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WATCH THIS: 'Jericho' marathon
February 20, 2009  | By Diane Werts
jericho mushroom cloud.jpg

[UPDATE: Episode streaming link below.]

See what all the fuss was about. Monday's marathon of the initial episodes of Jericho (Feb. 23, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sci Fi) reminds us why so many viewers cared so much about a show that could have been great.

And often was, I hasten to add, lest fans think I'm dissing what they're devoted to. When CBS' September 2006 debut of Jericho was getting so-so reviews, mine was definitely positive -- filled with hope and admiration for a show about people fighting for their lives and values, a show that looked to be smart enough for the discerning, exciting enough for action fans, warm enough for family viewing, and topical enough to really mean something.

That's a lot to juggle, and the producers of Jericho did pretty well most of the time, crafting a gutsy portrayal of a small Kansas town reacting to a nuclear attack that devastated major American cities and threw their own cozy community into disarray as it was cut off from civilization. Some citizens got small and selfish. Others got big and brave. And some fit both categories as circumstances snaked their way through all kinds of deprivation situations. (Some nifty intrigue, too, what with that new guy/furtive spy in town.)


Jericho thus aspired to be both sweeping and intimate, encompassing pretty much every aspect of humanity, at a time most network series were content to focus in on The Case of the Week or even The Microscopic Evidence of the Week. That's what really drew such devotion: Viewers flocked to feel, and think, and indeed share the sense of community the show celebrated.

You know the rest -- especially the "nuts" that fans famously sent to CBS executives after the show was canceled (playing off the "Nuts!" response of the heroes to a bad-guys offer worth refusing). That grassroots outpouring persuaded CBS to order a truncated second season. It wasn't as satisfying, with a chopped budget requiring wholesale excision of key characters, leading to a lessened sense of family and an emphasis on "opening up" to new viewers.

(Which you and I know never works, serving only to talk down, water down and tick off those who're already on board -- i.e., The John Larroquette Show.)

But Jericho was a solid success in one way -- proving there's an audience for smart TV, ambitious TV, even if it maybe isn't network-sized. Eventually, somebody will realize there's an entire channel in that, and one that viewers would actually be willing to pay for.

They gotta catch up to us someday.

(By the way, you can also watch every episode of Jericho on DVD.)

[UPDATE: CBS must still have some faith in Jericho -- episodes continue to stream online (some with commentary) here.]




Dbalcer said:

You hit the nail on the head about what was right about season one. Season two was action packed and I am glad we got it but I really missed some major characters from season one. I hope new folks check it out. According to Mr. Turtletaub a movie is in the works. I hope that after that movie is successful we can move onto season 3 and beyond.

K6 said:

Thanks for a great article. the Jericho fans are still fighting for a season three.

beebull said:

Guess you stumbled across ''Jericho'' yes this show is addictive, and don't bother watching if you think you can miss an episode or two, you actually have to follow the story and plot otherwise your lost, it's not complicated just amazing how it all pulls itself together like a Stephen King novel, it's the best show I've ever seen on TV.

Norsu said:

Great article, you summed up all my thoughts better than I could have articulated. I'd pay for more Jericho.

Azlady said:

Thank you for your great words supporting a great show. Jericho may be gone for now, but definitely not forgotten. We all continue to hold out hope that Jericho will find a new home on another network or cable channel soon and we will get season 3, 4 and......

mpbnice said:

You are so right about season two. It definitely lacked the "heart" of season one, which kept me watching week after week, but at least it didn't leave you hanging like season one did. It would be so great if we could have another, complete season, and find out what happens next. Thanks for a great article.

Russell said:

I'd trade any program on television today for new episodes of Jericho. No show has ever affected me like this one and I just know that if it had premiered on cable it would still be on today winning emmy's and awards. At least if there is a movie then there is hope for a season 3! Can't wait!

realityagent said:

Great article! I hardly turn my TV on anymore except to watch movies I've rented or old series I've recorded on my DVR. I would definitely pay to watch more Jericho!

Gwen said:

Thanks for the wonderful article and for the links to your past articles. I'll be entering all of them in our Jericho article/blog archive.

I too hope that a cable channel sees the wisdom of a loyal passionate engaged audience.


dcm1987 said:

Being a Citizen of Jericho or Ranger as we are called (fans), You have given us a wonderful gift in your great article. As a Leading member of SciFi/Jericho Community Forum, We wish to extend an open invitation to all Jericho Fans to watch Monday's Scifi channel Marathon Feb.23rd. The Scifi channel will continue it's Marathon on Monday, March 9th at 8am-4pm EST. The 16 episodes will be shown in their original order of air dates. 8 episodes per Marathon. We also would like to invite all fans to the Scifi/Jericho Forum (http://forums.scifi.com) for the next 3 Monday Nights for a UNITED JERICHO FAN RALLY beginning at 9pm EST/6pm PST!
Many aspects of the show will be discussed & the possible renewal of the series on a New Network plus a Theatrical Movie, that is in the works. Please stand United with us as we move Jericho to the Future.

AdoringMimi said:

Jericho is awesome, I also would pay to view a new season.

GeminiRM said:

Thank you for the great article! Jericho has grabbed the hearts, (and minds), of millions of people around the world. Too bad we weren't counted.

Sad that Jericho debuted on a network that handled it so badly from the start.

We should be watching Season Three right now.

artzylady said:

Great article! Thanks so much for stating what so many Jericho fans have been saying all along. I personally can't wait for the movie to come out and then on to season 3 on a cable network somewhere it can be appreciated for the amazing story it really is!

georgian101 said:

Great article!!!! This gem of a show has brought a diverse group of loyal viewers because of the diverse grouping of characters. Everything you said hit why I watched from the beginning!!! I am thoroughly excited about the movie but I will continue to fight for a 3rd season. I would be willing to pay for them like a pay per view!!!!

Mark C said:

I love Jericho....

Liz said:

Jericho was a great show. I'm one of those who somehow missed the first season and didn't catch up until the fans got the show back on the air for a second season. But once I finally saw the first episode I was hooked -- went out and got the DVD that same day. Definitely worth checking out if you haven't seen it before.

guiver1 said:

We are still fighting for a season three, sooner or later the powers that be will get it!

masscas said:

Great article ! ! !

Jericho generally gets good publicity, but getting some one to do a season 3 is difficult. Season 2 was truncated and there is far more story to tell. And yes, I too would pay to see more Jericho.

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