Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jericho Where Art Thou?

Basically, I haven’t been following any primetime TV shows. I’m not doing Lost, Heroes or CSI. Yeah, yeah, but life gets in the way. The one thing I am watching is Jericho, CBS’s post-apocalyptic drama. Sounds funny to have the words post-apocalyptic and drama in the same sentence, but essentially that’s this program’s shtick. It is really bizarre to juxtapose unrequited love and adultery with nuclear fallout and social disintegration but, hey, maybe that’s the appeal for me. I’m what I call a dissonant type of guy. I enjoy putting two seemingly unlike things together just to see what you get. Kinda’ like that Hegel dialectic if ya know what I mean. So, CBS is trying something different, and that is good, right? Sure, I guess.

The show is set in a small Kansas town that looks nothing like Kansas, with residents that struggle to survive the nuking of several major U.S. cities. Jericho’s characters are in the dark about what’s happening outside their one pickup truck berg while interpersonal relationships are pushed to the breaking point. Several characters have shadowy pasts, like Jake, played by Skeet Ulrich, and Hawkins, played by Lennie James. My understanding is Jericho is very Lost-like, but obviously the stakes are much higher as we’re dealing with a huge attack on the good old US of A and not events on some forgotten island. Although, I would say the creators have decided to go light on the nuclear holocaust in favor of soap opera sentiment. In other words, Jericho is like Party of Five meets The Day After.

While trying to do two very different genres in the same show, Jericho just manages to come out on the plus side despite some problems. Strangely, the love and angst tend to be rather predictable and there isn’t enough atomic horror for my fanboy tastes. What holds the show together at this point is the conspiracy of the who, the what, and the why, of the attacks and how the town fits into the scheme of things. Jericho will have to be careful with this though, as an audience can tire of hidden plots that string one along too slowly or for too long. Maybe that’s the reason the show’s creators are infusing it with so much drama. I do think the patience of the audience was finally rewarded with the 12th episode. I now have much more reason to like or be interested in these characters as some secrets and relationships have been revealed in this flashback episode.
The show may fail but I don’t buy “it’s too depressing” line that critics are spouting. After 9-11 and the Iraq debacle, I think Americans can handle a heavy premised program like this. Jericho earned a full season so apparently some folks want a “downer” of show. I genuinely like the actors, especially Ulrich, so if the plots and dialog tighten up we could be in for a good ride. Also, I have a sense after watching episode 12, CBS is willing to spend a little more on the budget. So, maybe I’ll get more of that atomic horror I’m looking for. As big post-apocalyptic fan I’d like this show to succeed. Maybe that’s why I watch it over other programs… …or maybe it’s because CBS had the sense to put it on demand.



ladybug said...

Geez, I'm really out of the loop. I don't even remember hearing about this one.

But then again, I've recently taken to not watching much TV, and seem to be getting alot more done. Probably has something to do w/the fact I feel much better too...

Anyhoo, I guess I'm keeping it light by watching Scrubs, occasionally a scrapbooking show, and my guilty pleasures - The Dailey Show, The Colbert Report and The Sarah Silverman Show.

Anonymous said...

At first glance, I didn't think your post about "Jericho" was going to be positive. I'm glad you like the show--I've been a fan from the beginning.

I kind of bristled at the 'Party of Five meets The Day After', though.

In any good story you have to become familiar with the characters and their situations in order to care what happens to them. I thought the writers did a remarkable job of this in the first half of the season and now we're being rewarded with more information and meatier stories.

To me, this show's quality increases with every episode.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and love the hegel dialectic reference. I love to learn knew words. Me not very smert.

The next few episodes are supposed to be grittier and the clips suggest that. I'm really looking forward to the second half of the season.

Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions! The Secret Rapture soon, by my hand!
Read My Inaugural Address
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Your jaw will drop!

ladybug said...

Hey bubs, looks like you're starting to get spam...perhaps look into the onerous world of word verification?

Overdroid said...

Bring on the Podogs, Death Machines, and cryptic alliances! One of the characters should develop temporal fugue!

Also - I agree that you will have to submit to word verification. Fortunately I can teach you many fun games that make it bearable.

Also - I don't watch this show. I don't have time. But then I don't watch Lost or 24 and I never saw the movie Titanic.

Also - I've been kinda dissapointed by the last few episodes of Galactica. You are no longer dead to me.

Selba said...

These days, I've been watching Kidnapped and Heroes.

Jericho sounds interesting to watch especially I was living in Kansas long time ago and also used to watch Party of Five :D

Dean Wormer said...

I've been meaning to watch that show and now will definetly take a look on your recomendation.

Are there mutant plants and animals as characters?

Swinebread said...

hypatia Yeah there isn’t much comedy, in this show best if you stick to Scrubs.

lola I like the show although the “drama” aspects have been a little forced and I think the quality dipped in the middle of the 1st eleven episodes but I enjoy the actors and the premise. I was pleased with 12 as I said, so I think things are looking up. As for the “'Party of Five meets The Day After” I actually think that would be an interesting show if you could get it to work, It’s just such an odd idea. Jericho has these elements so I feel its good shorthand description. It’s an interesting premise; beside how could I not find the atomic horror/drama aspects intriguing I write a blog called Atomic Romance. ;)

anonymous Glad you like the hegel dialectic I like to put things out there to pretend I’m smart. Also more grit is what I’m looking for.

secret rapture your blog is quite strange and almost unreadable. Sorry, I don’t believe in “the rapture.” it is a rather ridiculous notion whether it involves aliens or not. I love our logo though.

ladybug Uh I think secret rapture is a real person, as I’ve been to his/her blog… weird ideas though… so I’ll leave it for a little while longer.

overdroid I always thought gamma world would make a great cartoon…
Yes, you are a busy guy so TV is out the window, plus Titanic was kinda an event. Watching it now would seem like masturbation.

selba Knowing what little I do about you from your blog, it sounds like you may very well enjoy Jericho, The Jake character seems like your type of guy :D. Sorry to see that you watch Kidnapped as it has been cancelled. Heroes is going strong though.

dean Jericho has some good points as it much closer to home… no big atomic horror stuff at this point… as the show presents a very survivable scenario. I do think the show is a little slow in some spots so watch out for that.

Selba said...

Eh... Kidnapped has been cancelled? What do you mean? Only 1 season and it's already over? or...?

Hopefully, Jericho will be playing in Indonesian cable TV pretty soon, can't wait anymore to watch it!!! :D

Swinebread said...

selba Yeah, Kidnapped was cancelled because it wasn’t popular enough. The ratings were too low. I’ve heard that they did finish up the storyline on the their website

here is a thread that talks about he show being cancelled:

Hopefully you’ll get to see Jericho.

ABC’s site:

Selba said...

Thanks for the url addresses! I'll check it out! :)