30 Days of Television – Day 01

I’ve fallen off the wagon yet again, so in order to get back in the habit of posting, I figured to do one of these daily blog-post lists. I know they have similar version for novels and movies, but I went with 30 Days of TV.

So, without further ado.

Day 01 – A show that should have never been cancelled

It’s a law of television that for every show cancelled, several million people are going to bitch about it. (Unless it’s god awful, like Cavemen or Cop Rock or some things that don’t start with C.) Most of my friends would give answers like Brisco County Jr., Firefly, Caprica. Mom is still hoping for Jack & Bobby, one of the most intelligent shows on WB, to come out on DVD. Dad might say Pushing Daisies, which was damn good, if damn strange. Futurama should get a lot of votes, even though it came back. Tons of people would say Arrested Development, but not enough would say Better Off Ted. These are all good answers, and additional seasons for any of them would have been a godsend.

My answer: Jericho.

Jericho’s a unique show, and doesn’t strike me as being CBS’s regular fare. It deals with the after-effects of a major national disaster: a series of nuclear attacks which wipes out a 23 of America’s largest cities. The setting is the isolated town of Jericho, and the variety of obstacles it faces: food price hikes and shortages, lack of medical supplies, law and order, winter, a mayoral election, and a roving band of PMC “contractors,” directly inspired by some of the Blackwater allegations during Katrina.

The show revolves around the mayor’s family and friends, namely prodigal son Skeet Ulrich. Oh, and Lennie James is there, and his character knows what’s going on, being undercover FBI or a double-agent terrorist or something who just moved into town with his family. And the Chinese are para-dropping supplies, so this could be a prequel to the new Red Dawn, or just an example of international relief efforts. The town don’t know. We don’t know. Mysteries!

The cast is great, the setting grounded, and the mysterious backdrop is a great enticement. It’s one of the few realistic looks at post-catastrophe life, and came out at the right point in time—long enough after 9/11 for terrorism to be an approachable subject, close enough to Katrina for that catastrophe to register in viewers’ minds.

Despite its 9.25 million viewers, its ratings were deemed low, and it was cancelled. Fan response pulled a miracle out of thin air and got the show renewed for another season, sort-of: CBS conceded, but only for seven new episodes.

The Jericho staff could have done a lot of things, with so many unanswered questions already in the air. For some reason, they decided to answer none of them, and the result feels like an entire season of new development, mysteries, and subsequent twists crammed into seven episodes. With a bad case of the sophomore slump, at that. That cliffhanger ending that got all the write-ins to continue the show? Let’s just hand-wave that. Suddenly we have two warring Americas, with Texas as the swing state which decides which America is dominant. It’s up to Skeet and Lennie to fly the last unexploded nuke to the Texas Republic’s embassy, with F-15s on their tail. Sound like the first season at all? Remotely? Didn’t think so.

After an amazing first season, brimming with potential, the second was a colossal letdown: it could have been a contender, and instead managed to wash away the goodwill and vocal fanbase generated by the first.

I have the same feeling about Jericho as I do Firefly: if the network hadn’t cancelled the show in the first place, the designers wouldn’t have done stupid things when they were given a second chance. (And if killing off some vital characters and answering the River Tam questions with Serenity isn’t a stupid thing, smothering chances for the show’s return, then I guess I don’t know stupid.)

Spoiler/Preview/Recap:


Day 01 – A show that should have never been canceled – Jericho
Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching
Day 03 – Your favorite new show (aired this TV-season)
Day 04 – Your favorite show ever
Day 05 – A show you hate
Day 06 – Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show
Day 07 – Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show
Day 08 – A show everyone should watch
Day 09 – Best scene/episode ever
Day 10 – A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A show that disappointed you
Day 12 – A TV show you’ve watched more than 4 times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood show
Day 14 – Favorite male character
Day 15 – Favorite female character
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show
Day 17 – Favorite mini series
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence
Day 19 – Best t.v show cast
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
Day 21 – Favorite relationship
Day 22 – Best pilot episode
Day 23 – Most annoying character
Day 24 – Best quote
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)
Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale
Day 27 – Favorite series finale
Day 28 – First t.v show obsession
Day 29 – Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death


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