Sunday, April 20, 2014

“Jack is Back”: 24 Returns on Fox

By Lauren Higgins

It has been four years since Fox’s hit show 24 ended its eight-year run on the network. Since then, rumors swirled that a movie based on the show was in the works and set to hit theaters in September 2013. Due to scheduling conflicts and disagreements with Fox, the movie never happened, leaving hopeful fans in disappointment. In May 2013, Fox surprised the nation and announced that 24 would be coming back to the network as a limited series entitled 24: Live Another Day, and would air the following year. Social media sites exploded with the news of the show’s return. After news that the movie was not happening, many fans were doubtful that the TV series was actually coming back on air.

24 first premiered in 2001, and people became immediately hooked following federal agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, experiencing “the longest day of his life.”  The show focused on Bauer along with his team at Los Angeles’s Counter Terrorist Unit, (CTU) and their efforts to protect the nation against terrorist plots. The show takes place over a 24-hour period, hence the name, with each episode occurring during one hour of the day. This premise of events occurring in real time was never done in television before, which made it so intriguing to viewers. Throughout the course of Season One, people were on the edge of their seats as they watched Bauer race against the clock to save a presidential candidate from assassination while trying to protect his family from danger. After the positive feedback from season one, Fox renewed 24 for another season.

Despite the writers' strike in 2007, 24 was fortunate to stay on the air for several seasons after its premiere. Critically acclaimed as one of the best shows on television, it was no surprise that 24 lasted as long as it did. After winning several Emmys and Golden Globe awards, the show’s success led to several paperbacks and a magazine. People were also able to purchase DVD box sets of every season months after each finale. This led to what we know today as “binge-watching,” a term used for people who watch hours of a program in one sitting, so that fans could relive their favorite seasons over and over again. Netflix, the popular movie and television streaming website, also offers its users all eight seasons, which has led to many newcomers watching the series, expanding the show’s fan base more than ever.       

According to Entertainment Weekly, “Nothing can stop Jack Bauer –not even cancellation!” The show was ultimately cancelled due to a significant drop in the show’s ratings. When Fox announced the reboot last year, people were skeptical whether or not the show would be the same. Live Another Day will follow the original idea of a 24-hour period; however, the season will only have twelve episodes in total. Executive producer Manny Coto notes, “We want to make this one a great new chapter in Jack Bauer’s life, and who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another season.”

Production of 24: Live Another Day began earlier this year in London, England. The show plans to bring back memorable characters including quirky computer genius and loyal friend of Jack, Chloe O’Brian, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub. Fans are optimistic that some of their other favorite characters from previous seasons will also make a comeback, despite some of the new faces set to appear including Benjamin Bratt and Tate Donovan. Once word spread stating that a first look at the show will be featured during this years Super Bowl, fans were eager to tune in. Social media blew up over the 45-second commercial showing Jack and Chloe running from a car explosion with the famous “ticking clock” heard in the background. Although the commercial was a teaser, we can tell that not much has changed since we last saw Jack Bauer.

From preventing assassinations to stopping nuclear bombs, 24 has done it all. Keeping fans glued to the television screen and leaving them in suspense each episode, 24 has forever made television history. No matter the outcome of Live Another Day, Jack is back, and it is clear that the series will forever be known as one of television’s greatest accomplishments.

The new installment of 24 will premiere on Monday, May 5 at 8 pm.

For more information:
Rice, Lynette. "Start the Clock." Entertainment Weekly 11 Apr. 2014: 16-25. Print.

Lauren Higgins is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College studying Communication Arts and is planning to minor in Journalism. After securing an internship with NBC last summer, she hopes to intern again during her senior year. Lauren aspires to a career in television production after graduation.

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