I’m a big fan of Monday night spy shows: Chuck and 24.
I was discussing the repetitive nature of 24 the other day with a friend of mine, and then later revealing to my parents (Chuck fans) how Chuck will probably get canceled after this season. And then I had an epiphany for how to save both shows.
First off, we have Chuck. Everyone loves the characters, but rapid change has had to happen to Chuck because they are on borrowed time. We loved him, Casey, Sarah and the relationship with his real-life friends/family. But because the show is on such a short run, they’ve had to change the Chuck character over three seasons. He goes from “why is this happened to me?” to “Ok, I’m starting to get this” to “Now I’m going to a whole other level” and a lot of the audience can be uncomfortable with the Season Three Chuck character.
Then we have 24. Jack Bauer is like Jason Vorhees at this point: He’s awesome. We want to see him be awesome. But it’s really difficult to do eight times over without becoming a mockery because there’s no way to do eight seasons without repeating the same old tired plots (informant gets killed before he divulge information! Mole is tipping off the terrorists! The mastermind is really someone much more evil/powerful!)
If I was in charge of a TV network, I would buy both properties and do a season of 24 featuring Casey, Sarah and (the season 2) Chuck.
Casey is the Bauer character. Bad ass spy who’s a noble patriot and ruthlessly efficient.
Sarah is the Renee character on this season of 24: substitute “love” for “emotional basketcase” and you’ve got a hero who’s good at her job, but not the complete pure awesome spy that Bauer/Casey is.
Chuck (season two) is like Chloe when she’s running point on a tactical mission: Provide intel, but not really a bad ass. She moves all the plots along, and is uniquely qualified to help the pure spy.
In Chuck, we never see the analysts work, it’s all provided by Beckman.
In 24, we never see any kind of real-world items. It’s all ignored for 24 straight hours of action.
Chuck, in season 1 & 2, gave equal concern/attention to the missions of his personal life (relationship with sister, job at the Buy More) something they’ve completely abandoned in season three. Which is something 24 sorely lacks.
And the mission aspect of 24 is something Chuck has kind of glossed over as they focus on the relationships/changes of the main characters in season three.
Combining the two shows, you’d get the benefit of letting Chuck be Chuck (likewise Walker and Casey) without constant changes to the essence of the character, and so fans could just enjoy the character. And you’d also get the ability of filling 24 hours without resorting to the same old mole/lead chase/escalating villains formula 24 uses, because you’d have Buy More/Sister missions in between the action.
The secret/hard part would be to find the balance between the light Chuck tone, and the serious drama of 24. Which I think could be done. The idea is to use the lightness to poke fun at some of the things we see in 24 that could be comedic fodder, but leave it to the audience to find the humor. Enter Morgan.
Have Morgan be on a mission to pick up a package and deliver it to CTU. Only have the package be food, so they can actually eat something.
Have someone escorted out of the building in the first episode because they had ties to a terrorist organization, before they can be a mole, and then have a mole-free season.
Have someone enter the restroom before a commercial break, and exit upon return from break.
But treat the missions as ridiculously serious, well choreographed, dramatic events.
That could totally work.