Yesterday, Michael Ausiello broke some news, or gossip more specifically, about 24‘s 7th season. You know, the one that was supposed to shake everything up and totally reinvigorate the series after a rather awful sixth season? Well, it turns out that FOX decided that producers went a little bit too far this time around: they wanted to go to Africa. And, well…
According to sources, the 11th-hour time-out was called after the network put the kibosh on a costly plan to shoot a number of episodes in Africa. Producers briefly toyed with the idea of finding a location in Los Angeles that could sub for the continent, but they ultimately decided to ditch the whole concept and start over from scratch.
That’s right folks: start over from scratch. Mary Lynn Raksjub (Chloe), who will be back this season, notes that this delay was unexpected and will certainly set things back a bit. However, more importantly, I think it highlights the real problem that 24 has right now.
They’re damned if they do, and they’re damned if they don’t.
On the one hand, if things don’t get shaken up they’re in serious trouble. As Ausiello points out, 24 was actually named the 2nd WORST show on television by critics in terms of the second half of this past season (Which is ludicrous, but clearly shows the level of backlash the show is facing). The show is in desperate need of something to bring critics back on side, so going to Africa seemed like a great chance to do so. Getting out of LA has always been a logical step for the series, and going all the way to Africa sounded like a great way to embrace fantastic films like the Constant Gardener and the atmosphere therein.
However, at the same time, 24 no longer commands the same type of power as it once did. With sagging ratings and sagging critical assessments, FOX is not willing to sink as much money into the series as they may have been a year ago. This means that any major changes that are actually required to improve the show are likely to be kiboshed.
So, considering this double edged sword, I don’t have too much faith in 24 and its ability to reinvent itself for next season. They’re now certainly out of Africa, and I wonder if they might be out of ideas as well. Only time will tell, and the writers might have more to say on the upcoming Summer Press Tour.