The problem with Jericho is that it sees the Apocalypse as an annoying inconvenience for the American way. While the promo image of a child on a rooftop watching as a nuclear bomb detonates in the far horizon is undeniably compelling, the producers of this series have done little to capitalize on the drama that image evokes. Instead, they've opted for a derivative story premise heavy on paranoia and apple pie platitudes.
At its heart, Jericho, like most post-apocalyptic stories, is a western. The prodigal drifter (Skeet Ulrich) rides into the sleepy town of Jericho, Kansas on his prized steed (in this case, a '69 Plymouth) to claim the inheritance his grandfather left him. He of course runs into opposition from the town's mayor (Gerald McRaney) who is also the drifter's father.For reasons yet unexplained, the drifter's mysterious past is called into question. The drifter, jaded as he is, prepares to leave Jericho, but not before saying hello to the town's schoolteacher (Sprague Grayden) and briefly reuniting with his high school sweetheart ( Ashley Scott.) The drifter quickly has enough of the town, especially since it was only a stop full of memories best left forgotten, and heads west for San Diego. As luck would have it, though, his plan is stopped short when his trusty Plymouth is totalled, thanks to his and another driver's rubbernecking a mushroom cloud on the horizon.
It seems Denver was nuked, but whether it was an attack or an accident is unclear, since the resultant electromagnetic pulse has left the town utterly isolated from the outside world. Jericho has become, in effect, the wilderness outpost of civilization. But the denizens of Jericho are either remarkably resilent or blissfully stupid in the wake of this disaster. Sure, there are hints of mass panic, but a few patriotic words from the mayor quickly quell any potential uprising. Even when word eventually comes (via a phone tape message) that Atlanta was also nuked, the citizenry rallies behind the mayor and his message of unity.
None of it is very compelling, much less believable. Even when word comes that Atlanta has also been hit, the citizens become momentarily jittery, but once the mayor gives yet another "We can beat anything if we all work together" speech, the populace nods unanimously in agreement. There's not one word of dissent voiced. Not one. That's not only unrealistic, it's bad writing.
The pilot does set up a few plot points that might develop in coming episodes. There is a mysterious shooting, the mayor's bid for reelection against an opponent who "has his own agenda," budding romance — oh, and those mystrerious nukes — were they accidents or were we attacked? And if so, by whom?
If the Jericho pilot is any indicator, they'd probably be well-advised to answer that question within the next six episodes.Powered by Sidelines