Open thread for the start of the 7th season of 24 (UPDATE: LIFE IMITATES ART?)

After skipping a season due to a writer’s strike, the producers of 24 gave us 24 junkies a two hour pre-season teaser back on November, and now it’s time for the 7th season of 24 to officially begin. It’s four hours long – part one airing tonight, and the other airing tomorrow night (8 PM ET both nights – on Fox).

Here’s a preview:

Set in Washington, DC, “Day 7” opens four years after Season Six with CTU dismantled and Bauer on trial. Bauer’s day takes an unexpected turn when former colleague TONY ALMEIDA (Carlos Bernard) returns. Meanwhile, newly elected President ALLISON TAYLOR (Cherry Jones) leads the country alongside White House Chief of Staff ETHAN KANIN (Bob Gunton) and First Gentleman HENRY TAYLOR (Colm Feore).

A national security crisis prompts an investigation by a team of FBI agents including JANIS GOLD (Janeane Garofalo), RENEE WALKER (Annie Wersching), LARRY MOSS (Jeffrey Nordling) and SEAN HILLINGER (Rhys Coiro). Although CTU is no longer, CHLOE O’BRIAN (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and BILL BUCHANAN (James Morrison) are back for another momentous day of shocking events.

I’m glad to read that Rick Moran will be providing his excellent post-show recaps again this year. That guy performs a service for 24 fans everywhere, especially the ones who had to miss the show for whatever reason and didn’t TiVo it.

I’m trying to finish putting together an office cabinet before the show starts. I’ll try to be around to join in the comments for anyone watching and posting at the same time.

Update – 10:24 PM: Life imitates art right here in Charlotte?

Chris Gray-Garcia was flying home to Washington D.C. this afternoon from a funeral in Denver, Colo. when he felt his America West Airlines flight suddenly jerk up and abort its landing at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

The Airbus A321 began to make a fresh approach to the runway, and seconds later its pilot explained over the intercom: “Unfortunately, there was another plane on the runway.”

Gray-Garcia was shaken but relieved. “It seemed we were 30 to 100 feet off the ground and we had to pull up pretty quickly” he said. “It turned out fine, but I must say it was a little scary.”

As it turns out, he and other passengers on the full Flight 1522 were never in danger, a Federal Aviation Administration official said today. But they could have been if not for quick reactions by a Charlotte/Douglas air traffic controller and the pilots flying 1522.

“These ‘go-around’ procedures are not uncommon” said Kathleen Bergen, an FAA spokeswoman in Atlanta. “At Charlotte/Douglas, you probably have one or two ‘go-arounds’ a day. It’s a safety procedure. It ensures that no plane lands unless the runway is completely cleared.”

Today, Gray-Garcia’s flight was about a mile from runway 36C – and about 300 feet off the ground – when a controller noticed a departing plane, America West flight 1525, had rolled too slowly onto the same runway. America West is a part of US Airways.

The controller instructed the incoming pilot to pull up and execute a go-around. But here’s where there was apparent confusion: The controller sent the departing plane in a direction that was meant for the incoming one.

Hmmmm …

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