As the Rolling Stones once sang, you can't always get what you want. And so it is for TV as well. For a variety of reasons - network decisions, production demands, behind the scenes developments - sometimes what happens or doesn't happen isn't what we would've wanted. Even though that might have been a good thing, even if we completely understand why, we can't help but wonder 'what if.'
This TV season has had quite a few of those moments, whether it's plot twists that broke our hearts, cancellations we wish we could reverse, or just things we would have enjoyed seeing even if they had no real place in the story.
Here are a half-dozen things we wish would've happened (or not happened!) on television. While there are perfectly good reasons for what actually happened in all six cases, we can't help but indulge in a little wishful thinking. WARNING: There are some spoilers that follow.
1. There should've been a different ending to 24: Live Another Day
It was fantastic to see Jack Bauer return for another thrill ride this summer, and for the most part, The Powers That Be got it right. Then there was that ending. Frustratingly open and just plain depressing, it left a bad feeling hanging over what was otherwise a pretty good limited series.
After saving the day for the ninth time, Jack exchanges himself for loyal sidekick Chloe O'Brien, and is taken away via helicopter to face an unknown fate in Russia. It doesn't take a genius to know it's not retirement; the last time he was held by a foreign government, he was tortured for years and came back with a death wish. That's the note you want to leave the audience on? That this character we love so much is likely going to have horrible things happen to him?
While the conclusion to season eight was also vague with Jack on the run, at least it gave viewers hope. Jack was never going to go to Disney World, but he - and the fans - deserved better. If he resurfaces again, let's hope the next day ends on a note that makes Jack's time (and ours) feel more worthwhile.
2. Philip Winchester should've gotten a gun on 24: Live Another Day
One of the coolest things about 24: Live Another Day was the casting of Philip Winchester as Colonel Shaw, one of President Heller's military advisors. As anyone who's seen him as Sgt. Michael Stonebridge on Strike Back knows, Winchester is a heck of an actor.
And that was the problem. Here's an actor who's the co-lead of the best action show on television, on the second-best action show on television, and his role was to stand in meetings and deliver exposition. While he did that so well, it was hard to forget that he's capable of so much more.
It would've made absolutely no sense if somebody had given Shaw a gun and sent him out into the field alongside Jack Bauer, but we found ourselves constantly wishing that would happen. Winchester more than had the physical chops for it, having performed the majority of his own stunt work on Strike Back, from shootouts to stunt driving to incinerator fights. (Just look at this preview for the new season.) And him acting opposite Kiefer Sutherland? It would've been awesome on every level. Alas, we had to content ourselves with seeing one of our favorite actors on another of our favorite programs.