauer has a way with words. That was clear from his very first "I'm Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and today is the longest day of my life" voiceover. So, whether he's threatening to break some bad guy's whatzit or just delivering a steady stream of damn-its, Jack needs to ditch the strong and silent routine when he comes back.
He's in. He's out. If CTU can decide whether they want a one-man solution to the terrorist-menace-du-jour, then to heck with them. They aren't the only government agency in town.
Then again, Jack is a free agent now. If the feds don't want him, that's fine too. He doesn't really need anyone telling him what to do in order to save the day.
Bring the baddies back
What it does need is an adversary, but not necessarily a new one. There's a long line of dead bodies behind Jack, but a few of the evil masterminds -- or at least their equally evil flunkies -- survived along the way. Why not have the leading man face off with a former foe (Mandy) or two (Tony).
Forget some familiar faces
Just don't get carried away. This reboot doesn't need to be a greatest hits of everyone from Jack's past.
But there is one blast from the past that has to be there -- there's no negotiating on this one. Chloe O'Brian, the snarky analyst with who stuck by Jack's side no matter what, is a definite deal breaker.
What do you want to see when the show returns? Tellus in the comments.