"24: Live Another Day"
It's been almost four years since Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) last barked into his earpiece, demanding coordinates and reminding the world that he was running out of time, four years filled with action heroes, anti-heroes and television violence so foul and splendid it makes the controversial torture scenes of "24" look like child's play.
So what's it like to see Jack Bauer in this new, gloriously crowded landscape? Just fabulous.
"Live Another Day," a special 12-episode "television event," opens in London, which immediately separates it from the domestic settings of previous seasons (though it's hard not to miss the fictitious Sangala). This sets up a somewhat wild hope that Jack will cross paths with Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock or Idris Elba's John Luther because How Great Would That Be, and famed Brits do make the occasional appearance in the first two episodes (eyes peeled for Mr. Stephen Frye), but the story remains firmly in American, and familiar, hands.
Look, there's William Devane reprising his role as James Heller, now the possibly dementia-played president, and Kim Raver as daughter Audrey Raines, she whom Jack heart-brokenly left behind, as he has so many women. Mercifully, he quickly reunites with the most important of these--Miss Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), now a punked-out underground hacker bent on releasing classified documents to the general public a la Edward Snowden.
Bare moments in, Jack, now public enemy No. 1, is wreaking havoc with the powers that be in an effort to save the world, or at least the president's life, while the signature digital clock face counts down the minutes. The years may not have been kind to Jack (a black hoodie? really?) but Sutherland looks great, as does the show. As with so many old friends who have fallen off the frequent caller list, you don't realize how much you missed "24" until you see it again. Fox, Mondays, 9 p.m.
Louie C.K., the king of truth, justice, comedic insight and high-wire heartbreak, is back after an overlong (18 months!) hiatus and he's baffled and fearless as ever. A bigger budget lends this new season more polish but money can't buy you "Louie," because polish is not what this show is about.
Continuing his search for love and understanding, "Louie" is proof that good comedy doesn't have to sting; sometimes it just aches, and in such a way that you can feel every bone in your body, and each strand of longing in your heart. FX, Mondays, 10 p.m..
First a crazy baby with lavender eyes and telekinetic powers, and now a feisty young drifter who turns out to be another Grimm; the macho tendencies of the show's Wesen-friendly Portland, Ore., have recently gotten a serious shot of girl power.
Begun three seasons ago as a fantasy crime procedural in which Det. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) serves as a bridge between two worlds when he discovers he's the latest in a line of secret beastie hunters, "Grimm" has subsequently spun out its own mythology, complete with a mysterious royal family, secret map and now, a child that will change the world. Last week, however, Nick's world was really rocked when he met up with a young woman who shares his abilities if not his knowledge.
Trubel brings a bracing gust of air to "Grimm's" forest primeval. In part because she's played by newcomer (as in plucked from the college classroom) Jacqueline Toboni, but mostly because her existence expands the "Grimm" universe, which may not be as far-flung and wondrous as Westros, but it's getting there. NBC, Fridays, 9 p.m.