Life in the Slow Lane

November 20, 2008

Fox snubs would-be ’24’ writer

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 2:58 pm

In working on my preview of the “24: Redemption” movie to air at 8 p.m. Nov. 23, I contacted Fox network PR officials several times to obtain an advance review copy of the film, and/or land an interview with someone involved with the show.
Much to my dismay, I heard nothing.
Granted, I don’t work at the New York Times. But one would think any ink is good ink, and that it’d be in their best interests to honor my request. Thumbs down to them.
I got the same treatment when we did a story about “The Simpsons” starting its 20th season, as literally dozens of phone calls and e-mails went unanswered. If the answer’s no, that stinks but I can accept that. Just tell me.
I am a fan of “24,” and its return after an 18-month hiatus, so I still wrote about it (much tougher to do without having seen the show or talked to a star such as Kiefer Sutherland). Is its return as anticipated as I suspect it might be? Share your thoughts.
Here is the story I wrote for the Nov. 20 Night & Day on “24.”
After an 18-month break, Jack Bauer will finally resume busting heads this weekend with a movie that will act as a lead-in to the return of the “24” series.
Fox will air “24: Redemption” on Sunday night, a two-hour real-time film that bridges the gap — the very wide gap — between seasons six and seven of the crime thriller drama.
Starring and produced by Kiefer Sutherland, “24” did not air in 2008 due to the writers strike, which would have forced the series out of its preferred non-stop winter-to-spring format on the air.
While the series will resume in January, “Redemption” will give fans a brief taste of what they’ve missed since May 2007. Set three years after the end of season six, the film sees Bauer living under the radar at an orphanage in the fictional African country of Sangala, while in America the nation is preparing for its first female commander-in-chief, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), to take office.
While Bauer deals with the political unrest in his temporary home, he is summoned by the U.S. government to answer to charges of torturing prisoners while working as an agent in the fictional Counter-Terrorism Unit. Action shifts between Africa and the United States, as Bauer once again can’t avoid trouble finding him.
“We’re excited about the prequel because it explores Jack’s complex emotional state of mind and still has all the signature excitement and suspense that fans have come to expect from ‘24,’ ” executive producer Howard Gordon said in a release.
The movie sets the stage for season seven, which begins a few months after the events of “Redemption.” Season seven starts with Bauer on trial for torture, with a quick twist introduced with the return of former CTU agent Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), who was presumed dead in season five. President Taylor, meanwhile, encounters her first national security crisis, with plenty of internal strife and chicanery once again in order.
Most of the cast is new this year, with Jon Voight, Janeane Garofalo and Gil Bellows among the additions; two holdovers are Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O’Brian and James Morrison as Bill Buchanan. The setting is also new in 2009, as the action will mainly take place in Washington, D.C., instead of Los Angeles.
No matter the changes, though, fans are anxious to see “24” return. An AOL poll conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 13 found that 28 percent of more than 600,000 voters tabbed “24” as the most-anticipated series returning midseason, which put it No. 1 ahead of “American Idol” (23 percent) and “Lost” (19 percent).
And 2007 was the first year in which “24” saw its viewership decline, albeit slightly. Nielsen reported an average 13 million weekly “24” viewers in 2007, down from 13.78 million in 2006 but up from 8.6 million when the series debuted in 2002; formerly a year-long show, “24” has aired in its non-stop format since 2005 and will do so again this year.
Extended layoffs didn’t do much to diminish interest in “The Sopranos” earlier this decade, and network officials hope that holds true for “24.”
“This is a legacy show, a cornerstone show for the network,” Fox chairman Peter Liguori told USA Today. “Getting ‘24’ back as relevant as possible is critical to the launch of the show.”


1 Comment »

  1. […] with the previous six — some of which have not been so good. Here they are, in reverse order. And here is the story I wrote for Night & Day to advance this latest […]

    Pingback by Is season seven of ‘24′ the best ever? « Life in the Slow Lane — May 13, 2009 @ 10:58 am | Reply

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