Fox cancelled 24 in summer 2010, but it was revived this year for twelve-part "event series" 24: Live Another Day. It was set in London (for real) and halved the episode order, which kept the storyline much tighter. They even included a twelve-hour "time jump" in the finale, to end the season with the kind of denouement usually denied to the show because of real-time constraints.
The ratings weren't amazing. 8 million watched the premiere (on par with what season 8 was getting four years ago), but most subsequent episodes attracted 5-6 million. However, the TV landscape's changed in the years 24's been off-air, and apparently the ratings swung upwards when you factor in DVR numbers. Therefore, Fox will likely enquire about the possibility of another adventure for Jack Bauer. But how can the show come back after the surprisingly strong 24LAD, and should it take the opportunity for an even bigger overhaul? Let's look at some ways 24 could return, featuring 24LAD spoilers...
Mission to Moscow!
- At the end of 24LAD, Jack was handed over to the Russians in exchange for sulky hacker Chloe, and he looks set to spend the rest of his days in a hellish Moscow prison. It would therefore make perfect sense to shift the action to Russia for a hypothetical Day 10, at least for awhile. Jack could escape half-way through and the use of another twelve-hour "time jump" could be useful getting him back to the U.S, too. Chloe would probably help spring Jack from jail, so I'm imagining a scenario not entirely dissimilar to the opening scene of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The chances of the crew being allowed to film around Moscow are practically zero, but most Eastern block countries would be a decent stand-in. They tend to have alluring tax breaks for filming, too. See you in Prague, Kiefer?
Return to La-La Land!
- This year's trip to the UK helped sell 24LAD's authenticity(far better than the production managed when L.A stood in for New York and Washington, D.C. on the old show), but Los Angeles is 24's spiritual home. In same way Vancouver was for The X Files. Narratively, we actually haven't been in Tinseltown since season 6, which was seven years ago, so wouldn't it be nice to go back to California? Or is that too much of a backwards step to only please purists?
Let someone else have a bad day!
- It may sound like sacrilege, but is there a chance the writers may kill Jack Bauer and pave the way for a new agent to take his place? As much as I love the character, he's been put through everything it's possible to go through after 13 years. (Two of his love-interests were killed in sniper-related incidents, for crying out loud. That's just preposterous.) If Jack was given a fitting death scene, might 24 secure its future by letting a replacement step in? Kiefer Sutherland isn't getting any younger. How about Kate Morgan from 24LAD? Or is Jack just so entwined with 24 that a change could never work? If so, that's a pity, because the format has proven itself surprisingly durable, and a part of me would love to see someone different deal with a day from Hell. Someone with a different family and circle of friends, who isn't the "Jack Bauer type" (in terms of gender, age, outlook on life, history, etc), and who hasn't been kneecapping terrorist for so long. It could be just the tonic.