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Acorn Brings Us 'Jericho,' a Crackling Good British Western
July 11, 2016  | By David Hinckley  | 7 comments

Okay, the U.K. isn’t usually where we colonists look for Westerns, but the Brits have come up with a crackling good one in Jericho, which arrives here Monday [July 11] on Acorn TV.

Jericho, not to be confused with the cult U.S. series from 2006, is an eight-episode drama about a woman named Annie Quaintain (Jessica Raine) who must haul herself and her two children to a rough-and-rowdy railroad camp in 1870s Yorkshire.

There’s a little Deadwood here, a little Hell on Wheels. It may be set in Britain, but it’s a Western, and the tension is universal. Annie must, in short, find a way to survive.

Her problem is that her husband died, sweeping away the comfortable society life she and the teenage children – Martha (Amy James-Kelly) and George (Samuel Bottomley) – had been living in the city.

Turns out hubby was financing it all with empty schemes. By the time Annie has repaid his debts, which requires her to sell the house, she and the kids are literally on the street.

The eviction is the opening scene of the series, and Raine does a brilliant job of making us care about what will happen next. Annie isn’t warm and fuzzy, but she’s focused and determined at a moment when her whole life has just fallen apart.

The family’s only immediate option is hopping a train to Jericho, an outpost that has sprung up for workers building an enormous bridge for the new cross-country rail system.

There isn’t much elegance in Jericho. Annie and the family move into a house where she can pay the rent and earn some money by taking in lodgers.

Naturally the lodgers are an interesting bunch, notably Johnny Jackson (Hans Matheson, right). He’s a handsome young lad with a mysterious past, and if you suspect there will be a “will they/won’t they” between Johnny and Annie, well, you wouldn’t be the only one.

Johnny seems like a basically nice guy. The same isn’t true for all the other characters in camp, and there isn’t nearly enough law and order to keep things in line.

Soon a minor incident involving Johnny and another worker escalates into a major incident, and by random chance Annie’s son gets drawn into it.

This sets up the primary drama of the series, as Annie struggles to protect her family while maintaining some personal sense of honor and integrity.

Meanwhile, Jericho also takes the time to note the visceral details of the life she’s now living – like how, sometimes, she’s just plain tired.

While the setting is worlds removed from Downton Abbey, which ironically was also set in Yorkshire, Jericho has a rough visual beauty. In one early scene, Annie describes for her children how she envisions the house in which they could one day live again, with elegant rooms and lawns and gardens.

One of the most striking elements of Jericho, not surprisingly, is watching this classic Western tale spool out from the perspective of a woman. Annie isn’t talking feminism, but in a real sense she’s living it, and by extension we also get ongoing insights into the world of the women around her.

It’s a tale well told.

Acorn, which specializes in importing series from overseas, can be found at www.acorn.tv.

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Richard Martin
I just started Acorn TV and love this show. I can't believe this show was cancelled. If so, why such a crappy ending?
Feb 12, 2017   |  Reply
Dixie Elder
CRAP ending. What the hell was that. Just shoot down a guy in the street & no tie-up, no justice. What the hell did I just waste 4 hours on? Great acting but am FURIOUS with the ending
Dec 31, 2016   |  Reply
Diana Cipoletta
I just found out there won't be a season 2 of Jericho and I'm so unhappy. The show has a great storyline, wonderful cast and the show was cancelled? What the heck!!
Aug 31, 2016   |  Reply
I just got done with season 1 of Jericho the British Western awesome series I loved it it was awesome and now I just saw David gets shot and there ain't going to be one to see what happens you gotta bring it back it's good we just get interested in one and we can go to wait to see what happens because I bring it back
Aug 6, 2016   |  Reply
bethel sarrett
I also liked this story very much,and was trying to find when the season 2 would play,but see Brenda says it has been cancelled.Why would such a good story be cancelled? Very disappointed to be left with an ending so incomplete.
Jul 28, 2016   |  Reply
The best, almost missed work to finish it. Please do more please I loved it. So well done as are all acorn TV. The best. Why would anyone watch American T V. It so degrading.
Jul 22, 2016   |  Reply
I really enjoyed "Jericho" but I am now so bummed that there won't be a season 2. It's been cancelled. The last episode ended giving me the distinct impression that the storyline was not complete. So sad.
Jul 14, 2016   |  Reply
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