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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Belated Birthday Present From "24" and FOX

So yesterday was my birthday. But the folks at “24” and FOX decided to wait until today to give me my present…

My morning started with a quick check of my e-mail. There was a message from RT, my second favorite Canadian, who told me that FOX was going to announce big “24” casting news today, including the return of a favorite character.

And that was all I needed to hear to start bouncing around the room. Because based on all of the news that had been coming out about the show it could only mean one person…

Let’s face it. It’s been a rough couple of months for “24” fans. First, we’ve had to listen to endless trashings by the critics. Then production was postponed for three weeks so the writers could rewrite the planned story for next season. Then production was delayed for another two weeks so the writers could plan out the story even more. It was starting to sound like they had no plan whatsoever for the new season—just exactly what the show didn’t need. We “24” fans seriously needed some good news.

And today we got it.

Normally I don’t post news items that give away plotlines, but this one is so exciting I really have no choice. If you don’t want to know who will be returning, stop reading now.

Still with me? FOX announced today that this season of “24” will feature the return of none other than Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard).

Last season, word leaked out that the final scene of the finale was going to be Tony walking up to Jack and saying something like “We need to talk.” Some reports have the scene actually being filmed. But the producers changed their minds. However, when the fans saw the finale without Tony, they got a little angry and the producers revealed at Comic-Con that they were still considering a Tony comeback.

When I first heard about this I groaned. After all, “24” is a show that prides itself on the real world it creates each week. Having a character come back from the dead is more soap opera than Emmy-winning drama. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought “Bring it on.” I loved Tony and I have never forgiven them for killing him off in the pedestrian way they did. He—and we—deserved so much better. And maybe now we’ll both get it.

Obviously FOX knows the impact of the news since they actually revealed it in their press release about the upcoming season. Yes, the revelation will lessen the drama of his return, but FOX knows that fans are disillusioned and this is just the thing that could bring them back.

And the truth is it’s not as implausible as you might think. Tony “died” when Christopher Henderson (I still haven’t forgiven them for using my last name for this character.) injected Tony with the serum Tony planned to use to kill Henderson. But Tony wasn’t an expert in torture. Maybe a drug that Tony thought would kill Henderson would actually only paralyze him and make him appear dead—which is what happened to Tony. And since Tony thought the drug would kill him, he gave up and let go. But somewhere along the line Tony woke up many hours later and was wisked away somewhere to recover from his injuries. With Jack a prisoner in China, Tony may have been trying to live a normal life and was out of touch with what was happening at CTU—which is why he didn’t show up to help Jack last season.

You can say jumping the shark all you want, but I am beyond thrilled to have Tony and Carlos back. I just hope the writers have veered away from their original plan to make Tony a bad guy. Because if Tony isn’t working with Jack, then all of this is for nothing.

And if they’ve brought him back just to kill him again, I will seriously go Jack Bauer on somebody…

“24” premieres January 13th with a two-night three hour premiere on FOX…