All is right again in the TV world, because our favorite Jacks are back on the case:
and 24's tireless Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who's running from retribution when not saving civilization. Both have been known to bend the rules to win.And both shows have been sorely missed:
24 postponed a year because of the writers' strike,
and a rejuvenated Order inexplicably left off the fall lineup but suddenly restored this month to prop up NBC's ailing schedule.
With relative rookies Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson solving the crimes and scrappy Linus Roache leading the prosecution (with Alana de la Garza) and butting heads with his boss,
Law & Order rarely feels like a show entering its 19th season.
The series hits its stride this week, as Roache's Michael Cutter risks his career to confront a senile judge (a heartbreaking Ned Beatty). Next week's disturbing episode features Jena Malone as a runaway child bride from a polygamist cult. Law & Order is TV comfort food at its most nutritious.
Whereas 24: Redemption (Sunday, Nov. 23 at 8 pm/ET, Fox), a riveting two-hour prequel to January's seventh season is a shot of pure adrenaline and deluxe action filmmaking.
Jack, ducking a federal subpoena, once again plays reluctant hero, the last hope to help evacuate schoolchildren from a violent African coup — with no help from smarmy diplomats or a cartoonishly sniveling U.N. weasel.
Back home, a female president (Cherry Jones, warm yet steely) is sworn in amid the usual helter-skelter of rich villains (Jon Voight) and sinister moles. Once Jack comes back to clean up this mess, wonder if he could rescue our economy?
I'd give him an extra day for that.