The Clock Is Ticking for ’24’…

| November 1, 2007

Warning: The following article contains spoilers on 24 and it would be smart to read without being completely caught up with the show. It also contains information on the season seven trailer, which can be found at
24 is one of the most original, innovative, and groundbreaking shows in television history. The action, plot twists, real-time setting, and characters all help make 24 arguably the most addicting show of all-time. They set the bar on what season finales should be. With all the accolades the show has won, to the enormous cult following, Jack Bauer has become a part of pop culture. Did you know that Jack Bauer got Helen Keller to talk?
But the show is now in its seventh season, and the burning question that remains is how much longer can this show last? Viewers know that 24 is one of Fox’s flagship shows, but this is the same company responsible for canceling Arrested Development, Family Guy, and running X-Files into the ground with far too many seasons. As innovative as the real-time setting is, there is only so much you can work with before each twist and turn has already been covered. While season five dominated the Emmy awards, earning the show best drama, season six was a big letdown, a first for this show (although the four-hour premiere was easily the best of the series).
Season six was plagued with rehashed storylines, twists we had either already seen or just went a bit too far. The story stretched into far too many directions without really cementing any angle or fully explaining them. The rehashed include threatening to replace the president (season two), assassination attempt (seasons one and two), office aid being manipulated by a spy (season one), alleged moles in CTU (too many seasons), and the attack on CTU (season two). (But seriously now, how the hell did they get into CTU by going through the sewers?)
You can’t pull off a stunt like this more than once on 24 and still stay on top as television’s most exciting show. After a down year, the pressure is on the writers to bring the show back to high bar that it has set for itself. So what does Fox do for season seven? It announces a zany twist publicly to bring back the beloved Tony Almeida, a character that was killed by Christopher Henderson in season five. It wasn’t like Tony was shot then crawled off screen never to be seen again. He was stabbed with an overdose of a truth serum and then it rolled off in what it appeared to be a body bag on a stretcher. The only odd thing about the sequence of events that Tony was never given the silent ticking clock, which led some fans to believe Tony may still somehow be alive. But people, come on now, he was in a frickin’ body bag!
There is no way that Almeida could have been working with Christopher Henderson, as Henderson was responsible for trying to kill him, and murdering his wife and David Palmer. So how is Tony alive? He had the man responsible for all these crimes at his grasp, so playing the angle “I wanted people to think I was dead” is garbage. I have no idea how the writers are going to pull this off.
And why would Fox release such a huge twist before the season has even started? It is probably because they wanted to lure back fans it lost from a subpar season six. Many 24 fans are die-hard, even a big part of me wants to see Tony back on the show. But he was killed off, and it is ridiculous to bring him back. But I’ll go with it. Like any show, there are a few flaws and 24 has seen its share. They include the ridiculous baby subplot of season three, Kim Bauer and the cougar, and etc. But like I said before, I’ll go with it.
A few weeks ago, I had a lengthy conversation with fellow writer Clint Fletcher on whether bringing Tony back from the dead was great or disastrous. He hinted loosely at the possibility that they announced such a twist publicly because they were saving part two of the twist for last, which would make Tony a villain. I didn’t buy this at all, but admitted they could possibly make room to do it since they brought him back from the grave. We both agreed and hoped that this would never happen.
Well, on Thursday at 1 PM EST, the 24 trailer for season seven was released on, and if you don’t want to know anymore about season seven, I would stop reading right now, as the following few paragraphs contain some major plot points derived from the trailer.
The trailer shows Tony Almeida back, but as a villain. What the #@$((#!!!!!!! After everything Jack has done for Tony, and everything Tony has done for his country, he decides to become a terrorist? Come on, now! The season’s plot looks like it was taken from Live Free or Die Hard, in which terrorists try to shut down the infrastructure of the United States. So not only is this setting unoriginal, the writers want us to buy bringing Tony back from the dead, and becoming a villain? The last time Tony took on Jack he received a busted ankle (see below in season two, episode 16) This is just ridiculous. Sure, I am excited to see Tony back, but fighting against Jack? Come on, Jack is like 3403-0 against bad guys.
And when did Tony decide to become a bad guy? After he somehow survived being injected with an overdose of chemicals? I really would love to see this storyline work, as 24 is an incredible show. But the odds against the writers are quite high. Explaining Tony’s miraculous survival, and sudden reemergence as a terrorist may suggest the show has jumped the shark. I really hope season seven rocks and I am totally wrong about all this.
Will I be watching season seven when it premieres January 13? You bet your ass I will. But the ingredients for disaster are well in the making. Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow need to end the show before it runs itself into the ground and becomes a joke. Even if season seven sucks total ass, Keifer Sutherland’s contract doesn’t expire until after season eight. The great shows know when it is time to call it a day. LOST has already announced season six will be its last. Seinfeld, The Sopranos, and The Shield (last season is next year) all bowed out at the top of their game. As much as everyone loves 24, no one wants to see it become one of those shows where people ask, “Why is that show still on the air?” There are only so many terrorists you can torture, and twists you can weave in a real time format. The clock is ticking for 24, and hopefully it knows when it should say goodbye.

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