Jose’s Top 5 TV Shows: #5 – JERICHO


My fifth favorite show of all time is JERICHO, which is centered on the town of Jericho, Kansas, and how its inhabitants deal with the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United States. Jericho’s citizens are isolated with no power and communications with the outside world, and the status quo in the town is completely disrupted. While some of the towns people try to maintain order and help each other, neighbors turn against each, and suspicions run rampant as to what exactly did happen during the attack. Skeet Ulrich stars as Jake Green, son of the town’s mayor, who returned to Jericho just before the attack after a long and mysterious absence. Lennie James plays Robert Hawkins, who recently moved into town before the attacks with his family, but appears to be hiding something.

I’ll be honest that I was not completely sold on Jericho when it was first announced. I thought CBS would skimp on the time and attention needed to develop this type of post-apocalyptic storyline and cancel it before it could cultivate a following. When I saw the premiere, though, I was completely blown away by how well the show built up the tension leading up to the “money shot” of the mushroom cloud. The positive reaction continued throughout the next episodes as the show presented its various mysteries (who caused the attacks? is anyone else out there?) as well as addressing some of the dilemmas faced by the townfolk (where do we get power? where do we get food?) in the days and weeks after the attacks. This was always done in a methodical manner without any cliched shortcuts or bad TV writing, at least to where you wouldn’t notice. The show’s characters felt very authentic, especially in their actions and motivations (even if you may not understand them at the time).

Jericho was only on the air for two seasons from 2006 to 2008, but I wholeheartedly recommend watching the show’s DVDs as an opportunity to see how a show can be great while tackling a difficult concept like a post-apocalyptic America. It does have its secrets and mysteries, but the show tries to answer them over the season, not by spoon feeding them to the audience but working them into the plot. There’s also the scale of of what Jericho is trying to tackle, where a town tries to keep it together and survive when no one can help. I think it’s also important to see this show because it has such a loyal fanbase, which convinced CBS to bring the show back on the air after the network originally cancelled it at the end of its first season. I think once you see Jericho you will become a fan of it as well.

Follow me on Twitter @josedaemons