Jericho, you bunch of heathens.
We finally watched Jericho a few months ago, and I’ve kept forgetting to blog about it. Quite simply, I adored it. More specifically, I adored the first season; having looked up wikipedia and read about the issues attending season 2 (ie there wasn’t going to be one, until fans basically militarised, leading to another half-season being filmed to bring the story to a close), I was relieved to discover that yes, it finished way too quickly.
So. Jericho. Post-apocalyptic small town America. Quirky characters, a bit of action, small-town relationships and interactions, not tooo much American gung-ho patriotism (although enough in various bits to have me rolling my eyes), and a rather fascinating look at the possible consequences of targeted nuclear strikes on the US.
Skeet Ulrich, as Jake, carries it for me. He’s the main character: Jericho is his hometown, basically run by his family, but he’s been away for a long time (ooooh sekrits and dubious histories), which allows him to be bewildered by changes and new people, and also form new relationships that would otherwise perhaps not happen. Plus, he’s pretty cute, although the thing with the eyes (if you haven’t seen it, he does this thing where he sort of looks sideways – I can’t describe it very well), which initially was rather charming and quirky, got a bit overdone and tired, much like Mulder’s goofy looks. Brad Beyer, as the fairly goofy Stanley, is also great to watch and a cool character. Most of the women have bit parts; Ashley Scott – Emily – manages occasionally to get in on the action, but is more often cast as the romance; Heather, played by Sprague Grayden, is about the most interesting woman but doesn’t get much of a role really. I enjoyed Mimi (Alicia Coppola), big-city girl stuck in a small town, but there’s only so much mileage to be had out of that.
I was surprised by some of the turn-ups throughout this series. There were a few relationships, for example, which I had thought that an American show couldn’t possibly present in a positive light – a man who leaves his wife for his mistress, in particular. Overall the relationships were a strength of the show. Admittedly, it didn’t break any ground – no homosexual relationships, can’t recall any ‘mixed-race’ couples, etc – but those it did portray had a reality to them that were basically the reason for watching. I liked the tortured family relationships, the new relationships having to overcome suspicion and mistrust, and old relationships having to re-establish themselves.
The plot itself was not the most original in the world – there’s never been a shortage of post-apocalyptic literature, especially in the nuclear age – but it was just convoluted enough to keep me wanting to know more, and also to keep me guessing. The Lennie James character, Robert Hawkins, is the main driver of this. He is so secretive, and has such a complicated background, that I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going to end up for a significant part of the series. I liked him.
Jericho is a great series. It’s also only a season and a half, so if you’re like us and tend to inhale TV series on DVD, it doesn’t consume too much of your time.