'24' Is Getting Remade Into A Japanese TV Series

In a reversal of so many adaptations we see in Hollywood today, a popular U.S. show is getting the J-drama treatment. 24, the apex of post-9/11 TV created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, is being remade into a Japanese TV series.

Livedoor reports (via Kotaku) that TV Asahi is currently developing a Japanese remake of the Kiefer Sutherland series, which will retell the first season and adapt it to a new setting. The original series, which premiered in 2001, follows counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer through the unique framing device of real-time storytelling — each episode unfolds in real-time and covers a single hour in Jack Bauer's terrorism-filled day.

Here is the synopsis for the original 24:

Counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer fights the bad guys of the world, a day at a time. With each week's episode unfolding in real time, "24" covers a single day in the life of Bauer each season. Jack deals with assassination attempts, nuclear attacks, bioterrorism, torture, traitors, sleeper cells, other bad guys and the alarming tendency for his romances to end badly — very badly.

TV Asahi has reportedly been negotiating with 20th Century Fox for the rights to the series for two years, which has surprised the original creators and stars. The cast for the Japanese series has yet to be announced.

24 reportedly has developed a huge cult following in Japan, with fans rushing to video shops when it was released in Japan on DVD. It even received a parody from Japanese comedian Manabu Kishi, who used the real-time format to ramp up the tension at homeware store.

It's refreshing to see a U.S. series making its way across the Pacific, as opposed to the other way around — Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies and animes have had a scattered enough track record. It doesn't surprise me that the Japanese TV industry is looking to remake 24, it's got a brilliant conceit that's well-suited to the short runtimes of J-dramas, and the political premise can be easily molded to the country's culture and governmental organizations. There are a fair few crime procedural J-dramas that I could see being influenced by 24, like the 2007 series SP, which followed the missions of real life security police unit of Japan overseeing for domestic and foreign abuse.

The 24 remake is set for broadcast in 2020.