Lori’s list: Triumphant returns for Jack Bauer, Louis C.K.

Written By By LORI RACKL TV Critic Posted: 05/05/2014, 01:10pm

“24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY” (7 to 9 p.m., WFLD-Channel 32): Everyone’s favorite, breathless counter-terrorism hero, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), is back to save the world — this time as a fugitive hiding in London. The cat-and-mouse thriller that helped launch television’s binge-watching craze when it debuted in 2001 remains as endearingly implausible as ever. Distilled down to 12 episodes instead of the traditional 24, it’s a fast-moving trip down memory lane featuring lots of familiar faces, such as computer hacker Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) in full “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” mode, plus some intriguing new villains, most notably “Game of Thrones” alum Michelle Fairley. Rating: ★★★½

“LOUIE” (9 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, FX): After a year-and-a-half hiatus, Louis C.K. returns with 14 new installments of his groundbreaking, toe-curling, hard-to-categorize brand of comedy. This semi-fictional take on the divorced comic’s sometimes bleak existence is deliberately unpredictable, especially in the second of the back-to-back episodes guest-starring Jerry Seinfeld. It’s clear that C.K. made good use of the time off to recharge his creative batteries. The season’s third episode, “So Did the Fat Lady,” is his best yet. Rating: ★★★½

“ROSEMARY’S BABY” (8 to 10 p.m. Sunday and May 15, WMAQ-Channel 5): Ira Levin’s 1967 best-selling novel, adapted for the big screen in Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror classic starring Mia Farrow as the titular baby mama, gets a modern makeover — and a move to Paris — in NBC’s new miniseries. This time another Polish filmmaker, Agnieszka Holland (“The Killing,” “The Wire”), sits in the director’s chair for an updated spin on a young couple’s deal with the devil. The supernatural story, which seesaws between suspense and silliness, works better in the compact form of a movie than as a two-part series; it starts to feel repetitive in the second half. But a convincing Zoe Saldana (“Avatar”) keeps you vested in the outcome, and the City of Light makes an enticing backdrop for the Prince of Darkness. Rating: ★★½

“PENNY DREADFUL” (9 p.m. Sunday, Showtime): Former Chicago playwright John Logan (“Skyfall,” “Hugo”) has concocted a terrifying world of monsters — old and new — and let them run amok in Victorian London. Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper, Dorian Gray, Dracula — they’re all invited to this twisted party, and that’s the problem. This psychosexual horror series has too much going on for its own good. It also comes at a time when television needs another freak fest like it needs another singing competition. The series is artfully shot, superbly acted by Eva Green (“Casino Royale”) and boasts an impressive pedigree (producer Sam Mendes of “Skyfall” and “American Beauty”), but it lacks the compelling quality of the pulpy fiction that spawned its pejorative name. Rating: ★ ★

Email: lrackl@suntimes.com

Twitter: @lorirackl

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