Yesterday saw American network Fox unveil their latest line of new recruits in television scheduling, ushering in a new era for returning shows, as well as transferring some coveted names from the big screen and adapting them to series form. While the return of Prison Break looks appetising, The Exorcist a little intriguing and Lethal Weapon a tad ludicrous, it is the return of 24 that poses the biggest talking point.
24: Legacy ushers in a new generation for the popular real-time show as it looks to head in a new direction without the astute leadership of its flagship star Kiefer Sutherland in the mould of one of television’s most memorable characters, Jack Bauer. That new generation, with Sutherland in the background as a producer on the show, brings forth a whole new central character in the form of Straight Outta Compton’s impressive young talent Corey Hawkins. Hawkins’ casting certainly isn’t an issue; after all, this is a young actor who helped to create a truly remarkable biopic to the world’s most influential and groundbreaking hip-hop groups, but the real problem lies in what could have been…
To see the full scope of the issue we have to rewind back to the not-so-distant past where Jack Bauer returned in a shorter stint than we were used to and in a whole new location – London. Live Another Day proved to be a nice return for the man who has literally been through it all – terrorists, family issues and everything in-between – and also introduced a whole new roster to join Bauer and trusty friend Chloe in their ongoing mission to halt terrorism.
But while many of the new cast members weren’t quite your Tony Almeidas or Bill Buchanans, there was on particular individual who shone above and beyond any other newbie, and that was Yvonne Strahovski as she took on steely CTU agent Kate Morgan.
Here was a character who often shone as brightly as Jack and slowly became somewhat of a cult hit from the newest edition of the show. Morgan’s guile, her physicality and her willingness to get stuck in just like Jack made her a formidable ally for the main man. So much so that there were soon calls for Kate to command her own possible spin-off show – and rightly so.
While Jack Bauer would always be the lifeblood of the show, the very fact that a shorter stint for 24 came about instead the standard 24-episode run, it was clear that things need to be refreshed. That fresh face certainly came in the form of Strahovski’s female force, often outshining her new partner and really proving that this strong female could command a new wave of CTU adventures.
Fox’s inability and brashness to miss this is somewhat of a massive disappointment, leaving behind a truly brilliant character and leaving her for dust. This was a woman who could have reinvigorated this series with a whole new dimension, but instead we have another female hero left to waste. Agent Carter recently received the cancellation treatment and Kate Morgan joins her in the land of misfortune.
In a world where the television and film industries are often faced with demands for strong female leads, 24: Legacy could have spearheaded the charge with a truly great lead character. The foundations were built for Kate Morgan and we would have instantly possessed that familiarity that is so important with evolving characters. Why she has been bypassed is anyone’s guess, but it is a truly sad state of affairs, even if the new show does feature an exciting lead in Corey Hawkins.
A missed opportunity this certainly is and a bitter disappoinment in equal measure, the lack of Yvonne Strahovski leaves a sour taste in the prospects of 24: Legacy and is just another indicator that there is still an issue when it comes to female representation in key roles.