Jericho -- an early look
CBS has been heavily promoting this new drama (if you watched The U.S. Open, it was teased approximately 2000 times), and we gave our quick first impressions several weeks ago, but here's a little more about the show.
Basically, it's The Day After: The TV Show. A loner (Skeet Ulrich) goes back to his small hometown in Kansas, just to stay for the day, to finish some business, when some sort of nuclear (?) explosion happens in the distance, perhaps Denver. The town is completely cut off from the outside world. They can't communicate with anyone. But what worries is that one of the kids in the town was talking to his parents on the phone when the blast occurred. They were in Atlanta, and a blast happened there too. Or did it?
Besides the whole "nuclear war" plot, we have the personal stories of the people in the town that Ulrich has come back to. Ulrich's estranged father (the mayor of the town) and loving mom; the tough teen with the heart of gold; the school kids; former flames, former enemies, new faces in town.
We're starting to see more and more dramas take the Lost/24 route. Not different, standalone stories each week but an all-encompassing mystery that will unfold over the season. Will viewers really want to stick with a show like that, or are shows like Lost a fluke? And what if viewers just "sense" that a show will be canceled soon? They won't put any time into watching it, knowing the mystery will never be solved.
I think Jericho deserves a chance. It's not perfect by any means (I'm not convinced of Skeet Ulrich in the lead role yet, but he's OK, and it has Gerald McRaney - straight off that stagecoach from Deadwood - and Pamela Reed), but it certainly has an intriguing premise, one that certainly had me saying to myself at the end of the pilot, "hmmm, I wonder what's going to happen next?" Obviously, that's what CBS wants to hear from viewers. I just hope that they really run with the paranoia, 50's sci-fi aspect of the show, the small town not knowing what's going on. Is it war with another country? A nuclear accident? Aliens?
I'm sure some of these questions will be answered in later episodes. The show starts on CBS Wednesday, September 20, at 8pm. And we'll have more info on where you can see the show once it hits the web.