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TV Preview: Jericho

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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.

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About Draven99

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joan Hunt

    Congrats! This article has been placed on Advance.net

  • SteveK

    I feel I just wasted an hour. Bad writing, bad editing, bad special effects. Decent cast.

    And the commercials: didn’t they have enough film to flesh out an hour !? Sorry, if you want better
    post-nuke “limited” war, read an older book titled “War Day” or the British movie “Threads” to start with. Sanitized war does not exist in reality.

    Steve K

  • Tim-o

    Sorry SteveK, but this writing is pretty good–for network TV. Great, in fact. The reveal of Atlanta being hit was pure genius. I agree, “Threads” or “The Day After” are closer to what it may be like, but it’s possible that miles from the blast that what we saw in “Jericho” would be happening–confusion, panic, and the beginnings of a survival struggle. The big question–can they keep it going?

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    I didn’t see confusion or panic– I saw a lame excuse for drama helmed by the guy from “Simon and Simon.” The citizens of Jericho are sheep at best, zombies at worst.

  • Chris

    I started watching Jericho and there is no denying that the premise is interesting but it is just SO unbelievably dumb now. They are talking about divorce, putting out fires in buildings that don’t matter and otherwise carrying on with pointless things that would not matter during an apocolypse. I am dissappointed that I have given four weeks to this show.

  • Dave

    Just watched the Oct. 18th show: library catches fire, misc. romance themes. TRASH! “When the power got turned off so we wouldn’t get electrocuted when we tried to stop the fire it turned off the water pressure too – let’s check another hydrant out back” says the firefighter. Then they go up to a water tower, where there is a valve stuck. “When the power went off it fried the solenoid” “Oh my God – how do you know that?” Unbelievable dialogue. Then the guy uses his rifle to pry open the valve, like there was nothing else in his truck (like a tire iron, for example). The whole thing is just bad writing, cliches, and I see the series getting cancelled soon.

  • Grace

    LOVE JERICHO, LOVE GERALD MCRANEY!
    I WATCH IT EVERY WEEK!
    CAN’T WAIT FOR IT’S RETURN FEB. 14TH.

  • Bliffle

    Watched it a couple times but it didn’t live up to the premise.

  • Jess

    Hey, I am just posting up a reminder that on next Tuesday (Feb 20) Jericho will be hosting an Inside Jericho live talk show. It will be hosted by Entertainment Weekly’s Lynette Rice, and there will be guest speaker appearances by Jericho’s producer/writer/actor Carol Barbee and actor Skeet Ulrich. Don’t miss out! Be sure to go on at 10am pt/1pm et.

  • Benoit

    The premise is great. However, as the story unfolded, it became crystal clear to me the writers had no intentions of recognizing a realistic apocolypse. There are numerous inconsistancies regarding gas, food, shelter, electricity, etc..etc..but the flaw that made me stop watching this program was the character “Hawkins” & everything that surrounds him. He apparently isnt subject to the entire towns plight. He drives a large old Cadillac frequently, yet never needs gas. Food, shelter, & electrcity for his numerous gadgets is endless. His story is more about the love of his family & the top secret operation he is involved in. In my opinion its another network farce, where the Black man overachieves at everything & anything he does. He is incredibly intelligent, strong, caring, & clever. He is righteous & deeply moral while he saves the world. In 45 years of life I never met that Black man, he exists only on TV. Less than 3% of FBI is black. Yet blacks represent the largest % in HS dropout rates, fatherless children, violent crime & prison inmates. He is none of these. Like all Black movie/TV actors he is the exact opposite. Brainwashing propaganda, that simple.

  • Maria

    Just great. From Spain I can tell you I really like it. :o)

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