Events occur in real time.
Through the first decade of the twenty first century we heard that 195 times. Over the course of nine years and eight seasons of the real time thriller we witnessed Jack Bauer foil a political assassination, stop a nuclear bomb from being detonated in Los Angeles, prevent the outbreak of a deadly virus, prevent one hundred nuclear power stations from melting down, stop a corrupt President, stop five suitcase nukes from being detonated, prevent a private military company from seizing control of the presidency with the use of a biological agent and save the life of a Middle Eastern President preventing the collapse of the most important peace talks the world have seen. So what finally bested the one man military force and when can we expect to see him again?
In 2008 after a weaker than normal Day Six, a writers strike and the dozen upon dozen of rewrites to finally get Day Seven in some sort of order it was announced the 24 was going to neutralise a real life enemy, climate change. Within two years of this announcement with production costs rising, their commitment to being carbon neutral and the network ratings down from the peak of Day Five, Fox managed what no other could they stopped Jack Bauer. There was talk of the show being sold to another network, HBO though favourites for many fans would have been immediately out of the running as the production costs per episode of 24 were far greater than anything they had. NBC seemed extremely keen, they had just saw their crown jewel Heroes fall apart due to the writers strike two years earlier and never recover but Fox's estimation of what 24 and Jack Bauer were worth compared to the number of seasons the show arguably had left in it meant the NBC were effectively priced out of the market. The end was in sight for all on board the real time thriller that re-invented and re-invigorated television in a way not thought possible previously.
Since Day Two when Jack Bauer came in from the cold, reluctantly stepped back into the breach after the death of his wife Teri and went about doing what he does best they have been talking of 'The Movie'. Put on hold until the end of Day Three to allow the makers of the show to concentrate on writing themselves out of trouble week in week out and then taking a back seat to the Playstation 2 game it looked more likely that we would see the film somewhere between seasons as, understandably, anytime they came up with a cool and interesting storyline they ended up sacrificing its film dream in order to keep the adrenaline pumping in the show. By Day Five it was apparent the we were more likely than not going to have to wait for Bauer to finish up on the small screen before gracing the multiplexes, a pay off most fans were happy with and by the time came to the stumbling Day Six and the multiple false dawns that were the beginning of Day Seven the thought of 24 : The Movie was too remote to contemplate. Most of us would be happy enough with the season actually being delivered and back to the standard of the Emmy award winning Day Five.
Where the writers strike played havoc with all other shows, Heroes, Lost, Supernatural and Prison Break all suffering weak seasons it was the saving grace of time that 24 needed. In being able to rework the season it meant that Day Seven was moulded into a brilliant season opener that continued for twenty four episodes but it almost meant that fans were treated to a taste of things to come. With an aborted plan of splitting the "long day" of season seven into two half days, twelve hours in Africa followed by plane journey and twelve hours in Washington D.C, it meant that the writers had a pre-built stand alone narrative and when Fox came calling for something to keep the fans interested until January 2009 Jack Bauer was called into action in 24 : Redemption. The feature length stand alone episode gave us a much needed fix of Mr. Bauer but also an insight into one possible direction that any 24 film may take.
We now sit in April, the first April since the year 2000 where there hasn't either been a season of 24 playing or one en route. With the show finally finished now is the time for the film right? Billy Ray (writer of State of Play) submitted his script for the feature film but with this taking place before Day Eight had finished there was always a chance that Howard Gordon and co would end up writing themselves into a corner before having to take it a completely different direction in order to nip out and keep the clock ticketing for twenty four episodes. To their credit they always stated that they loved his script but they would write the show to suit the show and not the potential script. In the end Jack Bauer fled in a different direction to Billy Ray's screenplay leaving him in the position of needing to rewrite it. The fans would have to wait a little longer. Longer still when Fox announced they had rejected the rewritten Billy Ray script and that the 24 film was going into hiatus. This is a joke right? How can they manage to make two unbelievably woeful Sex and the City films but the 24 team are stuck in pre-pre-production hell?
Kiefer Sutherland has stated that the film will be happening but with Howard Gordon unaware of any information it seemed more out of hope than any concrete information that could be delivered to calm the now anxious fans. More good news would follow with confirmation that Tony Scott was interested in the project. As a fan of the show I'd like to see either Jon Cassar (the main director for six years) or Stephen Hopkins (director of the pilot and majority of season one) take the helm for the big screen but that's purely out of sentiment and all that Hallmark nonsense that we're subjected to. In actuality Hopkins has had little association since 2001 and Cassar is off with other projects and had left the show at the end of Day Seven. The truth is if the director of Man on Fire wants to come on board and show the world that anything John Creasy can do Jack Bauer can do better is alright with me...and I dare say more fans of the show. It's been stated, and would make absolute sense after the ending of the series, that the film would somewhere between Die Hard and The Fugitive seeing Jack Bauer take on a new threat with the United States and Russian governments hot on his heels for his actions in New York city. Now apparently there's confirmation, from Brian Grazer (Executive Producer) via Twitter that 24 will be with us in 2012, that produciton (not writing or discussion but actual production) will begin in January 2012 with Kiefer confirming that it will be on screen by the end of the year. Thinking Christmas '12 might be worth pencilling on my calendar.
