We already know this—there will be an eighth season to 24. So, I figured, perhaps we should just get to it: they’ll start shooting that this May. And the events of the past couple of seasons—the heavily-panned sixth, the writer’s strike, and the shooting for the current one—have given them new things to play with, and new things to do once they start shooting.
Bit number one: a longer shooting time. “As much as the writer’s strike I think was a difficult time for everybody, there were some benefits to us absolutely,” series star Kiefer Sutherland said during a press conference for his upcoming film, Monsters vs. Aliens. “We had 15 months for us to shoot what we normally shoot with 10 … It’s a three-act play for us, so each eight episodes kind of transitions into another story. Some of those transition points have been really sticky for us and really difficult. And because of the time we were afforded, the writers actually, we were in production and at about episode sixteen or seventeen [of season 6] they just shut down. They were having a hard time with that transition and they just stopped and they took the three weeks and they figured something out.”
That’s why they’re starting shooting for the upcoming season earlier than usual. “[We] are starting in May this year instead of August so we will have finished, I think, 22 episodes by the time it goes to air again,” he said. “So, at any given moment, if we need to stop and figure something out, we have afforded ourselves that time. I don’t know why it took us seven years to figure that out and a writer’s strike, but we have.”
Bit number two: the good numbers this season has been getting. In itself, it’s a surprise—consider the longer-than-usual hiatus that the writer’s strike brought, as well as the fact that the sixth season was received unfavorably. “The idea we were able to come back and do the same numbers that we had been doing in the previous years? You have no idea the relief,” Sutherland said. “We have been working for seven and a half years. We’ve got 98% of the same people there were day on day one and I think of it like that. There have been nine marriages, 15 kids born on our show and you have no idea the relief that we had. We were very, very scared about it.”
Bit number three: that irrepressible rumor of a 24 film. By now, the answer’s pretty much expected. “We always thought it would be cruel and unusual punishment to ask the writers to write in the course of 12 months,  films and then in their off time say, ‘By the way, if you have a great idea for a feature film that’s so special, write that as well,’” he said. “So, we kind of collectively agreed that we would entertain the idea of a film when the series was finished. And if people still wanted to see something like that we’d be really excited to do it, because … we would loose the realtime aspect which would be a huge freedom for the writers, but it is something that we would not even start to do until the series would finished.”
-Henrik Batallones, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of Fox)