24: ‘Live Another Day’ – Hopes, Thoughts & Possibilities

It was recently announced that 24 will return next year with a 12 episode miniseries titled ’24: Live Another Day’, the below is an article first published on my other site 24fans.com which explores the possibilities for the new series.

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Hello 24 fans, long time no talk. Well i’ve posted the odd drip of movie non-news. But now, their is stuff to discuss! So I thought i’d bring my thoughts on the recently announced ’24: Live Another Day’.

So the first question is, are we happy that we’re getting more TV rather than the much talked about movie? Obviously they couldn’t make the the movie work financially or creatively, so probably best that it didn’t move forward than we get some compromised version it. But the draw of the movie was the hope it might kick start the creativity and see 24 regain the freshness and unique viewpoint which made it such a game changing show in the first place. For me the show had run it course, if it was ever going to see new life it needed a new angle, a movie seemed the most obvious way, but perhaps the new format will achieve the same end result. Especially when coupled with the break from the show the writers have had, and the ongoing process of pitching.

If the shows return is to be a creative triumph they’ll need to sweep away all the conventions that accumulated over the years and made the show feel so formulaic in it’s last two years especially. Which means how they handle returning characters will be key as that was the mother of all 24 tropes, so often used as a cheap cliffhanger. They’d be much better establishing a strong ensemble cast early (new and returning characters) and then go from there.

I’ve argued at length that series 7 should have been the end of Jack’s journey, but clearly that wish wasn’t fulfilled, so the next best thing will be to have Jack’s main plot to be an engaging development of the character which takes in a new direction. If it’s a rehash of previous chapters in his saga i’ll be quite disappointed.

Plot-wise, a friend suggested they should be a prequel and give us the events of Operation Nightfall, which would be interesting. However I don’t see them doing that as prequels have too many drawbacks, and Nightfall is a very niche thing, only meaning something to the hardcore Day One fans, who might be upset if they changed established details. To many pitfalls with not enough potential rewards.

Setting. Hope CTU is nowhere to be seen, it’s not what made the show great, interesting characters in intense situations in a unique format made the show great.

Format-wise, Skipped hours offers an interesting twist on the format, and can hopefully be used for maximum effect. It has some intriguing possibilities, the writers now have the gift of jack having secrets from the audience because for the first time we don’t know his hour to hour movements. In the middle of an investigation Jack can disappear for 2 hours, the boss can say “where the fuck have you been?” and we don’t know. Instant tension. Or imagine some poor sod just starts getting questioned at the end of an hour, next episode has skipped an hour and jack comes out saying he’s got the information, and all you know is that poor sods spent a full hour with jack. We don’t know the gory details, we can imagine them, and the story continues instead of that interview 5 minutes to get it out the way or 60 minutes to padd out an hour of TV.

I’ll be posting more on the possibilities for ‘Live Another Day’ in the coming months, but i’ll leave it here for now with one simply request to the TV gods. Midnight to Midnight please.

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