This fall, CBS is introducing a new drama series of apocalyptic proportions, and I have seen the first episode. The series stars Skeet Ulrich (Miracles), Gerald McRaney (Major Dad), and Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey). I guess the big question now is whether or not it is any good.
From CBS' description: "In this time of crisis, as sensible people become paranoid, personal agendas take over and well-kept secrets threaten to be revealed, some people will find an inner strength they never knew they had, and the most unlikely heroes will emerge."
Jericho is based on the premise that America has been attacked with nuclear weapons, and this is what happens in the small town of Jericho. It is not the most original concept – there have been films that have dealt with nuclear strikes on the U.S. – so how will this one stand out? Well, that has yet to be seen, but the pilot gets us off to a good start.
The pilot episode does what any good pilot should do — it gives us our setting, introduces us to the primary players, and starts to move those pieces into place. It all starts with Jake (Skeet Ulrich) returning to town to visit his estranged family and collect a family inheritance. His father is the town's mayor, Johnston (Gerald McRaney), who is the proxy in charge of disbursing the inheritance, and the two do not get along. Their reunion does not go well, save for the interference run by Jake's mother. This becomes a secondary concern as outside forces conspire to affect the town and all its inhabitants.
As a mushroom cloud appears on the horizon, the town is thrown into a frenzy, with situations ranging from a missing schoolbus to panicked townsfolk getting all they can at the gas station and markets to the police trying to keep order in the face of the unthinkable.
The show begins as a family drama surrounding the mayor’s prodigal son, but quickly takes a turn as the nuclear attack happens. The story suddenly becomes a lot bigger, even when confined to this small town.
The second episode kicks the drama up even more, as the fact that a new war may have been started slowly dawns on the populace. The characters begin to take on better focus as we move into the story. The fear and panic that begins to grip the town is palpable — each person dealing with it differently.
The series feels genuine. How would you react if you knew there was a nuclear strike not far from where you lived? You are cut off from the rest of the world, there is no new information coming in, and then the more immediate threat kicks in.
I haven't given you a lot of information to go on, but this could prove to be a very good series and you want to discover something for yourself, right?
Jericho looks like it could be a hit for CBS. I have had the pleasure of seeing rough cuts of the first two episodes, and I am happy to report I am eagerly looking forward to the third. I like the premise, I like the performances, and I look forward to seeing where it may be going.
Jericho premieres on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 at 8PM. I recommend you check it out.