When it began in 2001, the drama series 24 was a groundbreaking endeavour. With its events unfolding in ‘real time’ over the course of every hour-long episode, the show followed the efforts of counter terrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) as he continually tried to save the world from those that sought to blow it up, or poison it, or infiltrate the U.S Presidency, or kill people that he didn’t want dead.
The show ran for eight seasons in its original run, and returned for a 12 episode limited series – 24: Live Another Day – in 2014. By that point, those episodes reflected the evolution of the show – into a two-hander focused on Bauer and his colleague Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub). As producers gear up for brand new 24 antics with 24: Legacy, it comes with the news that Chloe might be set to return.
Chloe O’Brian arrived at CTU in the third season of 24 as a supporting character. She quickly became a fan favourite, however, and was increasingly involved in storylines. The writers of the show began to build a very specific bond between Bauer and O’Brian which developed into one of the better examples of a platonic television relationship. As the seasons progressed, other characters came and went, but Bauer and O’Brian remained.
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The announcement of 24: Legacy was met with some scepticism, for several reasons. Firstly, the concept of the show – once groundbreaking – has become much parodied, and questions linger as to how it can be effectively reinvigorated. In connection with that, there’s the fact that Jack Bauer is not the focus of this new series – which is a very big risk on the part of producers.
Originally, 24 was arguably a vehicle for Kiefer Sutherland, and it is one that he embraced and influenced with great success. The entire concept of 24 became immediately synonymous with Bauer’s relentless determination, and signature demanding growl. Whether or not the concept can survive without him remains to be seen.
But the show is a spinoff, rather than a reboot, so producers will undoubtedly make much of the fact that Jack Bauer still exists out there, somewhere, in order to keep audiences tuning in until such time as they become similarly invested in the new central character – Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins). The involvement of Chloe O’Brian will also help that process, and producer Evan Katz explained to TV Line that this is definitely an option being pursued.
“We have plans [for Chloe] … Right now, our clear priority is [establishing] these new characters, and have the audience build a relationship with them. But we have some surprises planned.”
The premiere of 24: Legacy can be seen on Fox on February 5th, 2017.