Those digital clock beeps, the still remarkable real-time format, the relentless action, the petty office politics — the makers of “24: Legacy” (Fox, 10:30 p.m. or whenever the Super Bowl is over) do all they can to make you recall the signature 21st century series before you notice that Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer won’t be part of it.
He happens to be a president on another network right now, and the excuses to bring Bauer back into the action were getting a little thin. So it’s welcome to have a young new hero in a former Army ranger played by Corey Hawkins, whose team of elite soldiers is being gunned down by a foreign cadre looking for a thumb drive full of terrorist cell info. Meanwhile, Miranda Otto, stepping down as head of CTU because her husband, Jimmy Smits, is running for president. If she looks familiar, it’s because she was the corrupt head of the Berlin CIA in last season’s “Homeland,” brought to you by the some of the same writers who invariably bring in an uncanny reflection of current global situations to their action TV shows. Otto almost embodies special unit spy planning (possibly because her red hair also recalls Jessica Chastain’s portrayal of a CIA operative in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”).
And if Smits seems familiar running for president, well he did so on the waning season of “The West Wing” as well. There are other elements of TV past to engage you to “24: Legacy” including Gerald McRainey, whose guest star appearance was a the best thing in “This is Us.” And while there’s no Chloe O’Brian in sight, there are hints that Tony Alameda is part of the action this season. So I’m not betting against a Sutherland cameo somewhere down the line, before the season’s clock clicks down.