NEW YORK – Probably this season's best returning series, "24," (search) is back with more! more! more! trouble for CTU's Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) (search), President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) and, of course, the world's most annoying daughter, Kimberly Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) (search).
Not to give any big secrets away, but season three begins three years from where we last left off. Jack has been deep undercover and has developed some, er, health problems of his own.
I'd like to tell you what has happened to President Palmer who was infected with a deadly virus after a bad handshake last time we saw him, but alas, I can't. Jack and company are still dealing with terrorists, but not your run-of-the-mill Middle Eastern variety - more of the our-neighbors-to-the-south terrorists.
The bad guys have hired an American teenage "mule" to carry some white powder for them. It's not what you think -or at least it's not what I think I thought it was.
In fact, whatever the heck the powder is, this kid's got enough of it to do great harm to all of Los Angeles. Bauer, himself not in great shape, has to shape up or the world itself can be destroyed - and only an actor as fine as Sutherland can make you believe that one man can in fact save the world in 24 hours. And he's better this year - if possible.
As great, riveting, beautifully written and acted as "24" is, however, the producers and writers have given the one character that has continually stopped the action - troublesome Kim - a bigger role. And she's got a bunch of beautiful, young cohorts.
Yes, this year nearly everyone on "24" is twenty three. And gorgeous. And the series suffers for it. And Kim is now - get this!-working at CTU. She's managed to go from ditzy, always-in-trouble nanny to genius computer hacker. They must think that Cuthbert will be a draw for the coveted 18-to-34-year olds. But the coveted group in my house howled their disappointment at this new turn.
To make matters worse, she's dating her father's new agent/ right-hand guy, (James Badge Dale). That aside, if you're a "24" fan, get set to get riveted to your seat - while Bauer and his band fly by the seat of their pants.