Since it first appeared in November of 2001, 24 has been the media driven idea behind how the public probably wishes we fought terrorists. It is comforting to feel that some secret or clandestine organization patrols our interior against forces seen and unseen. We would like to think that computer and techie geniuses are teaming with super badass government operatives to take down these terrorist bastards. This probably is not the case, and I get the sense that fighting terrorism, while noble, is probably a great deal more boring in real life. 24 allows us the chance to feel though that others, much smarter and braver than us, have a good handle on the situation.

In many ways 24 came at the perfect time from a ratings standpoint with domestic terrorism so much on the forefront of our minds. Only two months before the series premiere, September 11th rocked the United States and the world. 24’s focus on the fight against a terrorist plot to assassinate a Presidential candidate introduced us to a totally new brand of television. Besides the real –time aspect, innovatively awesome in its own right, it brought a little comfort to think we were actually fighting back against the bad guys. While slightly less comforting was the thought that operatives inside our own government were working for the wrong side, the intrigue was timely and real world applicable.

With the word that next year 24 heads to New York City I can’t help but think a few things. One, this is probably the best setting for a format like 24. Being in such close proximity to so many major landmarks and places of cultural reference should make the season visually impressive. 24 incorporated a number of different Washington, DC landmarks this season and worked them seamlessly into the story. Taking 24 out of Los Angeles was the best decision the writers ever made. New York will offer the same benefits. New York is also a compact city with definite borders and since I can’t imagine terrorists plotting against the Bronx or Queens, much of the action will probably be contained from 90th street down to the Bowery. Hell they could have two episodes just chasing someone around Central Park.

But what really strikes me about this location announcement is what it means to us as Americans. A fictitious terrorist plot hatched and carried out in New York City signifies that we have moved sufficiently past 9/11 from a media standpoint. I am not saying we forget. Far from it. Instead, in our cultural landscape we have recovered to the point that playing out a scenario like this doesn’t bring cries of shame, shame, shame. Eight and half years ago 9/11 was too fresh and playing out a similar situation over 24 episodes would have been more than most could bare. I doubt the writers will overtly incorporate the World Trade Center or Ground Zero because 24 works in an alternate reality from ours. But the implications will surely be there.

I think the New York City setting is a step in the right direction. And for those of you 24 purists, do not fret. It is impossible to get anywhere in NYC quickly which will offer numerous, “Backup is ten to twenty minutes out” scenarios.

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