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'24' will return for 12 episodes

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  May 13, 2013 10:55 AM

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    On the eve of the return of "Arrested Development," not long after "Veronica Mars" got enough funding on Kickstarter to return as a movie, Fox has announced another return from the dead.
    Next May, the network will air "24: Live Another Day," a 12-episode series that will star Kiefer Sutherland, whose current series, "Touch," was just canceled. The episodes will not take place in real time, according to Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly. The season "will still be one full day," Reilly said this morning, "but the spine of the story always was about 12 hours. So we'll skip some hours and focus on the action."
    "24" left the air in 2010, after eight seasons. Initially the producers were talking about following up the TV show with a "24" movie, but, as Reilly explained, "they all agreed that '24' compressed into two hours is not '24.'" 
    In a statement, Sutherland expressed his excitement: β€œThe response to β€˜24’ is unlike anything I have ever experienced as an actor before. To have the chance to reunite with the character, Jack Bauer, is like finding a lost friend. ... Make no mistake, my goal is to knock your socks off.”
    Let me be the first to say ugh to all of this. I'd rather keep my socks on.
    Sorry die-hard "24" fans, but a reboot of "24" sounds just awful. "24" left the air long after it had lost its charm, long after it had become a parody of itself. By the end of eight seasons, Jack Bauer had saved the world far too many times to conjure up any suspense or emotional resonance. He was just going through the motions again and again, a live-action cartoon on a behavioral loop. 
    The dramatic ante of the show got upped and upped until it was all meaningless. Every episode had to have a major game-changing blockbuster twist -- another mole, for example, or a no-longer-dead character. It got tedious, as did Jack's glum nobility. When "24" premiered in 2001, shortly after 9/11, viewers rooted for Bauer's at-any-cost approach to protecting America. But by the mid-2000s, his bluster became harder to enjoy.
    I'm always wary of revisiting old shows. It rarely works. We end up with the walking dead. But at least "Arrested Development" left while it was creatively strong. Maybe, just maybe, the 15 episodes coming to Netflix on May 26 will have some fresh twists, and not just be a collection of in-jokes from the series' past. Maybe it will be an exception to the rule. But "24" was already drained of inspiration. It was over. Let it be.

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