24 revival

The clock keeps on ticking for 24, Fox’s real-time thriller series that refuses to die. After eight seasons, a revival season, and a reboot series, the show is coming back once more in a completely different form: a legal thriller about a female lawyer racing against the clock to unravel a conspiracy.

Deadline broke the news and it sounds like 24, an aging dinosaur from a very different era, is about to learn some modern tricks. Like American Horror Story, American Crime Story, True Detective, and Fargo, the show is looking to remake itself as an anthology series, with each season telling a new story and following a new cast of characters. Deadline reports that the first season of this new format “…centers on a female prosecutor who uncovers a legal conspiracy and has to work against the clock to save a death row inmate facing imminent execution whom she had helped prosecute but may be innocent.”

Debuting in 2001 and running for eight seasons, 24 told the story of government agent Jack Bauer, with each 24-episode season comprising one day in his life. Each episode took place over one hour in real time, with a clock frequently appearing on screen to help viewers keep track of the time. The set-up was ingenious and ludicrous in equal measure – each day felt logistically impossible, but that literal ticking clock ensured maximum tension.

24 eventually petered out, going from exciting (and frequently irresponsible!) must-see-TV to a bland rehash of itself. When the series returned for the limited series 24: Live Another Day in 2014, it felt like a show out of time, a relic screaming for attention and sometimes, on occasion, delivering that classic blend of lunacy, violence, and intensity that defined the best years of the show. The spin-off series 24: Legacy premiered earlier to year to muted responses – despite the new cast, it was more of the same.

And that’s what makes this news so intriguing! 24 didn’t get old because it was a show told in real time. It got old because Jack Bauer endlessly fighting terrorist threats for a decade grew monotonous. Despite its new leading man, 24: Legacy hit the exact same beats, offering nothing new. But that same format, with its relentless ticking clock, applied to a legal thriller? With no threats of nuclear bombs or anonymous terrorists? That’s intriguing. That’s refreshing. That’s interesting, which is not a word I’ve associated with 24 in some time.

Nothing is set in stone, but original 24 showrunner Howard Gordon is set to write the script with The Killing‘s Jeremy Doner. This is still a long way from being a reality, but if 24 must exist in 2017, this certainly seems like the way to do it. What do you think?

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