Jericho: Season 2

Jericho: Season 2
The first season of Jericho saw Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) returning home to the eponymous small town where his parents Johnston and Gail (Gerald McRaney and Pamela Reed) and brother Eric (Kenneth Mitchell) were pleased to see him, but still upset over his mysterious departure years prior. Interrupting this family drama was a nationwide nuclear attack, which left Jericho one of the only towns intact within the United States. The show took awhile to come into its own and gain its footing with tone and character conflict. Early episodes tried to mix down-home small town charm with minor, yet easily resolved, issues to only trivial effect. As a result, viewers started to tune out. This is unfortunate, as midway through the first season the show turned into a nasty and almost nihilistic allegory for human nature and social discord, as characters started to kill each other in the streets while neighbouring towns, as well as travelling military and corporate officials, threatened the security of the community with impending violence. When the season ended with a cliffhanger war between neighbouring towns and fans learned that the show was cancelled, they banded together through online communities to send peanuts to CBS headquarters, demanding that the show be brought back. After 40,000 pounds of nuts had been sent to CBS, a statement was issued that seven more episodes had been ordered for the following season — a rarity in television. Season two sees a military presence setting up in Jericho in an effort to rebuild the nation and government. It isn’t long before the misanthropic locals are able to find flaws and corruption in the newcomers, especially since a leading corporate official (D.B. Sweeney) had visited the community with similarly nefarious intentions back in season one. When Mimi (Alicia Coppola) discovers some discrepancies in the government financial records, she inadvertently puts her new husband Stanley (Brad Beyer) and his deaf sister Bonnie (Shoshannah Stern) in danger. The subsequent drama puts Jake, Eric and Robert (Lennie James) in the position of taking the law into their own hands. The second season is tautly paced and solidly entertaining throughout. Main characters are gunned down surprisingly and survival instincts are kicked into full gear. It’s unfortunate that the extended delay in airing the episodes, in addition to poor advertising, caused the fledgling show to again struggle in ratings. Unsure of the show’s future, the final episode is somewhat perfunctory and out of place, with an ending that wraps things up unconvincingly. The alternate ending that is available on the DVD shows the direction that the show intended to go in, were additional episodes ordered. Also available on the DVD are featurettes "Rebuilding Jericho,” which explores shooting a truncated season with less money and time, and "Nut Job,” which takes a look at the scope and impact of the internet nut campaign. Deleted scenes and commentary are also available. (Paramount)