alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 
 V.15 No.38 | September 21 - 27, 2006 

Idiot Box

Da Bomb, Baby!

“Jericho” on CBS

Every fall, I await with a certain amount of dread the influx of new shows about doctors, lawyers, cops and forensic examiners. Since the success of serialized dramas like “24,” “Prison Break” and “Lost,” however, networks have started to think slightly outside the box. This season, for example, we’ll be seeing a whole host of hour-long shows in which people have careers beyond “the big four.” The shows (like NBC’s “Heroes” and ABC’s “The Nine”) seem intent on inventing unusual situations in which to place their cast of characters. That’s no guarantee of quality, of course, but it holds at least the promise of something fresh.

Among CBS’ contributions to this new breed of situation-based dramas (let’s call them “sitdrams”), is the series “Jericho.” The situation, in this case, is the fight for survival in post-apocalyptic America. Sounds exciting enough, but don’t get your hopes up for carloads of Mad Max-inspired action.

Things begin quietly enough with 32-year-old Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich, Scream) returning to his tiny hometown of Jericho, Kan., after a mysterious five-year absence. Turns out Jake is the black sheep son of the town’s mayor (Gerald McRaney, a little hard to cozy up to after his vicious turn on the last season of “Deadwood”). After a quick run-through of all the usual prodigal son activities (tearful reunion with mom, angry fight with dad, brief run-in with now-engaged ex-girlfriend), Jake decides to skip town once again. Unfortunately, his plans are sidelined by a huge mushroom cloud blooming on the horizon.

In short order, communications are cut off, power is dead and the townies are freaking out. Is this the start of World War III? (Those ominous news reports about the president and “world tensions” would lead us to believe so.)

“Jericho” plays like a serialized version of the 1983 TV movie The Day After (except there doesn’t seem to be any radiation) combined with the 1996 theatrical thriller The Trigger Effect (except the townspeople’s “let’s all go nuts and turn on one another” moment only seems to last about two minutes). The big drama in the first ep revolves around an elementary school bus full of kids that has gone missing. Naturally, Jake finds it and brings it back. Crisis averted.

For a series about surviving the aftereffects of a nuclear attack that may or may not have wiped out the entire United States, “Jericho” is awfully low-key. The pilot’s biggest moment of tension revolves around that most cliché of TV operations, the emergency tracheotomy. (“I need a pen!” screams our hero Jake, who has conveniently learned the procedure from a stint in the military--or from watching any TV medical drama ever produced.)

“Jericho” tries to pump up audience emotions with its sentimental piano score and selection of sappy pop ballads, hoping to lure viewers into caring about how small-town America bands together to survive a crisis. But there’s just not enough reason to give a damn about any of these hastily drawn characters and their retro-’50s bomb-induced isolation. Go hunt up a copy of Panic in the Year Zero! instead.

“Jericho” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. on KRQE-13.

 
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    ICEAGE / HELM
    ICEAGE / HELM11.5.2014