Between its critical drubbing and its two production delays, "24" hasn't given me a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic this summer. But this piece of news has me reconsidering my doubts: Janeane Garofalo will be joining the cast to play a government agent investigating a crisis that strikes Jack's team. The news is the second major addition of the summer; last month, Cherry Jones was tapped to play the show's first female president.
Garofalo's last major TV appearance was on "The West Wing" in 2006. She also starred in a CBS pilot about lawyers, but the show wasn't picked up for the fall season. I bet it's going to be interesting for such an outspoken liberal to work for producers as seriously conservative as those on "24."
Between Garofalo and Mary Lynn Rajskub, I'd say "24" now has one of the best girl-geek quotients on TV. I don't think Garofalo can singlehandedly save "24," though; that will depend much more on the writers being able to bring a fresh plot line to the seventh season. What do you think?
Jack Bauer's world on "24" has its new leader: President Allison Taylor. Fox confirmed at the TCA press tour on Sunday that the show has, indeed, elected a female president to take office when Day 7 begins in January. Stage veteran Cherry Jones, a Tony winner who has also appeared in movies including Ocean's Twelve, will play the new commander in chief.
Another interesting "24" tidbit from Fox's executive session: Network entertainment chairman Peter Liguori said he wouldn't call the past season of "24" a disappointment, despite its critical fall from grace. He said that while the show might feel disorganized at times, that's because it's "a living beast," and the audience enjoys being a part of that. He added:
I feel like part of the high-wire act is their process. There is a specific energy that goes into creating a season of "24." It's a little bit like war strategy, I guess. ... You have a big strategy, the first bullet goes off, the war strategy goes out the window.
So, "24" fans, what do you think? Is it comforting or disconcerting to know the producers are, to some extent, making it up as they go along?
After this disappointing season of "24" — and especially that drawn-out, unnecessarily frustrating finale — I knew the show would have to make some drastic changes to get viewers back. And it seems like the show's producers know it: Several tidbits of news have been flying around recently about big shifts in the show's structure and characters.
The biggest news is that the show is contemplating its first female president, which — in addition to mirroring part of this country's actual presidential race — would be a fantastic role for some underemployed female actress. I'd love to know which of them are readying their resumes at the mere mention of this possibility. (Geena Davis had that presidential thing down, but personally, I'd love to see Allison Janney leading the nation.)
Among the other changes:
- The show will likely focus less on the goings-on at CTU and move to a new city, with New York, London, and Washington, D.C. reportedly on the short list.
- Of all of the characters, only Jack and Chloe are locks to return at this point; everything else is up in the air.
If you've drifted away from "24," do you think these changes would draw you back in?
Photo courtesy of Fox
Undoubtedly, "24" has experienced a rapid decline in popularity this season, what with all the repetitive plot lines and its time slot that conflicts with that of "Heroes." According to a post in the LA Times TV blog Channel Island, "24" will undergo some serious changes next season, prompting me to wonder if the show's format of "24 hours in real time" is no longer new and interesting.
Yet Channel Island writer Scott Collins attributes the show's decline to something else: the "fading memory" of 9/11. Collins wonders if the initial popularity of "24" was due to its proximity to 9/11, when peoples' fears made the experience of watching the show more real, and therefore more "thrilling." The drop in popularity, then, can be attributed to the fact that 9/11 is fading from memory. As Collins points out, "Real-life political tension does wonders for creators of thriller fare."
What do you think?
I know the whole thing with "24" this season is that dangerous people escape and nearly detonate nuclear weapons before Jack steps in to save the world. And yet I can't help but be intrigued by this clip from tonight's episode, in which Jack finds out Gredenko escaped — but not before launching a drone that the Air Force is having trouble intercepting. Do you think it's all a tease or actually a big deal? You can see the clip if you read more
On last night's episode of "24," the showdown between Jack and father Phillip continues. Marilyn is still on the run, but Phillip, who needs her to lead him to Gredenko, is threatening to kill her son Josh.
More importantly, we discover the truth about Thomas Lennox after a particularly revealing encounter with Reed. For more discussion (and spoilers!), read more
On this week's two-hour special night of "24"...
- President Palmer asks Assad to make a speech asking Islamic communities everywhere to help bring down Fayed. Assad is afraid his people will think he has become an American puppet, but President Palmer insists. Tom Lennox and the Vice President see this as the terrorists "winning."
- Lennox is fed up with the President and asks his man Reed to draft up his resignation letter. Unfortunately, Reed can't do that because he is a shady guy with his own agenda and needs Tom to stay in the White House so he can go through with his evil plans.
For more info about these afternoon hours, read more
Yikes! Jack's dad is a real heartless bastard! And that James Cromwell looks so gentle and kind, doesn't he? In this week's episode of "24," Jack's emotions are really jerked around, and he grapples with his sense of familial duty. Meanwhile, the President mulls Tom Lennox's plans for homeland security, which threaten to dismantle the Constitution. Check out the highlights from this week's episode:
- President Palmer is resistant to sign Lennox’s plans, knowing they abuse power and civil liberties. Yet he is swayed by Lennox's arguments and tells his cabinet to convene and put the plans in effect.
- Karen tells Bill Buchanan that she resigned, but she refuses to tell him why.
- Handcuffed in the van, Jack's father Phillip wearily says that everything he ever did was for Jack, and that after Jack left, Graem was all he had. Jack and Phillip arrive at a cement plant and — just before Graem's men are about to shoot them — Jack and Phillip overtake them and free themselves. They then head back to Graem's house.
Many more riveting highlights, so read more
In this week's "24," we get an inside look at some of the Bauer family dynamics, while Walid is revealed to be a mole at the detention facility. Read on for my highlights from the sixth hour of this season's "24" and tell me what you thought of last night's episode.
- Karen Hayes calls Tom Lennox on his sneaky practices, such as employing racial profiling tactics without presidential consent. Tom decides that Karen is going to get in his way too much, so he blackmails her into resigning. He says he knows that Karen's new hubby, Bill Buchanan, previously had terrorist Fayed in the government's possession but let him go. In the end, Karen asks the President to be reassigned.
- Jack bullies his brother Graem into admitting that Darren McCarthy stole nukes from the company that Graem runs with their father, Phillip; McCarthy then sold those nukes to terrorists. Phillip has a security team staking out McCarthy in Simi Valley, so Jack unties Graem and the two set off to find their dad.
Lots more action, so read more
At the beginning, of this week's "24" we're reminded that a nuclear bomb has gone off in Valencia, a suburb of Los Angeles. Tom Lennox reports that there have been no less than 12,000 casualties thus far. Four more tactical weapons remain, and the government has no idea where they are. Civilian air traffic has been shut down. The Secret Service move the president down to a bunker, and the President says he wants to deliver a televised speech to the public within the hour.
Fayed calls McCarthy, the man who sold him the weapons. Fayed says the bomb blew up before it reached its target and offers to pay McCarthy double if he can find someone who can make sure the triggers work on the remaining four weapons. Later, in the car with his whiny girlfriend, McCarthy tells Fayed he can find someone, and to have his money ready. Fayed then instructs one of his men to "tell these men these bombs will go off as scheduled, today."
Meanwhile, people in the suburbs are panicking. Jack saves a man from a crashed helicopter and then calls Bill Buchanan and says he wants back in. To find out what happens next, read more