UGO scored an exclusive interview with 24 co-creator Joel Surnow which covers the third season, season 3 DVD, repeats on FX, a possible Donald Sutherland guest spot, 24 Conspiracy, and more.
UGO: Hey Joel, what are you up to?
JOEL SURNOW: Editing, writing, interviewing, a bunch of stuff. You name it.
UGO: What is your favorite single episode from the third season?
JOEL: Probably the episode where Ryan Chappelle [Paul Schulze] was shot and killed. It was just a great episode all the way through. It put Kiefer’s character in a difficult position.
UGO: What do you think changed in the season three of 24?
JOEL: We sort of jumped ahead to Jack’s daughter grown up and working at CTU. Jack had quit CTU but we really played him as having been burned. He came back as a heroin addict. We just kept moving the story along and put it at different places in season three.
UGO: Do you like doing the commentary?
JOEL: Yeah, it’s great. I think it’s valuable for our fans to get into the heads of the people who make the show. We watch it critically and try to remember where our heads were at.
UGO: Season three is a big landmark for the show because the show will definitely reach the point where it could be syndicated and you know it’s going to be sticking around. How did it change for you?
JOEL: We just do the best show we can. We came up with a storyline last season about the link between drug traffickers and terrorists and biological weapons. That and Jack fighting his addiction became the main storyline for the show. I can’t talk about it too globally; we were just trying to put Jack in a new place as we had in previous seasons. Season one he was trying to get together with his family, season two he had quit CTU and come back for the day and then he was a heroin addict.
UGO: Was killing Nina Meyers — among others — very controversial for you guys?
JOEL: It’s one of things we do. We will sometimes tale series regulars and kill them off in the middle of the season. It keeps our audience off-balance; we don’t want to become too predictable. It’s all organic to the story.
UGO: I read that when they reran episodes of 24 on FX they didn’t do very well.
JOEL: That wasn’t a well- choreographed repurposing. I think the show will do well in broadcast cable syndication.
UGO: What does having the DVDs come out so quickly do for the show?
JOEL: The DVDs gets more people involved with the show. We hear from a lot of people that they like to sit and watch the entire season in a weekend. A lot of people who are buying the DVDs want to see them all continuously.
UGO: Will we ever see Donald Sutherland make an appearance?
JOEL: It’s possible. We don’t have a plan for it.
UGO: How did the plan for the fourth season preview to be put on the season three DVD come about?
JOEL: It’s not usually done. But it hit the street about a month before season four so we thought it would be a nice tie-in. It’s part of the story as well.
UGO: Will Tony, Michelle, or Kim return in guest-starring roles?
JOEL: It could happen. Tony and Michelle definitely, but I don’t know about Kim.
UGO: How involved are you with the 24 shows that are going to be on people’s mobile phones?
JOEL: Not at all. They can’t use any of our characters.
UGO: Have you seen the Conan O’Brien parody, “60?”
JOEL: It’s hilarious. I sent Conan a note actually.
UGO: What superpower would you like to have?
JOEL: I’d like not to have to write.
UGO: What are your favorite DVDs?
JOEL: The Office and Tombstone with Kurt Russell.