Wednesday, May 15, 2013

One More Day


24 5-15-13

Yesterday, there was a bright spot on the television landscape.  FOX network has announced that Jack Bauer will return.  Yes, you read that right.  Kiefer Sutherland has signed on for another outing in the action drama, 24.  (Now that his new show, Touch, has been cancelled, what does he have better to do?)

If you aren’t familiar with the show, let me start by telling you that you really missed out—especially that first season, when everything was new and exciting.  But, to provide just a little bit more background, 24 starred Sutherland as a government agent working for CTU—Counter Terrorism Unit.  As you might have guessed by the agency name, that meant he spent a lot of time chasing after terrorists, and a lot of time saving America.  But the really cool part about 24—aside from Sutherland himself, of course, because he is really cool—was the “real time” approach it took to story telling.  Each season represented a single day in the life of Jack Bauer and those around him, twenty-four solid hours of derring-do, thus the name of the show.  Each season was twenty-four episodes, with each one hour episode representing one hour in the traumatic day Jack was facing.  There was a clock counting down at the start and end of each segment, and it even accounted for commercial breaks, so the show always ended at the top of the hour.  It was really pretty awesome.

The show ran for eight seasons, from 2001-2010, and like a lot of shows, the earlier days were certainly the better days.  However, even at the end of season eight, our household was still watching, and still wishing Jack was coming back for another day of adventure.  Even before the final season had aired, there was talk that once the show was done, there would be a follow-up feature film, and those rumors have floated around in the years since.  And while I would gladly be there if this particular adventure ever made its way to the big screen, the thing I always wondered about was how they would keep it from being just another action-adventure movie.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I love a good action-adventure movie as much as the next person, but the thing that set 24 apart was its format; the way it was presented helped build the suspense and intrigue, and kept you glued to the edge of your seat.  That damn ticking clock could really get to you.

In fact, this format question is the only thing that brings me a bit of trepidation about the new announcement.  You see, 24 is not returning full-time, but rather as a “limited series”; word is that it’s slated to have twelve episodes.  Now, that’s certainly not as big a difference as trying to cram an entire day into a single two hour movie, but it’s still cutting the screen time in half, and it’s still means each episode has to cover two hours of the day instead of just one.  Sure, they can set that on-screen countdown clock to say whatever they want, but, again, the format is a big part of why this show worked, and I think I’m going to miss the real-time factor.

Still, that little worry isn’t enough to dampen my enthusiasm about the return of Jack Bauer.  In fact, if I could set my DVR to record twelve months in advance, the thing would already be set.  Yep, twelve months—the new season is not set to air until May of 2014.   I might have to get my own countdown clock going.  

Tube Day Tuesday digitalart






Image courtesy of digitalart at