Here's What Went Wrong with '24: Legacy'
Here's What Went Wrong with '24: Legacy'
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
FOX had very high hopes for 24: Legacy. The reboot of the beloved Jack Bauer franchise received the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot, remarkable since it's been more than 20 years since a network has dared to premiere a new drama series in that time slot.

The result was far from ideal. There was a brief window of marginally decent ratings, but the show quickly fell to less than 3.5 million viewers per episode.

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The future of the series is in doubt, but now that the first season is over, we can look back and point out what worked and, more importantly, what didn't. The original series proved that the real-time format can succeed with intense action, great characters and crazy terrorist plots. Sadly, 24: Legacy failed on most of those points.
Here's why I believe 24: Legacy was a creative failure.

Random Plot Twists

The first half of the season had a lot of promise. The action was fast and exciting and the overall terrorist threat involving a flash drive with activation codes for various sleeper cells was easy to follow. It all culminated in the show's best moment, the bombing of the George Washington Bridge that was almost stopped by the best minor character, Jenkins the Bridge Cop.

But the second half is when it felt like the writers were just making it up as they went. Jadalla Bin Khalid was a perfectly adequate villain, but then they added the subplot with Naseri, his daughter and Jadalla's father, all of which felt wildly disconnected from the first half.

There was also the sudden relevance of DNI Simms, who was basically a background extra for his first few appearances, then he became a crucial part of the endgame. The first half of the season had a focus and a purpose that was severely lacking in the second half.

Lack of Character Development

The original series was more than just action. It had characters you could relate to and love. There were quirky CTU analysts like Chloe and Edgar or bosses we loved to hate like George Mason or Ryan Chappelle. Even the political side of the story had great characters like David and Sherry Palmer, Charles Logan and Allison Taylor.

Now compare them to the new crop of supporting characters for 24: Legacy. Keith Mullins and Mariana Stiles were dull, generic CTU employees with no defining traits. Even Senator John Donovan was defined solely by his relevance to the plot, primarily his relationships with Nilaa and his father.

I'm reminded of a great scene from early in the first season of the original 24, with David Palmer running into two thugs in a parking garage. The scene had nothing to do with the various, larger plots of the season, it was just a brilliant showcase to establish his character. It' what helped make the show more than just an action thriller and 24: Legacy failed to live up to that.

A Waste of Tony Almeida

FOX heavily promoted the return of Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida, connecting the show to the original series. But he didn't show up for the first half of the season and when he finally did, he barely did anything. Tony tortured Henry Donovan for a bit, with no results, then he randomly popped up again at the end of the season in a completely different storyline.

24: Legacy can either stand on its own or tie into the original series, but the inclusion of Tony Almeida felt like a half-assed attempt to have their cake and eat it too. And that goes double for Mariana being Edgar's cousin, which was mentioned once and then never mattered again.

Repetitious Plots

I can overlook the obvious similarities between 24: Legacy and the original show's first season as an homage, whether it's the senator running for president or the hero who, before the show began, killed a bad guy, but now the bad guy's son is after him, and it eventually turns out the bad guy didn't really die in the first place (see Victor Drazen).

But 24: Legacy repeated some major plot points within its shortened first season. The third episode began with Carter trying to escape from a police station. He ended up surrounded with guns pointed at him, but a last-minute phone call from Rebecca explained everything and the cops let him proceed with his mission.

That same scenario reappeared in the season finale, only this time it was Rebecca's husband who made the phone call that saved Carter's life and allowed him to proceed with his mission.

The even worse repeat came with abducted spouses. The terrorists kidnapped Carter's wife, Nicole, and by the end of the next episode, Carter traded himself for her freedom. A few episodes later the terrorists kidnapped John Donovan and, by the end o the next episode, Rebecca traded herself for his freedom.

If the 24: Legacy writers couldn't come up with any original ideas for a short, 12-episode season, it's not very promising for the show's long-term prospects.

Do you think FOX should renew 24: Legacy for season 2? If so, what should they fix and what worked well in the first season?

(Image courtesy of FOX)