TV

Time runs out for Fox's '24' , but a film version beckons

Denise Martin and Maria Elena Fernandez
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Jack Bauer has cheated death a few dozen times, but he couldn't avoid cancellation.

After putting the tireless Counter Terrorist Unit agent to work for eight extra-long days, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly has ordered that Jack stand down at season's end.

Although everyone on set reacted to the news emotionally, no one is perhaps sadder than the man who brought Jack Bauer to life.

"It's very sad. The only thing tempering this from being all-out heartbreak is the fact that we have this sense of accomplishment," Kiefer Sutherland said. "That's the only thing holding people up. Because for me and all these people who've been with us since the beginning, it's a very special thing, and it's very sad to see it end."

The termination notice comes in the middle of Day 8, which critics have panned and the audience has largely shunned. The most recent episode of the show, March 22, drew 8.7 million viewers — down 34 percent from Season 7's average of 13.3 million. While the ratings have cooled, the cost of producing "24" has continued to increase.

"Everyone concurs that we want the show to end as close to peak form as possible," executive producer Howard Gordon said. "If they said tomorrow that you have a ninth season, it's not something we'd be up for because we realize Jack's story in the real-time format has been told. Jack is a wonderful character who can live past the '24' real-time franchise."

Indeed, Jack may not be retiring just yet.

Sutherland, also an executive producer on the series, is eager to get started on a "24" movie, and 20th Century Fox has hired a writer, Billy Ray ("State of Play"), who pitched his own version of a bad day for Bauer in Europe.

At its peak, "24" helped transform Fox into a ratings powerhouse in the early 2000s. Alongside shows such as "American Idol" and "House," it vaulted the network into the No. 1 spot among the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

"I know the end will be a very difficult day, and I would love to have avoided it," said Sutherland. "It's hard. I broke it down the other day: I've worked on '24' more than half of my professional career.

"We've made 196 hours of TV ... close to 100 movies. That's a very successful career in itself. I think Gene Hackman and my father (Donald Sutherland) are the only two people who've made more stuff than that. So it would be silly for me to pretend the end of this would not have a huge impact on my life."

The clock stops ticking May 24.

24

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image