Jericho Season 2
Tuesday, 10:00 p.m. EST
starring: Skeet Ulrich, Ashley Scott, Kenneth
Mitchell, Brad Beyer, Alicia Coppola, Michael Gaston, Sprague Grayden, Esai Morales
You know, I’m always behind a fan-led rebellion against the corporate America that cancels a TV show. And when that campaign actually works? Awesome. Fans saved Jericho by sending tons and tons of nuts to CBS corporate offices, leading them to renew the show for seven episodes to, at least, wrap up the story. Go fans! However, sometimes when this happens, the show you’ve saved is Jericho. And that’s not always a good thing.
Jericho started off weakly last season. I mean, for a show about a nuclear attack that destroys the U.S., leaving a small Kansas town to fend for itself against enemies internal and external, it was astonishingly meh. The set up was fantastic. I loves me a good apocalypse story, and by focusing on the little people just trying to survive and make their way in a brand new world … what could possibly go wrong?
Well, for starters, they cast Skeet Ulrich as the lead character. Now, it's not that he’s spectacularly bad, he’s just … kind of there. No personality. Charisma-free, if you will. But not so charisma free that, Keanu-like, it actually goes out the other side and becomes actual charisma. Then, they saddled this prodigal-son character type with a ridiculous back-story involving the middle-east, an obvious Blackwater stand-in, and a sad-sack partner he helped get killed. Yawn. And let’s not even get into Lennie James as Robert “I was a cop in St. Louis” Hawkins.
The single worst move they made, however, was framing the main character’s romantic prospects around so-charisma-free-she-comes-keanu-like-out-the-other-side-and-then-dives-back-in-to-sucking again Ashley Scott character. Instant hate by almost everyone. It was so bad that when Ulrich had more obvious chemistry with Sprague Grayden’s Heather they made a ridiculous move to take her off-screen as if we would be so desparate for romance we would accept Ulrich and Scott together at the end of the season. It’s basically Smallville’s Lana problem.
But anyway, toward the end of the season actual plot developed, and the show allowed some characters with actual personality to assume center stage (Hi, Stanley and Mimi) and killed off some of the more annoying (you are not missed, April). Unfortunately, Ashley Scott’s Emily is still alive. They all but redeemed themselves when, as one of the final images of Season One, they showed us Heather looking at a new flag of the Country, promising intrigue to come.
So, Season Two is finally here, and I still have a burning question: shouldn’t the apocalypse be more exciting than this?
What works: There are nuggets here of the potential the series has always shown. The plot is moving along as we’re getting more information about the new nation forming out of the west. The series seems to be taking on more of an epic feel. This could be both good and bad.
The addition of Esai Morales as the military leader is promising, as is the attention paid to Stanley and Mimi. And the first episode feature Heather in a prominent role which seems like it will be important later. There are a lot of pieces here that could really work.
What doesn’t: We still have Emily around. And Ulrich is still our lead. Heather is absent from the second episode, which is not promising at all. I can’t even be intrigued anymore when Hawkins talks about the bomb he has in his basement. We’re supposed to take as fact that this new government is eeeevil when we’re shown no eamples of them being, actually, evil. Misguided and heavy-handed? Sure? Shifty? You bet? They have apparently commisioned some evile tetbooks, and they are getting ready to re-write the constitution. These things are defenitely not good, but if they’re the big bad, they’re not there yet. So, once again… the apocalypse = boring. That shit is not right.
Bottom line: I’ll watch this season, and post here if it gets better, but for now … yes, the apocalypse really should be more exciting than this.