Saturday, July 12, 2014

"24: Live Yet Another Day"(?) - plot idea

With only the season finale left for Fox's "24: Live Another Day," I can only hope that the ratings and hype have been enough for another limited series event next year. A 1.4-1.5 rating, which is where the show has settled at, isn't great, but (1) summer ratings tend to be lower than those in the regular September-May season; (2) it's better than most Fox shows; and (3) I think (but am not positive) that "24" does pretty well in the DVD market.

I imagine that substantial factors affecting whether it comes back next year (or in 2016) are Kiefer Sutherland's desire to reprise the role and the producers'/writers' ability to come up with a plotline that excites them. Although "24: Live Another Day" brought back a number of "24" tropes (moles, magical override devices, Chloe's ability to do her hacktastic work from coffee shops/bars), the use of drones and a Wikileaks-like organization made it seem fresh and relevant, as opposed to, say, season 6's tired retread of yet another nuclear bomb on the loose plot.

What might work for a tenth season?

I've always thought that Alistair MacLean's The Golden Gate would have made a great thriller movie, but lately I've been thinking that it would make an even better TV miniseries. With some tinkering, it could be easily adapted into the "24" world.

The basic plot goes like this: a criminal mastermind named Peter Branson has captured the Presidential motorcade on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and has wired the bridge itself with enough explosives to sink it into the Bay. The hostages include the President, the Mayor of San Francisco, a pair of Arab oil sheiks (the novel was written in the 1970s shortly after the OPEC boycott), some Cabinet secretaries, and a few military generals. All of the FBI and Secret Service agents are kicked off the bridge. However, Branson is an egomaniac, and he allows the mass of reporters in their own bus to remain on the bridge if they wish; this is, after all, the story of the century. Unknown to Branson, however, photographer Paul Revson is a ruthless effective undercover FBI agent. . . .

The novel plays out in a fairly tight time period, possibly around 24 hours. There are a number of twists and individual suspense points that would work well as episode-ending cliffhangers. The cat-and-mouse game between Branson and Revson is great stuff.

Now, I do have to confess that MacLean was well past his peak as a writer when he wrote The Golden Gate. Not age-wise, but talent/motivation-wise. His best novels as a group were produced in the 1960s, before alcoholism steadily robbed him of the creative spark. As much as I liked The Golden Gate, I can recognize that the dialogue fails to capture how Americans, particularly Californians speak, and it's got some noticeable internal contradictions in characterization. Second, movie adaptations of MacLean's works have been all over the map, with only The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra, and Where Eagles Dare really standing out as good.

No comments:

Post a Comment