After years of attempts by Fox to reboot the 24 franchise, including a limited series called 24: Live Another Day and a big screen movie adaptation that never came to fruition, well-regarded TV series finally returned earlier this year in a way we’ve never seen it before — without Jack Bauer.
24: Legacy debuted after the Super Bowl in February, starring Corey Hawkins as the stand-in for Kiefer Sutherland’s Bauer and a whole new supporting cast, but otherwise retaining the same visual style, themes and music familiar to fans who watched and loved the original 24. However, ratings for that post-Super Bowl 24: Legacy premiere were somewhat soft, and haven’t much improved since, raising questions about the future of the show.
According to an interview with Deadline, Fox’s TV boss is feeling “a little sad” about 24: Legacy’s ratings - and the show is by no means a shoo-in to return for a second season. Dana Walden, chairman and TV of the Fox Television Group, discussed the renewal chances of various Fox shows. When talk turned to 24: Legacy, her views were decidedly ambiguous:
“I’m a little sad because I feel like it’s a really good show. We’re doing about 7-8 million viewers over seven days per episode. It’s not terrible. We had really high hopes for the show. ... I feel very proud of the show and extremely grateful to the creators and the great actors who have done a really wonderful job. I’m wondering whether broadcast can sustain something so serialized.”
In terms of where Fox stands in renewing 24: Legacy, Walden said:
“We’re going to see. I would love nothing more than to bring it back because I thought it was great but we’re just going to have to see how our pilots come in, how it continues to perform and weigh all of the information we have in May.”
24: Legacy is an entertaining show, one that’s entirely up to production standards of the original series. Hawkins may not make anyone forget Jack Bauer, but he’s a charismatic leading man, and the plot is engaging, if derivative.
On the other hand, it’s clear that the show isn’t exactly in the zeitgeist anymore. There’s not much buzz about it, and even beyond that, at a time when politics and popular culture are crashing into each other like never before, 24: Legacy is nowhere near any of those conversations, the way it was during the terrorism and torture debates of a decade ago. That may be because its relevance is much associated with a real-life presidential administration that’s now two presidents ago. Maybe the world simply isn’t interested in 24 without Bauer — and perhaps, after all these years, it’s time to let 24 go.
24: Legacy airs Monday nights on Fox.