Whilst we are pretty spoilt for choice with the plethora of quality television shows available these days, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago television was thought to be a veritable graveyard for quality entertainment.
Before the days of the streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, US cable giants such as Showtime, HBO and Fox led the way on the small screen and one of the major turning points for the golden age of television that we now live in was Fox’s breakout hit 24.
First shown from 2001 to 2010, the show rejuvenated the career of Kiefer Sutherland as he took on the lead role of maverick Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. The story was told in real(ish) time to represent a day in the life of the agent’s involvement during a major terrorism incident, complete with the now famous countdown clock, sporadically popping up to add to the tension.
The show gained a massive following and even got its own TV movie spin off in 2008 with 24: Redemption which was set in the fictional African country of Sangala.
After a four year break the show returned with Bauer once again fighting against a terrorist threat, but this time moving location from America to London with the spin off series of 24: Live Another Day, that ran for only 13 episodes as apposed to the traditional 24. This was followed by a fresh take on the format with a new lead replacing Sutherland in the sequel series 24: Legacy that ran for one season in 2017.
It now appears that despite the cancellation of the last effort, that the show might not have run out of time just yet, with not one, but two new shows based on the same format said to be in development, Speaking to Indie Wire Original 24 executive producer Howard Gordon, confirmed that he is back in development with the original show’s producers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran and that the three of them are in the process of mapping out a new version of the show that he said would be “in the vein of the original series”. Gordon said the three of them are conscious of not being “the band that has outlived its welcome.”
“We’re very mindful of not doing it just to do it,” he said. “Just as a piece of business. I think we feel close enough to the show so that we are trying to find a way that makes it worth doing and not just to do it for the sake of doing it. And that’s challenging, but we’re definitely putting our heads together.”
He did however point out that the 13 episode format may be once again be utilised this time around;
“I think our attention span as a culture has gotten shorter. We’re competing with too many things. That was a moment in time that I don’t think will find its way back. ‘Real-time’ becomes the operative world.”
Much like 24: Legacy, Sutherland is once again not expected to appear in the new show, with a new lead character once again taking the centre stage. The other 24 spin off is said to take a different route with a show based around a legal case and a female lead in the role of a prosecutor who uncovers a legal conspiracy and has to work against the clock to save a death row inmate facing an imminent execution, the twist being that she had helped prosecute the individual only to then find out that they may actually be innocent.
Although it was Fox that suggested to Gordon that he reunite with Surnow and Cochran, he seems to be embracing the process of working once again with his old cohorts;
“We’re all still friends,” he said. “I see Joel socially and it came about through a casual conversation. It was prompted by Fox and they had some thoughts. And Joel and I started talking about it. One idea aroused our curiosities officially to have a second conversation. We’ve been taking a couple of runs at it. It’s still a process and it’s still in development. But it’s hard to say. We hope to get at something sooner rather than later, but it’s been humbling.”