Tuned In

Is Tony Dead? No, Not That One. This One.

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Sifting through the weekend reports from ComicCon, I came across a bit of news from the 24 panel there. OK, so first question: 24 presents at ComicCon why? Maybe we can take it as an admission that the show has become so implausible it should best be treated as science fiction. That, at least, is the conclusion I draw from the news, which is that Tony Almeida may not be so dead after all.

My gut said: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, after all, we essentially saw Tony die in Jack Bauer’s arms. But then my head said, Well, maybe there’s a good explanation. Let’s see what the producers had to say:

“Tony’s death wasn’t satisfying,” executive producer David Fury said after the session.

Let’s check the gut again. Nope! Still stupid! Note that Fury–a Buffy/Angel/Lost alum whose work I generally like–didn’t say “Tony’s apparent death.” He said “Tony’s death.” Since this show is not Buffy, you still only get one death. Not satisfying? Hey, I’m sure mine won’t be, either. Pretty sure I won’t get a do-over, though.

People in the drama business like to talk about a little something called “stakes”: the notion that viewers become invested in characters because they make actual sacrifices and risk actual dangers. When death on a TV show becomes essentially reversible–unless you actually see someone dismember the corpse and burn the parts–it kinda tends to undermine them. And on a show like 24, when the stakes for the characters go away, the stakes for the show are very high.

Edgar, though–they can resurrect him anytime.