Friday, 24 April 2009

Jericho - One Of The Most Underated Shows In The Last Few Years

It was The Dark Knight who started me thinking about Jericho the other day. He was actually the one who got me watching it, and DK I thank you for that. After he wrote on here recently that there's a possible movie coming out alongside a comic based on the series (both of which I can't wait for) I thought I'd post about how aggrieved I feel when a perfectly good series gets sent to cancellation Hell.

Show Synopsis:

After a series of terrorist attacks leave the US in a state of disaster. A small Kansas town must come together to deal with a new reality.

Along with shows like Battlestar Galactica, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (still to be 100% confirmed) Stargate SG-1 & Atlantis, Firefly and many many others, Jericho was a series cancelled well before its time... twice...

Having only lasted one series before it was cancelled, the hordes of Jericho fans out there screamed so loud and had such sway with the studios that a partial second series was released. But alas, longevity was never to be and the ratings just weren't good enough to keep the series going. I applaud and thank the studios for having made that second series based on fan pressure and I have to say that the final episode of series 2 was amazingly tense, action packed and enjoyable. Even the background tension-music that played almost continually through both seasons was awesome and highly effective in itself!

That was what Jericho brought its fans. Tense situations caused by an unthinkable disaster, a mysterious and gripping subplot of a massive government conspiracy, real gritty battles between good people trying to survive in a World where that now seemed impossible and the scum who are only out to help themselves and damn everyone else around them. It showed real people with real emotions, family's and partners new and old trying to make a new lives and relationships when their old ones were destroyed or changed forever. Heroes and villains born from the very situation they are trying to survive and the old allegiance-switcheroo for the audience with characters like Hawkins... (no one ever said he was bad, you just assumed).

The series had a lot to offer the lazy watcher and the intelligent watcher alike. For the lazy watcher there was the action and the hot women (I know I always resort to hot women in a show, but all the female cast were cute and especially Alicia Coppola and Ashley Scott who are amazingly beautiful and talented actresses). For the intelligent watcher there was the real strategic essence of the show where almost every episode Skeet Ulrich's character Jake, and the other inhabitants of Jericho, would have to protect their town with lies, deception, bluffs and in the end guns. These were the things considered "necessary evils" for them to survive in a lawless World... It was almost like one of those old Monkey Island games or 'turn to this page to see what happens next' books. You had to make the right choice or you'd lose and it made you actually think to yourself "what the hell would I do"? Shows like 24 and The Unit are also great at using the old 'tense-decision-making-under-pressure' scenarios, but Jericho felt larger in scale because you had so many characters, a whole town's worth, facing those problems together. On top of that you had the conspiracy and the twists and turns involving Hawkins and the bombs. That was one of the major things that kept you watching, you wanted, no 'needed' to know why it all happened when it was clear the disaster wasn't an accident... Oh have I spoiled it?

Speaking of Skeet Ulrich in the previous paragraph, he's had some bad press in the past it seems. Looking over various forums and blogs I see people saying he's rubbish, that he's the cancellation king and all sorts of other jibes against him and his acting that I find completely unfounded. If you ask me he made this series what it was and was the heart of the entire programme. If he'd left or had been killed off it wouldn't have been Jericho. My only comment is that I wish they'd beefed up his back story a bit more so that he was a little bit more kick-ass, like an actual short term CIA trained & hired hitman or something. Black-ops etc. Nothing over the top, just enough for us guys to respect him that little bit more as the hero of the show. It would have been a neater twist rather than the weaker 'Air America' story, but that's a very minor moan. I completely understand the notion that he's an every-man with a jaded past attempting to do the right thing for everyone around him while fighting inner demons.

Oh and if you want a cancellation king, look no further than Nathan Fillion. Excellent actor and top bloke, but now 3 of his shows have gone down the drain; Firefly, Drive and Castle... I believe the Joss Whedon Curse rubbed off somewhere along the line!

Anyway back to Jericho. If you ever get the chance to grab the DVD's it will definitely be worth your time and money. If the movie, or even the comics for that matter, are anywhere near as enjoyable as the series, I'll be a happy geek. Or of course they could commission a new series, that would be great too, no matter how unlikely! ;)

The main cast of Jericho

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for continuing to blog about Jericho. All of the fans workign together to keep Jericho in the public eye helps. The encore showing of season 2, airs in the US starting this Sunday on The CW.

The shows writers are involved with the comic series and they recently had a meeting. The comic series is due out this fall.