The cursed writers strike affected a lot of shows last year and is even partly to blame for the cancellation of some of them. Fox's 24 was not immune to those effects
Before the writers strike occurred, Fox already had their own "issues." No, not the usual ones (well, maybe the usual ones) - there was discord in the Fox house as to where they were going to film 24... since the original script for season 7 called for shooting in Africa. Africa was deemed too expensive on production costs. <<- Remember that: It - was - too - costly - to - go - to - Africa.
Once they decided not to shoot in Africa, the show underwent a major rewrite. During the rewrite, a new schedule was being looked at - but timing issues and the writers' strike came down the pike to throw the production yet another curve ball.
As the rewrite got back underway, the estimated completion time would have broken the show into two viewing segments that would have pushed the finale into Summer.
That's what's technically known in the business as "a no-no."
The Summer time frame is notorious for when networks do not air their high-profile shows. Additionally Fox didn't want to break up the show into two separate mini-seasons. (DID YOU HEAR THAT SCI-FI CHANNEL??? Sorry... I couldn't help myself.) So they pushed the premiere date of season 7 back to January of '09, taking a calculated risk by completely skipping the 2008 TV season. At least this way, they could run the entire season continuously with no breaks, to its conclusion.
During the downtime, Keifer Sutherland served some jail time for a drunk driving charge and Joel Surnow, the show's co-creator, quit. Busy off-season if you ask me.
The new season is referred to as "Day 7" and a January start date was the best way to run the season without interruption to conclusion. But since we've been waiting so long for the new season, Fox has put together a little gift for the fans: A prequel to warm us up for January and keep our anticipation going.
The prequel was shot in South Africa and... yes, you heard right: Africa (Budget? What budget?). I guess Fox still has a few issues underneath it all.
The two-hour prequel (titled 24: Redemption) will be airing on Nov. 23rd and "The following takes place between 3 and 5 PM", "24" time (you can hear the voice saying that, can't you?). It will of course star Keifer Sutherland. Jon Voight will be joining the cast and will play Jonas Hodges, the behind-the-scenes bad guy of the next terrorist threat. This will be Voight's first television role in over 40 years.
I like the oddball stoic demeanor that Voight brings to the screen. He reminds me of a modern day Jack Palance, who pulled off amazing characters with his own special, stiff twist. It should be interesting to see that same atmospheric attitude as one of the bad guys.
Cherry Jones will star as the United States' first female president.
(Warning: Some opening episode spoilers ahead)
A source of mine gave me some info on the upcoming 7th season of 24:
Season 7 starts off with CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) under full congressional investigation, with Jack Bauer spilling the beans on everything he's done for CTU. CTU has gone underground more or less, as we won't see hide nor hair of the organization this season.
As Jack is testifying, the FBI storms into the courtroom and tells the Speaker that they have to ask Jack to step out for a few questions.
The FBI task force asks Jack to look at some pictures - and in one of those pictures is Tony Almeida (supposedly killed last season).
Need I say more?
General Hospital star Annie Wersching has been cast in a lead role opposite Keifer Sutherland on next season's 24. She will play an FBI agent who is in an adversarial relationship with Sutherland's character, Jack Bauer. Carlos Bernard returns to reprise his role of ex-dead Tony Almeida.
Fox has pedaled some noise regarding Almeida and his return - specifically, the lack of having a "silent clock" moment when Tony "died."
Tony Almeida and the Silent Clock:
The clock always does that deep resonating thoomb-boom, thoomb-boom at the end of scenes. (You can hear that in your head, can't you?) On six occasions, the clock did not do the thoom-boom. It's used to add extra depth to an emotional scene, usually a death. The "silent clock" was used for the passing of Teri Bauer, George Mason leaving CTU, Palmer's assassination attempt, the death of Ryan Chappelle, when Edgar Stiles and staff were gassed, (I liked him and was bummed to see him go.) and after Jack says farewell to Audrey.
So what does this have to do with Tony? He never got the silent clock treatment, so they could "keep his death ambiguous," they claim. Fox is making it seem that they might have had plans for Tony way back then. Leaving the door open. Or was it a last minute idea they discovered when rewatching the show?
Well, whatever. Tony is back and it will be interesting to hear the explanation. The rest is up to you, what you take away from this and the subsequent showing of 24. It's pure conjecture on my part, but I think they'll come up something that hints at how Almeida had to go into hiding, or rogue or abducted by aliens.
After all is said, and soon to be done:
I'm looking forward to watching Sutherland, Voight, Bernard and the rest of the gang that ends up returning to the show, like Chloe. (Oops, did I just say that?) Not to mention the independently operative Jack Bauer rescuing humanity once again, one booming hour at a time.