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February 12, 2008 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | February 12, 2008 |

Way back in September ‘06, when I first reviewed “Jericho,” my review started thusly: “What a fucking disappointment.” That opinion didn’t change much over the course of the first season. Sure, I kept watching, but not because I thought it was terribly good. Rather, I was just interested enough in one aspect of the show — the “what happened to make the world go boom” bit — to put up with the show’s clunky plot and clunkier dialogue, not to mention the many tortured faces of Skeet Skeet Skeet Ulrich. Well the good news is that the show is kinda-sorta ratcheting up the focus on the “what happened” story, plus it’s looking more into how the country as a whole is dealing with its post-nukey self. The bad news is, I totally don’t care anymore. At all.

To be fair, I tried to come into the first three episodes of Season Two with an entirely open mind. While I was totally OK with the show’s original cancellation, I also kinda dug the season finale just enough to be ever-so-intrigued by the idea of where things might go. Plus, as a fan of TV in general, I love the idea that the viewers actually got CBS to do a 180 on this sucker, reviving it from the dead, albeit for a shortened seven-episode season (which would’ve been shortened by the strike anyways). But it didn’t take long for my mind to fade. The first episode picks up right where the finale left off, with the new government stepping in to handle the border skirmish between Jericho and neighboring New Bern. But then we quickly move ahead four weeks, and things are basically calm thanks to a strong military presence. Although I think the over-the-top dramatic music has more to do with it, personally — that shit would calm wild horses. But it ain’t all peace and happiness, naturally, because there are some thoughts of revenge and retribution, not to mention feelings of bitterness resentment, flowing through the hearts and minds of some. Which isn’t necessarily bad stuff for a season premiere, it’s just that none of it is terribly well executed.

The first episode also moves us into the focus of this short Season Two. On one side of things, we start to learn more about the situation across the U.S., and it’s a bit of a mess. There are two divided governments, with Texas being a holdout, because nobody messes with Texas. And because of all its oil and weapons and, well, loony Texans, folks seem to think that whichever side Texas eventually joins will be the one to win the day. Meahwhile, in Jericho, Hawkins, Skeet Skeet Skeet and some others are working to bust-up the government conspiracy and figure out what the nuke attacks were really all about. And government conspiracies and possible civil war should really be exciting but, somehow, it’s just not.

In fact, the highlight of the first episode, and really of all three episodes, had nothing to do with these grand storylines. Rather, it was a a terribly wrought “emotional” scene between Skeet Skeet Skeet and his brother. His brother, you’ll recall, looks like a bearded Peyton Manning. And this scene made me giggle, because if his brother is Bearded Peyton, that means Skeet is Eli, and suddenly his retarded facial expressions make sense.

In three episodes, that was the only amusement I truly got from the show.

Now those of you who remained on-board throughout Season One, regardless of whether or not you took place in the reviving “nuts” campaign, are clearly willing to overlook the show’s flaws, or don’t even see the flaws. The good news for you is that I think y’all will be relatively pleased with Season Two. Because the things I think you love about the show are all there, and the show looks to be expanding its overall universe without changing the smaller stuff all that much. And while there are still plenty of flaws, they don’t seem any worse than last season, so I think you’ll still be able to overlook them all. But for me, it’s hard (that’s what she said!). I mean, Skeet’s faces are still ridiculous, a lot of the acting remains sketchy at best, the show tries too hard to stuff “deep” shit superficially down our throats, and the dialgoue is like lead. My favorite example of almost all of these in motion at the same time? In the second episode, Bearded Peyton is lamenting the fact that the new government (at least, the new government under who’s regime Jericho falls) has changed our country’s flag and history (by revising the history books), and he queries: “At what point is this a country we don’t even recognize?”

The answer, Bearded Peyton, is that we’re already there. A country where your special brother is a Super Bowl MVP is a country I don’t recognize at all anymore!

Long story short, I don’t think the show will make any new fans, but it’ll likely keep those that bother to come back. Which means this short little Season Two may be all that’s left of “Jericho,” since CBS was pretty clear it’d have to do better than last year’s numbers (around nine million viewers an episode, I think) to stay afloat. And even with the airwaves being relatively thin on scripted shows right now, I don’t see it even hitting those numbers, let alone improving. Although maybe this show winds up getting a second reprise thanks to the strike and a deflated pilot season. All I know is, I don’t care one lick about any chances for Season Three, because I won’t be around for the rest of Season Two.

Season Two of “Jericho” premieres on CBS tonight at 10 p.m.

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. Yes, he’s still fucking bitter about the goddamn New York Giants winning the Super Bowl. This is how he rolls, by pissing and moaning. Deal with it.

Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb

"Jericho," Season Two / The TV Whore
Feb. 12, 2008

TV | February 12, 2008 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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