Jericho - The Complete Series
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The complete TV series Jericho.
Part-Lost, part-The Day After, television's first Code Orange serial drama very effectively taps into palpable post-9/11 dread. The residents of Jericho are literally in the dark when they are cut off from civilization in the wake of a nuclear blast. Has the United States been attacked? How many cities were destroyed? Was it terrorists, or something way more sinister? It is up to Johnston Green (an Emmy-worthy Gerald McRaney), the town's mayor (and series bedrock), to calm the community, keep its citizens from turning on each other, and protect them from predatory outsiders. Johnston's son, Jake (Skeet Ulrich), a "screw-up," returns home just prior to the blast following a mysterious five-year absence. Jake is at odds with his estranged father, who is running for reelection, and his brother, Eric (Kenneth Mitchell), his deputy. Nor is he welcomed back by his former girlfriend, Emily (Ashley Scott), now engaged to a man who is missing following the blast. With the fate of America in the balance, one would think that "small town problems" wouldn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy new world, but it is Jericho's human dramas that resonate most deeply.
On the most cherished TV shows, characters come to feel like family. Jericho's characters come to feel like neighbors. Dale (Erik Knudson), the orphaned teenage outcast, forms an unexpected friendship with the town's spoiled mean girl, Skylar (Candace Bailey). Robert Hawkins (Lennie James), just arrived in town, introduces himself as a former cop from St. Louis, but his secret basement command center suggests otherwise. Gray Anderson (Michael Gaston), a mayoral candidate, politicizes the disaster to undermine Johnston. Stanley (Brad Beyer), a farmer, falls in love with his condescending IRS auditor from Washington, D.C. (Alicia Coppola). And Eric plans to leave his wife, Alice (Darby Stanchfield) for bartender Mary (Clare Carey). But at the heart of Jericho's first season is Jake's hard-earned redemption in his family's (and Emily's) eyes (suddenly, he's a regular MacGyver, able to perform a tracheotomy with a juice box straw!). Star Trek has its Trekkies/-ers and Laurel and Hardy its fraternal organization, the Sons of the Desert. Jericho has its "Nuts," who, in heroic It Takes a Village spirit, mounted a monumental campaign to rescue the series after it had been cancelled. Fans posted a barrage of videos on You Tube and deluged the studio with peanuts (the significance is explained in the season finale). "What is it about this town that has you so addicted to it?" someone asks Emily at one point. Just watch a couple of episodes, and you'll also be hooked. This First Season set should rally Jericho's army and inspire new recruits. --Donald Liebenson
The second season of the cult favorite Jericho shows in gritty, emotional detail why fans adore this show. It's intelligently written, and manages to make its out-there concept not only believable, but mesmerizing. Part post-apocalyptic sci-fi, part Western, part conspiracy thriller, and part juicy human drama, Jericho in its second season explores how the citizens of wee Jericho, Kansas, are coping six months after a nuclear bomb destroyed most of the town--and the fabric of the country. The layers of character and plot development, rare on network TV, continue to surprise and develop. Our hero, Jake (Skeet Ulrich), is helping put the pieces of his town and life back together, while hostile forces from neighboring towns plan attacks. And the mysterious Robert Hawkins (Lennie James) is hiding in town with a literal smoking gun--a nuclear warhead that may prove the attacks were carried out not by Iran and North Korea, but by internal forces. Hawkins is on the run, and Jake is in on his secret. Amid all this chaos arrives Major Beck (the charismatic Esai Morales), who's been sent by the acting Western government to instill order in Jericho. "The nightmare is over," he intones to the shaken townsfolk. "Order will be restored."
The nightmare is far from over, however, which accounts for Jericho's intense drama and creative storytelling. The viewer is never totally sure whom to believe, keeping the viewer just off kilter just enough to want to watch another episode, and then another. Extras on the boxed set include terrific audio commentaries on virtually every episode, which lend even greater appreciation to the set designers and cinematographers. There's a featurette, "Rebuilding Jericho," giving fans insight to the conception of a post-apocalyptic America, and deleted scenes, and perhaps most interesting to devoted fans, an alternate unaired ending to the season finale--worth watching just to see where the creators imaginations can take them. --A.T. Hurley
- 100 Reasons To Watch Jericho
- Table Read
- Napalm Action Sequence (from Season 2)
- Train Crash Sequence (from Season 2)
- Cast Members' Memorable Moments
- Interviews with cast and crew
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I didn't, but the writers did. They made an effort to make things as realistic as possible. Maybe not perfect, but pretty darn close. Definitely worth purchasing and watching if you enjoy well acted and well-crafted stories. It ends slightly open ended, but it brings closure, so don't worry about that aspect of it. Overall, highly recommend!
