Like most fans, when FOX announced its thrill-ride hit television show 24 was returning, I was ecstatic and anxious to see our favorite hero Jack Bauer back in action! Ever since the show ended its last season in 2010, there was speculation that it would make the jump to the big screen. However it never came to fruition. Instead, FOX has allowed a 12-episode special run that begins May 5, clearly cementing commitment to the groundbreaking real-time formatted show that changed the prime-time canvass upon its premiere in 2001.
Keifer Sutherland took a moment out of his busy schedule to chat with reporters about the new season via conference call. Sutherland told reporters that when he was approached about the story it only took about 15 seconds for him to agree to another season.
When the series ended in 2010, fans wondered if it would ever return, and he was always told they missed the show. The most asked question he’d get was whether it was now headed to the big screen after its long television run. Although he and the producers expressed to 20th Century Fox their desire to do a movie, it never happened; Sutherland really couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. He added, that he is still amazed at how well known 24 is around the world, and believes he knows the reason it has transcended language, culture, politics. “I think the show is hugely relatable. All of us feel a connection with Jack. Life is tricky and the fact he doesn’t always win makes him relatable.” Sutherland used the first season as an example, when, although Jack stopped the bad guys and saved the day, he lost his wife. “It’s that kind of a reality makes Jack Bauer highly relateable.”
This season, the show is condensed, compacting its usual 24 episodes down to 12. How did that impact the story? Sutherland explained that unlike previous seasons, the first episode begins with Jack immediately back in the action. He’s learned there is to be an assassination attempt on foreign soil, which could potentially lead to military action and war between the two countries. Although he’s been dodging capture by the U.S. as well as other foreign governments, Jack feels a responsibility to help, so decides to come out of hiding. The other factor in luring him out of hiding is his respect for President Heller (William DeVane) and, of course, his love, Heller’s daughter Audrey Raines (Kim Raver).
Sutherland admits to being very nervous prior to production, wondering how fans will react. “The most difficult for me was the six months leading up to shooting. I was dealing with nerves about opening this up again.” Ultimately he went into the shoot with his mind made up not be scared and to look at it as an opportunity.
In seasons past, other than 24 Redemption which was filmed in Cape Town, Africa, 24 has been mostly filmed in Los Angeles. However, this season takes place (and was filmed) in London. Sutherland feels the jump across the pond is well deserved since the show has always been very popular in the UK, immediately becoming the number one series with the very first episode. “If there was a place that deserved our attention, it was the UK. It was a hit out of the box in London, a huge success.” According to Sutherland, the network was on the fence about whether or not 24 would be picked up, and the UK was instrumental in making it happen thanks to their love for the show. “When I heard we were shooting in London, part of me felt it was very fitting.”
The character of Jack Bauer has gone through a lot, and with each season, another layer is added. How has Jack changed? Sutherland explains that Jack has a very strong moral compass; whether he’s right or wrong, he’ll do what he thinks is right to get the job done. “There are two things structurally different this season: Jack Bauer usually started working in line with the President or within an infrastructure. This season he’s not working within an infrastructure and the people he’s helping are hunting him.” Secondly, “On a character level Jack is harder and angrier than he’s ever been. He’s been estranged from daughter and grandchildren, not able to return to his own country. In addition there is a dramatically dynamic shift between Jack and Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub).”
What is it about 24 that keeps Sutherland interested in revisiting Jack Bauer? He explained, simply put, this genre he loves to watch. “That ticking clock really does matter, and makes you really nervous.” He added, it’s also the way the director shoots the show that makes it thrilling. “I find the dynamic of the show to be fascinating. For all those reasons, makes it really attractive to do.”
Of course, fans of 24 all know there’s always an adversary trying to thwart our hero at every turn. So who is the villain this season? Sutherland won’t give it up quite yet! “All I can tell you, is that it will surprise you, and it’s more than one person. It’s multi-layered.”
I have a feeling it might be an old adversary wanting some type of revenge. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all unfolds.
In closing, Sutherland said that he hopes that when it’s all over, 24‘s legacy is that it entertained, and 20 years from now it’s still watchable and relatable.
Personally, I’m sure 24 will continue to pull in new viewers and live much longer than all of us that were lucky enough to be here for the ride! Be sure to catch my series recap here on Blogcritics.
Don’t miss the big premiere of the return of 24 Monday at 8:00 p.m. on FOX![amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B0044E9JU0]