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What's it like to help put together one of the hottest shows on broadcast? TelevisionWeek's new blogger, "24" story editor Matt Michnovetz, is giving us a peek under the tent of the Fox series, which has grown from a cult phenomenon into a staple of the network's schedule. With Matt's blog, "24" -- In Real Time, TVWeek.com readers will get the tick-tock on how the show comes together.

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The First Five Hours…

January 23, 2007 4:30 PM

***WARNING: SPOILER ALERT***

If you did not see the first five hours of “24” Day 6, you do not want to continue reading. This blog will contain serious spoilers! But, if you have seen these episodes, then please, continue reading. …

Well, the first five episodes are down and we are off and running. In this time period, we’ve witnessed Jack Bauer’s return from the clutches of the Chinese; Jack’s uneasy alliance with a terrorist leader; the detonation of a suitcase nuke on U.S. soil, effectively wiping out the city of Valencia; the death of Curtis Manning at Jack’s hands; the frightening beginnings of what looks eerily close to a U.S. Police State; and the revelation that last year’s blue-tooth-wearing evil puppet master Graem is actually Jack’s brother! And that’s all before noon.

What does this mean for fans of “24”? It means you’re in for a terrifying, edge-of-your-seat, no-nonsense season.

In previous seasons, we often used the first episode to reveal the so-called “threat” for that season. Whether it’s an assassination attempt, a nuclear bomb, a virus, or the kidnapping of the Secretary of Defense, they’ve been clearly stated in the season premiere.

This season, like last season, we use the first four episode run, the miniseries, as a jump start to set up and effectively launch the new threat. In this case it’s suitcase nukes.

And in hour five, we got Jack back on the trail of these WMDs and into a fateful encounter with his own brother. We also decided to up the ante by revealing that Jack’s brother is actually Graem, one of the men influencing President Logan’s corrupt administration last season. Of course, it wouldn’t be “24” if characters from the past didn’t turn up in shocking ways to play a role in another fateful day.

What characters from the past will make a surprise return? Looking forward to your thoughts on these questions and the premiere. ...

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Comments (7)

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Matt,

To answer your question, I'm not so sure Curtis is really dead. Second, Jean Smart, the ex- Pinochio nosed-president's wife will re-emerge, or should.

Now, question for you. Is Monday night the permanent slot for "24?" And if so, why?
Marianne

I Worship Mary Lynn Rajskub Nightly:

Hey Matt,

Great first 5 episodes to the season. I was wondering if you could clarify on the whole Graham/Graem thing for us fans. Which one should we call him or refer to him as or would that be giving something away potentially?

Thanks a lot!

RyanO:

I think it is quite apparent that ex President Charles Logan will make an appearance at some point. I am delighted to no end by the prospect! It will have to be Logan, of course, who connects the dots for Jack so he can learn that his brother was not only behind his kidnapping by the Chinese, but also played a role in Palmer's death and the Russian nerve gas attacks. I'd also love to see Audrey return at some point during the day.

Curtis's death was heartbreaking and the suitcase nuke was a real shocker. I know you guys are catching hell from certain quarters for the nuke and Muslim plots, but it won't sweigh those of us who really know the show.

One other thought: Some fans complain that the latest Bauer family twists are too "soap operaish." I couldn't disagree more. Jack is a compelling figure and I welcome an in-depth look at his past.

Keep it up and thanks so much for the blog.

DebMc24:

President... Wayne? With a goatee, no less? Someone's gonna have to help me out here. The man looks like he's about 38, going on 28, and he's never held an elected office in his life (if he had, people wouldn't have addressed him as "Mr. Palmer" in previous seasons), yet he's nonetheless been elected to hold the highest office on Planet Earth? Exactly who in their right mind is supposed to have pulled the lever for Wayne on the heels of all those terrorist attacks over the course of the past five seasons? The public has gone through everything from a full-blown nuclear explosion in Season 2, to a nationwide terrorist attack on the country's nuclear power plants, to Air Force One getting shot out of the sky, a warhead getting stolen and launched, the assassination of two presidents...?!?!?! THIS is a time in America when a fearful, rattled public, in need of one helluva good Commander in Chief, is going to quite naturally turn to... Wayne? Out of... sympathy? Don't look now, folks, but I smell the distinct aroma of shark and waterskis.

Great first 5 episodes!!! Thank you.

I do have a question. How much lead time do you guys have on changing upcoming episodes?

The reason I ask is this. My understanding is that some of the 24 staff peruse some of the 24 messageboards to get an idea of how the fans are reacting to the plot(s) after they are aired. If, by chance, it was decided "Maybe we shouldn't go there with the plot" are there "alternative scenes" which can be inserted into later shows or are all the episodes which have had the finishing touches done to them now "in the can" and will stand as is?

Just wondering.

I think having Jack Bauer's father being played by ANYONE other than Donald Sutherland will be a disappointment. I love James Cromwell, but it's not the same. Donald Suther;land has played spies and politics so many times in his career that he would have been perfect, nonetheless actually being Keifer's dad.

Without a doubt, season 5 seems to have the best continuity & story for the series and 6 looks to be equal or better. With previous seasons, it seemed like the writer's weren't always more than 4 episodes ahead of where they were. Now it seems to rock fo rthe whole year.

Idetrorce:

very interesting, but I don't agree with you
Idetrorce

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