I missed this back when it originally aired on CBS, but since Matt and I have been on a survival show kick lately and we needed something to tide us over while waiting for the second season of Dual Survival to show up on Netflix, we decided to give Jericho a chance. I think I initially avoided it because of its main premise, which is that most of the US is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. I mean, I still have nightmares from watching The Day After as a kid, and giving too much thought to nuclear war tends to leave me holding myself while I rock back and forth. But I know this show had a rabid fan following, and I have a certain fondness for Skeet Ulrich, and like I said, we’re on a survival kick, and we thought, just maybe this show will have something to teach us.
Well, not so much. You guys, I really wanted this show to be great. I mean, the people who love this show really LOVE this show, and I wanted to love it too. But it’s… I don’t know. It’s like it’s not just the Hollywood version of a plucky small town full of plucky survivors living outside of the fallout zone of a post-nuclear wasteland, but it’s the CBS version of that, you know? And it’s this weird dichotomy of good actors giving straight-faced, heartfelt performances against cheap production values and lazy writing that’s full of plot holes and painfully obvious that the writers and producers couldn’t even be arsed to do a lazy Google/Wikipedia version of research about anything. And while I’m the sort who is normally able to suspend my disbelief fairly easily and overlook things like obvious stunt doubles (for “stunts” like walking out a door?) and palm trees and mountains showing up in Kansas (it’s like they’re not even trying to hide them), Matt is not that sort of person and it pulls him out of the story every time–and then he has to pause it and point out the gaffes to me.
All of that said, I think I do kind of love this show. We’re almost finished with the first season, and I will say that the story–if not necessarily the writing–is getting better. The Touched By An Angel quality has diminished as the town begins to face actual hardship, and the fact that this town in the beginning seems extremely lucky and barely touched by The End Of The World As We Know It actually becomes a plot point. It’s a very character-driven show, and a little soapy, which makes it a little easier to overlook a lot of the implausibilities. It’s frustrating, because this show really could have been excellent if the production staff seemed to care half as much about it as the actors, but there are parts of it that are good, and parts of it that are so bad, and it’s a little bit unintentionally campy, but it’s all entertaining. And as much as we both complain to each other about this show’s problems, we’re still compelled to keep watching it. As much as I have to say that I can see why it was cancelled, I have a feeling I’m going to bemoan its cancellation regardless once I get to the end.
There’s still a hue and cry among this show’s fans for it to be brought back into production. What I would rather see is a remake — even as anti-remake as I usually tend to be — helmed by someone like J. J. Abrams or Joss Whedon or Ronald D. Moore or somebody who cares about making shows good. Regardless of your opinion of the original, tell me that that would not be pure awesome.