May 21, 2018

Tradecraft: Another Year, Another 24 Revival Rumor

It's a tradition that every year at the Fox upfronts (the event where networks unveil new series to advertisers), some executive teases the possibility of a 24 revival. Some years, that happens, leading to the excellent Kiefer Sutherland half-length reunion series, 24: Live Another Day, and the single season of "CTU: The Next Generation," 24: Legacy. But most years, nothing comes of such talk at all. (Like last year's rumors that the real-time format would be kept for another new incarnation, but the counterterrorism angle would be ditched altogether in favor of a female-driven legal drama.) This year was no exception to that rule. Deadline reports that, "during Fox’s upfront press call, chairman Dana Walden revealed that 24 executive producer Howard Gordon (Homeland, Legends) is working with 24 creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran on a possible new iteration of the real-time drama. The network and 24 producers 20th Century Fox, Imagine TV and Gordon had been discussing new ideas for a 24 series since the end of 24: Legacy last season, including a female-led legal thriller earlier this season. Walden would not elaborate what the new [premise] is, but noted that 'we are very excited about where the show would go.'" Make of that what you will. Most likely it means nothing, but it does remind you that it's very hard for a network to let a good idea go entirely. Sutherland has sworn that he'll never again play Jack Bauer... but spy fans know when to say "never again." (Sutherland made that definitive statement when he had another show, but Designated Survivor was just cancelled, so perhaps that will change things.) What I would love to see is for Bauer to return for another 12-episode season (which works so much better than the 24-episode format, which always sags in the middle) and team up with Corey Hawkins' next-gen CTU op from Legacy along with all the fan-favorite familiar faces (most essentially Chloe and Tony, the only original series cast member to show up on Legacy)... but each leaving their annoying family members behind. I just hope that Gordon, Fox, et. al. realize that 24's real contribution to the genre is not its real-time gimmick (which wore thin by Season 2, honestly), but the character of Jack Bauer, who belongs in the pantheon of the great spy heroes. Find a way to get Jack Bauer back in action, in whatever format Sutherland will agree to do!

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