Jericho

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Did anyone else read Alas, Babylon when they were in jr. high? I'm pretty sure that was one of the books I selected at random during the semester when I got sent to the library instead of having to go to gym class, and that book both terrified and delighted me. It was written back in the day when nuclear war was more likely to simply decimate urban populations (as opposed to the global annihilation I grew up with) and depicted a small Florida town cut off from the outside world by nuclear war. As one might expect, things get bad pretty quickly (although they do become less racist, so I suppose that's a plus).

As a socially awkward (and largely misanthropic) teen, I was very fond of any of the "survivors of global apocalypse" books like The Stand) (which, I suppose, led nicely into the teenage draw towards apocalyptic zombie flicks). That combined with ongoing fear of nuclear holocaust made Alas, Babylon a pretty cirtical element of my adolesence.

All of which goes a long way towards explaining why I have high hopes for Jericho despite a severely flawed pilot. Granted, the pilot has a lot of ground to cover, so it's perhaps reasonable that things are strained a little bit. It's got to introduce Skeet Ulrich (the prodigal son of the family), his family, an ex-girlfriend, the local police department, assorted townspeople, and a bus full of schoolkids. And then introduce a nuclear war and the first rounds of local panic.

As a result the show's a little overstuffed and resorts to some sort of hamfisted narrative twists to cram everything in in forty-eight minutes. That said, it's certainly got some nice casting elements to recommend it. Skeet remains about the same as he always is - a slightly lethargic version of Johnny Depp. Gerald McRaney continues his Deadwood-intiated work on eradicating his Major Dad image with a nice bit as town mayor. Shoshannah Stern seems to have transitioned off of Weeds to do this, which was perhaps a bad decision show-quality-wise, but it's nice to see her getting work. On the less positive side, the show features Sprague Grayden, whose arrival on Joan of Arcadia signalled the rapid decay of that once-good show. I'm not sure whether to blame her for it, but the temptation is strong. Hopefully, she'll be able to redeem herself here.

Rating: B (Worth watching if you like nuclear war)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides