May 10, 2013

Tradecraft: 24 to Return to TV?

Ever since 24 went off the air in 2010 (was it really that long ago???), Kiefer Sutherland & Co. have been trying to revisit his iconic character, CTU agent Jack Bauer, in a feature film. I was really looking forward to seeing that. I felt that the real-time format of the TV show had grown tired (though it really bounced back in its final season), but the character was way too good to let go. Therefore, spinning him off into a film series seemed ideal. Well, that never happened, sadly. But there's good news for Bauer boosters yet! In a surprising move, Deadline reports that 24 may see new life on television... as a miniseries! (Or, as they call them today, as a "limited series event.") The trade blog reports that Fox, having cancelled Sutherland's most recent series, Touch, is keen on reviving 24 as a limited series. I like that plan, too. Jack Bauer's adventures don't have to take a whole day to conclude. Surely some terrorist threats are solvable in 6 or 8 hours? But if it's only 8 episodes, will the title have to change? (Unlikely.) Granted, there's no word yet on whether or not the new version would even retain the original show's real-time gimmick at all. I'd be totally cool with seeing Bauer taking on terrorists in a more traditional format. Like I say, it's the character that appeals to me, not necessarily the gimmick. Longtime 24 showrunner Howard Gordon has gone on to have all sorts of TV success since the show ended, including producing the amazing, amazing spy drama Homeland and executive producing the upcoming TNT spy series Legends. According to Deadline, it was Gordon who hatched the latest comeback plan and pitched it to Fox. All of this is not only surprising, but pretty darn awesome. I love that the TV model has changed so much that an American series can return a few years after it goes off the air in a slightly different format. I'd love to see 24 miniseries of varying lengths come on every couple of years. They really would be events, like the network wants, and we wouldn't get burnt out on them. (I got burnt out on the regular-length seasons around 4 or 5, and found that there were often only 12 good hours in a Bauer day anyway.) And who knows? Maybe the renewed exposure will put the film version back on track, too. But Jack Bauer is too great a character to fade away.

1 comment:

teeritz said...

Oh, that's great news!!! I thought the final season was absolutely brilliant. But with Bauer last seen on the run (from just about everybody but me), I wonder how they'll pick up from where it all left off?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but not every season of "24" was done in real time, was it? I recall some seasons didn't have Sutherland stating at the beginning; "Events occur in real time".
Great news, thanks for the tip-off.