The biggest question surrounding the film is not necessarily what it's about. It's Jack Bauer after all, there's only many things it can be about and a gentle remake of Robert Rossellini's The Night is not one of them...things are going to explode. The biggest question is what kind of 24 universe will we be treated to? Redemption was very much Jack's story; with the exception of Powers Booth (departing President Noah Daniels) and Peter MacNicol (Tom Lennox) there was no other recognisable face from the land of 24. No Chloe O'Brien, no Tony Almeida, not even a Bill Buchanan. The biggest problems with some of the seasons of 24 was it's over reliance in existing characters, the constant return of characters that have naturally been written out of the show only to return half way through the following season when it appears that the show is losing direction and focus. On some occasions it was truly inspiring. The return of Mike Novak was a work of brilliance from Gordon and co as it led to his wonderful working relationship with President Logan and Martha in Day Five but in others, like the return of Mandy or Milo Pressman for instance lends nothing to the narrative. The reason why Redemption worked as well as it did with such a limited amount of time to establish characters and tell it's story is because it took Bauer, the audience and the narrative out of the comfort zone of the 24 universe. I'm not saying that there should be no Chloe, we all love Chloe and her relationship with Jack is one of the best things to happen to the show and when looking back at her debut in Day Three is a wonderful surprise but it needs to be for the right reasons. The return of Tony Almeida, not just to the show but from the dead, in Day Seven led to an interesting and extremely enjoyable season and had plenty of moments when you question motive but ultimately was somewhat fruitless as he and the storyline set up in the final moments of Day Seven was completely discarded.
It seems appropriate that in the 24 universe where there has never been enough time we now have nothing but time but if it means that they make something that is as good as twenty four episodes distilled into a two hour feature film then it's worth the wait. I spent my twenties watching 24 and if they do it right could be spending my thirties enjoying the exploits of Jack Bauer on the silver screen.
The season's main plot revolves around an assassination attempt on Maryland Senator David Palmer, a candidate for the presidential nomination, on the day of the California primary. The central character is Jack Bauer, a former Delta Force operator who is the Director of the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) in Los Angeles. Bauer becomes professionally as well as personally involved when his wife Teriand daughter Kim are kidnapped by the people behind the assassination plot.
Season Two is set 18 months after Season One. The season's main plot follows the work of now-President David Palmer and agentJack Bauer to stop terrorists from detonating a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. Introduced into the situation is Kate Warner, a woman who ends up getting vital information related to CTU's mission.
Day 3 sees CTU deal with a deadly virus threat that would be released in Los Angeles. We again see the return of Jack’s nemesis Nina Myers just as he is trying to overcome a heroin addiction after his undercover operation with Ramon and Hector Salazar, as others feel he still has not gotten over the death of wife Teri at the end of the first season. Jack has a new protege in tow, Chase Edmunds, but things take a turn for the worst when it is revealed Chase is seeing his daughter Kim, and it causes tension among the three of them.
Season Four is set 18 months after Season Three. Jack is now working for Secretary of Defense James Heller after being fired by CTUdue to his heroin addiction. As the day begins, he gets caught up in an elaborate terrorist plot which involves both men and the daughter of Heller, Audrey Raines, who doubles as her father's chief policy assistant and Jack's lover. Jack is reinstated as CTU Director of Field Operations by Erin Driscoll, the Chief Director of CTU and the woman who fired him, who may have realized it was a mistake to remove him in the first place.
Season Five is set 18 months after Season Four.
After the events in Season Four, Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer is now working as a day-to-day laborer at an oil refinery under the alias "Frank Flynn" in Mojave, California. Jack is renting a room north of Los Angeles from Diane Huxley, a single mother, and her 15-year-old son Derek.
Season Five is supposed to be a monumental day in Charles Logan's presidency. He is scheduled to sign an anti-terrorism alliance treaty with Russian President Yuri Suvarov at his retreat in Hidden Valley, California. This is believed to be the motive behind most of the day's events, as the Russian-separatist terrorists (presumably Chechen, although this is never stated explicitly) who carry out the day's attacks believe the treaty will increase the suffering of their people.
Season Six is set 20 months after Season Five. Show designers acknowledge that they avoid the use of dates in order to have the show remain in a "perpetual now."
After the events in Season Five and over the last 11 weeks before Day 6, the United States has been targeted coast-to-coast in a series of suicide bombings. A man named Abu Fayed agrees to give the U.S. the location of Hamri Al-Assad, the supposed terrorist mastermind of these attacks, in exchange for former CTU Agent Jack Bauer with whom he has a personal grudge. As a result, President Wayne Palmer has negotiated the release of Bauer, who was illegally captured by Chinese Government Agents at the end of Day 5, under "high-price" terms.
On they day of the Presidential Inauguration, Jack Bauer finds himself in the midst of a bloody uprising in the small African nation of Sangala. He must risk his life to transport a group or orphans to the American Embassy and sacrifice his own freedom to ensure that they are evacuated out of the country and make it safely to America.
Following up on the harrowing events of the feature-length movie REDEMPTION, 24's full-throttle seventh series once again hurtles viewers back into the breathless pace of the programme proper, with all the fast-paced verve fans have come to expect from FOX's blockbuster action franchise. Federal Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) returns from working alongside old friend Carl Benton at an underprivileged boys' school in war-ravaged Sangala, Africa, where he was forced to spring back into action after a heinous warlord kidnapped schoolchildren to be recruited as soldiers for a planned coup. Back in the States, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) has been inaugurated as the country's first female president, which puts her family in danger. Soon after returning, Jack discovers that the terrorists who have breached the government's computer database infrastructure may be the same ones behind the Sangala incident.
Set in New York City, "Day Eight" unfolds amidst the shadows of the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations as President Allison Taylor (Jones), alongside new chief of staff Rob Weiss (Chris Diamantopoulos), negotiates international security with Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), a determined Middle Eastern leader visiting the U.S. on a peacemaking mission. As the new day begins, an upgraded CTU operates under the command of M.B.A.-schooled, razor-sharp head honcho Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson), who supervises quirky Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), expert data analyst Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) and systems analyst Arlo Glass (John Boyd).