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STUDIO: Paramount / CBS
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 347 minutes
- Audio Commentary on select episodes
- Alternate Ending
- Rebuilding Jericho
- Nut Job
- Deleted Scenes
The aftermath of a post apocalyptic civil war in a small Kansas town
Directors: Steve Boyum, Christopher Leitch, John Peters, Steve Gomer, Guy Norman Bee, Scott Peters, Seith Mann
Writers: Jonathan E. Steinberg, Carol Barbee, Stephen Scaia, Matthew Federman, Joy Gregory, Robert Levine, Rob Fresco, Dan Shotz
Cast: Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Michael Gaston, Alicia Coppola, Kenneth Mitchell, Shoshannah Stern, Sprague Grayden, Stanley Richmond, Erik Knudsen, Ashley Scott, April D. Parker, Chris Kramer, Daniel Benzali, George Newbern, Esai Morales, Emily Rose, Xander Berkeley, D.B. Sweeney
The military ends the civil war between Jericho and New Bern and brings in the new government forces of The Allied States of America. However, the citizens of Jericho know the government is corrupt and have lied about the original nuclear attacks. The race is on to prove to the independent state of Texas that the new government is corrupt before they choose sides, swinging the scales of power.
Jericho was a unique television series. In much the same way that Family Guy was cancelled and then brought back due to fan support. Unfortunately for those fans, the returning season was a mid season pickup that only lasted seven episodes and then was shut down again. The show runners were on the ball enough to end the series in a very satisfying way, while also leaving open the chance to return once again. Fans have been hoping to get their show back on another network, such as Sci-Fi, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Jericho had one thing going against it from the start. Over the last few years, America has proven it just doesn’t want to see anything about the war. Whether it is the war in Iraq, a fictional war or, in this case, a civil war in our own country, the majority of fans have turned their backs on anything concerning a war.
The second season of Jericho starts immediately following the civil war between the towns of Jericho and New Bern. The war killed numerous people and helped cause the death of Jake’s (Skeet Ulrich) father. It ended when a number of military planes flew into the war zone and bombed the battlefield. A new military comes in and locks down the town, ending the war between the towns and starts to rebuild society.
The new society is the Allied States of America and the new capital is based out of Cheyenne. The flags have been changed to represent that only America west of the Mississippi has come aboard the new union, while everything to the east has been de-militarized and is under U.N. control. Texas is the wildcard, refusing to choose a side as of yet, and is considered the trump card for whichever side they take. Furthermore, Iran and North Korea were the scapegoats to the nuclear attacks that crippled the United States and no one believes it was an inside job anymore.
My biggest complaint about the season is the lead, Skeet Ulrich. I sometimes think he caught whatever his Scream costar Neve Campbell has because every time I see him in a scene he looks like he is inches away from crying. I know he lost his father and is supposed to be distraught the entire season, but damn if he doesn’t look just too damn pathetic to be the big hero on the show. Buck up, little panda, it’s not so bad. Luckily, he is surrounded by a great cast of characters, many of which would seem to be a better leader than he does.
Lennie James is my favorite character from the show as Robert Hawkins, the one man who knows for a fact the nuclear attacks were an inside job. He has the final nuclear bomb, the only one not detonated in the attacks, and spends much of the season gathering evidence needed to convince Texas that Cheyenne is a corrupt government. A new character appears in the first episode named Chavez (Chris Kramer), who proves to be instrumental in helping him get the first pieces of that evidence.
The best new character is Major Beck (Esai Morales), the military official sent in to govern Jericho. He works for the bad guys but you know from the first time you meet the man that he is a good guy at heart. Throughout the entire season he is torn between his duty as a military official for the Allied States of America and his conscious as he understands that everything is not as black and white as his bosses want him to believe. Out of all the characters, he is the best new addition and is a wonderful cast member that helps carry the action of this final season.
There are a number of subplots for such a short season including a corporation called Jennings & Rall sent to Jericho to help rebuild the economy. We see through the season there is more to this company than meets the eye. Also making its return to the show is the private military company Ravenwood. Another storyline strung throughout season 2 include Gray Anderson’s attempts to gain the position of mayor and reclaim part of the responsibility for running the town. Finally, much time is given to the relationship between Stanley Richmond and Mimi Clark and their eventual engagement. It is an important grounding point and is used to show how townspeople not involved in the military/conspiracy arcs are starting to rebuild their lives.
Overall, for a seven episode season this one is solid and works very well. The plotline is one of the better ones I have seen on network television in a long time and the acting carries all the scenes to an entertaining level. It is highlighted by both Major Beck and Hawkins. Both men are great in their roles as two men on separate sides of the same coin. If Skeet Ulrich had played his role better I think it would have been nearly a perfect season. More shows need writing this solid but unfortunately when they do occur, they don’t last very long.
I find it interesting to see where this show might have gone if it had been renewed. Season 1 started with a low key civil war between two warring towns. Season 2 included the setting up of a new government and a wonderful setup of where Season 3 would have culminated in a large scale civil war between the United States and the Allied States. I don’t feel the show would have gathered any new viewers for reasons mentioned above, but the seeds planted leave enough to the imagination to see how the creators were setting up something very large scale for the future of the show. As it is, the ending of the series, with both the original end and the alternate cliffhanger gives fans everything they could want in this show’s swan song.
There are commentary tracks on every episode and they are all entertaining and informative. A number of different people are brought on board for each episode and the mixture of cast and crew members make each commentary fresh and give new information from everyone’s point of view. I think my favorite quote from the commentary tracks was when they compared Jake and Hawkins to Batman and Superman. Hearing that, a lot of the ideas behind the show made a lot more sense.
The best extra on the DVD is the alternate ending, a cliffhanger that would have set up the Season 3 story arc. I won’t mention exactly what the cliffhanger was, but will say it would have forced Jake to return to enemy territory for another fight. It was a great cliffhanger and should peak the imagination of all the show’s fans. It also gives Lennie James one last big scene as Hawkins. There are also three deleted scenes from earlier episodes.
Rebuilding Jericho (25:58) is a featurette about the cancellation of the show and its eventual return. It is a really fun and informative feature and talks about the storylines, special effects and acting during the season. Nut Job (09:47) is about the fan’s work to help bring the show back. It is interesting to hear fans express their displeasure at giving their time to the show only to not get an ending to the story.
8.0 out of 10