Jul 31, 2018

Tradecraft: Latest 24 Reboot Attempt to Focus on Young Jack Bauer

Ever since 24 went off the air following its eighth season in 2010, Fox execs have been looking for ways to bring it back. For years they tried to develop a feature film based on the real-time TV series (which I'd still like to see happen!), then eventually brought it back in 2014 as the summer limited series event, 24: Live Another Day. That 12-episode format proved to be a vast improvement on the previous 24-episode format, and after star Kiefer Sutherland announced that he was done playing Jack Bauer, they tried it again with the Bauer-less reboot/revival/sequel series 24: Legacy. That incarnation didn't quite live up to their ratings expectations, but they immediately started plotting another strategy. There were rumors of abandoning the counter-terrorism theme altogether, and rebooting the show as a legal drama that kept only the real-time format. (Indeed, when the series launched in 2001 and the producers weren't certain where it would go, one idea was to make it a real-time anthology show. To that end, Imagine Entertainment optioned The Da Vinci Code as possible source material for a second season of 24. Obviously, that book blew up and instead Imagine turned it into a big screen feature.) Apparently the legal thriller idea (written by longtime 24 producer Howard Gordon and Jeremy Doner, and said to focus on a female lawyer trying to save a client from death row as the clock ticks down) remains a possibility, but Deadline reports that Fox is simultaneously developing another new incarnation of 24 as well: a Jack Bauer prequel series.

Written by Gordon (Homeland, Legends) and original 24 creators Bob Cochran (La Femme Nikita) and Joel Surnow (The Equalizer), "it is said to be in the vein of the original and will trace the origin story of CTU agent Jack Bauer," the trade reports. The network presumably sees this as a way to revisit the iconic, fan-favorite character without depending on Sutherland's involvement. I'm a little torn on this idea myself. While the possibility of seeing Jack Bauer as a young agent in the waning days of the Cold War is certainly appealing (assuming that's the direction they go, rather than rebooting entirely with a younger Bauer active today. a la NBC's Taken prequel series), I just can't imagine any actor beside Sutherland taking on that role. It will all depend on casting. If they can find the right actor, I suppose it just might work.... And who am I kidding? I'll watch a real-time spy series set in the late Eighties no matter who it stars!

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