Plot: Jericho, Kansas is a small town thrust into chaos in the wake of a nuclear disaster after a device is detonated in Denver. While the town is far enough to survive the blast, the locals soon find themselves in a battle for their land, resources, and basic survival, as tensions rise and dark ambitions surface. Unsure of how extensive the damage is or if this was an isolated detonation, the citizens first await the arrival of government agents or news from the outside world, but that never happens. After a while, the citizens turn to crafting as normal as an existence as possible, with limited resources and various problems that always seem to crop up. As time passes, threats old and new arrive, forcin Jericho’s residents to fight for survival, but can a plucky small town somehow fend off all these invaders and saboteurs? And what happened in the rest of the world after the nukes were detonated?
Entertainment Value: A solid post apocalyptic drama, Jericho was canceled after one season, but in a famous campaign, the fans mailed over 40,000 pounds of peanuts to the CBS offices. As a result, the show was given an extension and seven episodes to wrap up the narrative, which wasn’t the renewal fans wanted of course, but better than most canceled shows are given. I had fun with the show when it was first released on DVD, but it also holds up well for a return visit, which isn’t always the case with dramatic, suspense driven shows like this. Although I knew all of the twists and reveals, the tension is well crafted and builds at such a slow, but consistent pace, you can’t help but get reeled in all over again. The quality is also consistent, with minimal filler and no real dud episodes and that is good news, given that Jericho has a lot of story to tell and not a lot of episodes to work with. I do wish we could have seen the full vision for this one, but at least it was given a last minute stay of execution that allowed for some kind of resolution to be produced.
The cast here is quite good and while I am not a big Skeet Ulrich fan, his performance here is some of his finest work. He is able to balance the dramatic elements and the more action driven moments, with a little humor mixed in as well, so he shows up and brings the heat for this role. Ashley Scott is also terrific as a tough as nails love interest, while Lennie James adds a lot as a mysterious presence that brings tension, as well as a lot of potential directions to the narrative. Gerald McRaney delivers his usual rock solid turn, although the material isn’t as rich for his character as some of his other roles, such as his work on Deadwood. You can also see Pamela Reed, Brad Beyer, Kenneth Mitchell, April Parker-Jones, and Richard Speight, Jr., among others. This complete series collection houses all 29 episodes on 9 DVDs, with an assortment of extras like audio commentary tracks, several behind the scenes featurettes, a look at how the fans saved the show, cast interviews, and an alternate end sequence for the series finale.