This Sunday, Fox’s 24 will be returning with the first two hours of its now traditional four hour, two evening premiere. The seventh season of the series has already been nearly completed, as it was originally supposed to air last Winter, but production was disrupted by the writer’s strike. Rather than risk being unable to finish a 24 hour season, they chose to hold off the premiere until 2008.
We are all hoping for a rebirth of sorts for the series, especially after the very disappointing Season 6. It had several problems, not the least which a serious flare for the strongly melodramatic. Don’t get me wrong, 24 is a melodrama; one should expect it. But with the first half being the Jack Bauer family reunion, and the second half focusing around a traditional “damsel in distress” plot with Audrey suddenly resurfacing, there were no compelling things going on, and therefore, it was quite difficult to care. James Cromwell was wasted in the series as Jack’s father. Other unusual character choices were made, such as the sudden and unfitting death of Curtis. 24‘s flare for the unpredictable had ended up as predictable, with the most unpredictable direction predictably being the direction that was chosen. It was truly a dark year for the series, which was just coming off a highly successful Season 5.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being too angry here; 24′s first two seasons rank among the best I have ever seen, and I want nothing but success for the series. What we have seen of Season 7 so far could go either way. First off, Tony Almeida is alive? And evil? They’d better have a good explanation for this one. Tony sure seemed pretty dead to me the last time we saw him. While many fans were upset with his death, it seemed as though people had finally adjusted. if this isn’t handled properly, it could be heavily damaging. Then there was the prequel story, 24: Redemption which aired last November. Redemption was nothing more than average fair, but it appeared to be at least a step above the dismal Season 6 fare. The drama was sharper, and more effort was clearly being put into it. Unfortunately, the most fantastic part of Redemption was Robert Carlyle, who will not be a part of Season 7 (for obvious reasons; he exploded.) I was fascinated by Cherry Jones and Cole Hauser’s new parts in the series. 24 had a good tradition of interesting presidential characters from David Palmer to Charles Logan, but the last few have been subpar, and we the audience are looking for Cherry Jones as a return to form. Having Jon Voight as part of the series will also be interesting to follow.
Returning for Season 7 are Kiefer Sutherland (of course) as Jack Bauer, Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O’Brian, James Morrison as Bill Buchanan, and Carlos Bernard as the aforementioned zombie Tony Almeida. Joining the cast along with Jones and Feore are Annie Wesching, Bob Gunton, Jeffrey Nording, Rhys Coiro, and Janeane Garafalo as an FBI agent. Interesting.
The two hour premiere will begin this Sunday at 8/7c (unfortunately opposite the Golden Globes), and continue for another two hours at the same time on Monday, its regularly scheduled time.