I was hooked on Jericho from the first commercial I saw. I made it a point to make room for the show in my appointment TV watching. I easily watched each episode at least twice. The show is far from being cheery, yet it still holds onto a glimmer of hope. It also makes you think about what life would really be like in such a situation.
Jericho is about a small Kansas town and their survival after a nuclear attack on the United States. They have no idea if there are other survivors or if they are alone to rebuild. The show chronicles what would be very real problems like food shortages and looting and then goes a bit further to show war-like skirmishes between neighboring towns that had very different responses as to how to survive.
Jericho is another in the growing popular ensemble-cast thrillers. The thriller aspect comes in from living in a basically post-apocalyptic world. But sprinkled throughout the chaos are stories of the people of Jericho: who they are, their relationships with each other, and what secrets they aren’t telling anyone else. The setup has drawn a lot of comparisons to Lost, just without the supernatural aspect.
What makes Jericho so gripping, and perhaps timeless, is the invisible enemy. Without knowing who is attacking the US or why, it puts a real spin on the plot. I think the mysterious forces behind the nuclear attacks also force the audience to wonder how they would react in such a situation: would they maintain law and order or would it be a free for all?
The casting of the show also works in its favor. Skeet Ulrich (Scream) is the lead and is equally strong and vulnerable, which makes his character more compelling. He’s also ridiculously good looking, so you know some love triangles are in for the making. The cast of Jericho is rounded out by Gerald McRaney (Major Dad, Simon & Simon), Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey), Pamela Reed (Proof of Life), Kenneth Mitchell, Lennie James (Sahara), Sprague Grayden, Michael Gaston, Erik Knudsen (Saw II), Brad Beyer, and Shoshannah Stern (Weeds) who is really deaf.
The special features on Jericho: The First Season are fairly typical extras these days. Most of the episodes have deleted scenes, commentary, or even both available to watch. The sixth disc also has two mini-featurettes. The first is called “Building Jericho” and is a behind the scenes look at how the first season of Jericho was made – from audition tapes, to building the back lot, special effects, and even how fan feedback affected the season. The next feature is a mini documentary called “What If” that looks at possibilities of actual nuclear attacks in the past, present, and future. It chronicles the history of nuclear weapons with stock footage and interviews with various people. The feature also discusses responses to disasters, with Hurricane Katrina being a big example of how it can go wrong without a plan in place.
Technically speaking, Jericho: The First Season is in widescreen format, enhanced for 16:9 televisions. The sound is Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround with options for subtitles in English, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese.
I highly recommend Jericho be added to your DVD collection.