"Hurt" by Criticism, 24 Boss Plans to "Reinvent" Show

Story I got from Digg: “It hurts to hear the criticism,” said executive producer and writer Howard Gordon, “But it’s reinvigorated our determination to reinvent the show. This year could be seen to be the last iteration of it in its current state.”

read more | digg story

Update: I meant to write about this when I posted it, but school and work got in the way.

I thought this was an interesting story, especially given my feelings about how 24 is doing this season. I fell in love with 24 almost 2 years ago, and caught up with seasons 1-4 in a matter of weeks. Throughout season 5, I hosted 24 night at my house, where a group of us gathered weekly and watched 24. We loved the show and we loved Jack Bauer. It was an awesome event, we even had a little mini-party for the season finale. It was great!

Season 6 is coming and going, and it really hasn’t lived up to it’s reputation from the last five seasons. The first four episodes were awesome, but afterwards it became a conglomerate of the same recycled plot lines and soap operas. Would it kill the show to not have a presidential struggle, or do a back-ground check on their VP candidates? The show hit a ultimate low a few weeks back when it resolved the ongoing crisis and introduced a completely unrelated plot. It’s almost literally as if the writers ran out of ideas and just picked some crap off the cutting room floor and stuck it in an episode.

The soap opera moments have been atrocious as well. We have a 24 Drinking Game that we play, and one of the drinking moments is when something “soap opera-ish” occurs. We finished our drinks in the first half of last week’s episode because of that stupid item – what gives? It was almost as if we were at Desperate Housewives night.

It pains me to say this, but 24 has become irrelevant – and I’m not sure what’s going to bring the show back. In the story I referenced the producers talk about “drastic changes” to next season to resurrect the show. I’m not going to hold my breath right now, especially as they’ve pissed away virtually every good plot-line they had: Jack escaping from the Chinese, the Bluetooth guys from last season pulling the President’s strings, Jack’s dad, the “reaction to an attack” angle – all of it was gone thanks to dull writing.

I’m not sure if they’re going to be able to bring the show back. I used to play my night around watching 24, and at this point I’m lucky to catch the new episode this week. We’ve even considered rescinding the “24 Night” declaration on the evening and calling it “Heroes Night”. Heroes is mopping up the floor with 24, directly stealing from 24’s target audience. One can’t blame 24 for being good, they had their chance when NBC decided to put all of their shows on winter vacation in February-April. 24 could have brought it’s audience back, now they’ll just be lucky if they don’t lose them forever.

How do they fix this show? I don’t know if there is a magic formula, but there are a few things I could think of:

  • Get the show out of Los Angeles – move it overseas for a season. It would be cool to see CTU conducting a mission in Europe or Russia.
  • Stop the Presidential drama and instill a strong president – David Haller was a really popular choice. Wayne Palmer had potential in the beginning of the season, but at this point he only reminds us just how much we miss David.
  • Go back in time – This way they could bring back some of the popular characters that made the show what it is. Chloe can only do so much, and the other characters seems hallow and whiney
  • Stop the Soap Operas – The show’s supposed to take place over one day, is it too much to ask that people don’t hook up and break up in the matter of a few hours? and finally…
  • REMEMBER THE SEASON TAKES PLACE OVER 1 DAY: The first season made this concept magical. The second season did a decent job of staying true to form, but over the last few seasons the concept of 24 episodes = 24 hours has deviated far too much. There have always been little continuity problems, but all of that went out the window this season. All too often car trips across town take 3 minutes, people recover from injuries in 10 minutes and things that were crucially important 2 hours ago are all but forgotten. 24 can’t be 24 without being in real-time, and make it believable!

I’m going to keep turning in. Maybe not live, maybe not with a large group of friends, but I’m not ready to completely abandon the show yet. However, season 6 has made it hard to hold on.