The clock ran out on the hit Fox television series 24 two years ago, but according to a May 13 announcement from Fox executives, it’s time to get things ticking again.
The counter-terrorism show, starring Kiefer Sutherland as special agent Jack Bauer, originally premiered in November 2001. America was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks and the “Zero Dark Thirty” raid was years away.
Millions of viewers tuned in weekly to watch Bauer race against an ever-ticking clock to save America from international and domestic terrorists, nuclear attacks, and corporate bad guys. Critics blasted the show for supporting torture as a means of interrogation and putting Muslims in a bad light, but American viewers loved it. They seemed glad to have a hero who would abolish evil regardless of personal cost or moral ambiguity.
The show began during George W. Bush’s presidency and ended in Barack Obama’s, always eerily mirroring current events. When Fox announced it would end the show in May 2010, with the possibility of making a 24 feature film, terrorism didn’t seem like a big deal any more. Osama Bin Laden was killed the following year, and in 2012, Obama administration announced the “War on Terror” was over.
Then came the Bengazi attack and the Boston Marathon bombings, and that fantasy slipped away. A Jack Bauer come-back seems very timely, especially for 24 fans, who let up a collective cheer Monday when Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly announced the show would air in 2014 as a limited series.
Slated to run as 24: Live Another Day, the show will continue its real-time pretense but will have 12 rather than 24 episodes.
“What they'll be able to do is go in chronological order of the day, but skip hours,” Reilly told reporters in a press call Monday.
Executive Producer Howard Gordon said in a statement that the new format is well-suited for Bauer’s character development: “This new and exciting event series format is perfect to tell the next chapter of his story and continue to reflect how the world is changing.”
What that means is yet to be seen, but Gordon promised fans, “the Jack they know and love will be back.”
Returning star Kiefer Sutherland agreed: “The story ideas from Howard Gordon are exciting and fresh, and will not disappoint. … Make no mistake, my goal is to knock your socks off,” he said in a statement.
Time will tell.