Jericho is one of the new shows from CBS this season and I'm here to tell you it is one compelling show. When I say compelling I mean it quite literally. I felt compelled to keep watching (I also saw the 2nd episode of the season).
Why did it suck me in so effectively? Well let's get to a description of the show first (and stick with me, the review starts with the negative but doesn't end that way).
The show opens at a train station in Denver, Colorado, followed by a shot of someone taking the cover off of a 1960-something model muscle car (I'm not an expert, I think it was a Barracuda). Cut to the driver, a handsome, scruffy, young 30-something guy (Skeet Ulrich as Jake Green) headed for Jericho, Kansas. My first impression was "cliché". By that I mean I saw a fairly stereotypical "cool guy" lead character, complete with three-day beard growth, cool classic car, etc. My thoughts continued on that path when he arrived in town and a friend he hasn't seen in five years is overjoyed to see him, gives Jake a bear hug, and we cut to Jake's fairly disinterested face. Add "disconnected cool" to the cliché character traits, I thought.
The cliché was compounded by the fact he gave a different answer to anyone who asked where he'd been for five years. Army, minor league baseball, Navy, etc. Then he runs into an old girlfriend (gorgeous, of course) who just happens to be engaged (not married, hence, available) to a rich banker-type (visions of Roadhouse popped into my head). Oh, we also had the "disappointed" dad (played by the always enjoyable to watch Gerald McRaney) who didn't like his son's apparent drifter existence.
Enough set up. The main plot point of this show is the exploding of — what seems to be only one — nuclear bomb visible off in the distance on the horizon, and what life is like for the town afterward. This is where the show really had my wife and me riveted and wanting to see what happened next.