'Jericho - The First Season'
(Skeet Ulrich, Sprague Grayden, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2007 / Paramount)
Overview: Jericho is a drama about what happens when a nuclear mushroom cloud suddenly appears on the horizon, plunging the residents of a small, peaceful Kansas town into chaos, leaving them completely isolated and wondering if they're the only Americans left alive. But in this time of crisis, as sensible people become paranoid, personal agendas take over and well-kept secrets threaten to be revealed, some people will find an inner strength they never knew they had and the most unlikely heroes will emerge.
DVD Verdict: I simply love this show and was heartbroken when it was canceled. Imagine my delight, then, when I read about all the fans sending nuts and e-mails to CBS in such volume that the show was revived. Thank goodness there are motivated people out there who work to save us all from mindless and mind-numbing reality shows.
Jericho's strength, to me, is in the idea that what it depicts is entirely possible. I've heard people say it's too depressing a concept for them to want to watch to show but I find it a really fascinating look at the human psyche. What would happen to society as we know it if the bombs were dropped? What would happen to our leaders? How would we fare if isolated from the rest of the world, suffering from a shortage of food and a lack of electricity? Watching the show's characters struggle with these and similar problems never failed to suck me right into the story. Every time I watch it, I find myself wondering what I would do in their shoes.
And yet the show isn't entirely flawless. The subplot with Eric and April was written off in a fashion that suggests the writers had no idea what to do with that particular plot twist. Skylar and Dale need a good slapping--which is disappointing as their storyline initially appeared to be promising.
But what the show does right, it does right. Hawkins is an absolutely fascinating character and I was on the edge of my seat watching as his story played out over the course of the season. The writers did a fantastic job of keeping the viewer guessing about him, of making him both sinister and yet sympathetic. I loved every minute that he was on the screen and I don't think I found any other moment of the series more chilling than the one in which his past catches up with him and closes in on his family.
I also adore Jake as a character. He's a clear leader and does so many wonderful things for the town and yet it is clear that people are not always as good as they make themselves look. The writers gave the viewers some crumbs to help us understand just what it is that makes Jake not such a nice guy but there's still plenty of his past left to be revealed and I, for one, am eagerly anticipating it.
It makes me happy beyond expression that there are television shows like this, shows with strong characters and complicated and intricate storylines. Some people don't want the commitment such a show requires but the payoff is immensely satisfying. Each week the attentive viewer is rewarded by yet another enthralling plot twist, by the unexpected actions of the a character they think they know so well. This is truly wonderful viewing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Building Jericho - Featurette
What If? - Featurette
Audio Commentaries - On Select Episodes