Inside the cardboard slipcase are three thin-pak cases that house two discs each. Covers for each disc range with the cast of the series, ranging from main to supporting; Jake's present in all of the covers, with Emily Sullivan (Ashley Scott) and Heather Lisinski (Sprauge Grayden) being on two of the three as well. Disc art features a character on each and menus for the show are motionless with only the morse code beeping over the main menu. The presentation of the show is remarkable. Great colors, grain where it's needed and a clear image throughout, the show looks great. The audio, a solid 5.1 mix that actually gets used, is also a nice addition. I'm glad to see that 5.1 seems to be the standard for these TV shows on DVD as it really adds to the viewing experience. There is a lot of needless bass in the show at times, with commercial breaks being sounded by a resounding reverb on more than one occasion. Still, I like bass--obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have bought a subwoofer about three times too big for my room. The back of the packaging states that some things may have been edited out from the original broadcast, but since I didn't watch the show as it aired originally, I don't know what was left out. Moving onto the special features we get a mixture of deleted scenes for twelve separate episodes. All of the deleted scenes come with commentary by producers Dan Shotz and Karim Zreik and there are some really nice things left on the cutting room floor. Mostly character elements, but they're worth watching, especially if you're a fan of the series. Next up are five commentaries on "Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours", "Fallout", "Rogue River", "Red Flag" and "Vox Populi." All of the commentaries are fun to listen to, with Skeet Ulrich and Lennie James being the biggest clowns on the tracks. Executive producers Jon Turtletaub and Carol Barbee keep the tracks on-topic with comments about the production of the specific episodes and other technical aspects. "Building Jericho" is your typical making-of featurette with interviews from cast and crew. We do get to see a lot of the set that we don't normally see, which is very cool--it takes some of "wow" factor out of the show when you realize it's all on a sound stage, but how they hide everything and still manage to make it look as great as it does is a true testament to the technical team working on the show. The actors chime in with their comments on the show and how much fun it is to work on it. There's back-patting all around and not a single mention of the show being cancelled at one point. Guess they're saving that for the second season DVD, complete with a full count of how many nuts were sent to CBS. The final extra is a "What If?" extra that is a "revealing look at how the nuclear arms race evolved since the end of World War II." This extra isn't really related to the show other than the nuclear aspect and it doesn't do much else than scare the bejesus out of the viewer. Nuclear war is always a scary prospect and this documentary doesn't do much to help ease the fear--in fact, it does the opposite. Overall the series has a solid representation on DVD. Fans will be able to watch their favorite episodes over and over while they wait for the second season to premiere (as of this writing it is still unscheduled) and it will hopefully bring in a few new fans (I already plan on lending out my copy to help rope in a few more viewers) so that the show can have a very successful return to air. Recommended.
Jericho's second season comes housed in a two-disc amaray DVD case without a slipcover or insert. Jake gets center stage on the cover as well as the DVD menus and disc descriptions are placed on the reverse of the DVD insert, behind the discs. The video and audio presentation is identical to what we got on the first season set: clean, clear and without flaw. The image is a tad soft, but I think that's just me being used to Blu-ray's and overly critical of DVD transfers now. The extras for this set start out on the first disc and don't stop until the second (not really saying much considering there's only two discs, but still). Each of the seven episodes feature commentary with Jonathan E. Steingberg and a mix of other crew and all but one episode ("Jennings & Rall") feature deleted scenes. The commentaries are all insightful and a treat to listen to considering the first season set, containing sixteen episodes, contained commentary on only five of the episodes, so it's quite the rare occurrence to have commentary on everyone of the episodes (unless you're The Simpsons). Fans of the show will want to check the commentaries out for nuggets of information that aren't available anywhere else...not to mention the general fun mood of the commentaries, which translate into an entertaining listen as well. There's also an alternate unaired ending cut of the finale that's included here as well that has a different commentary track starting at around the third act of the episode. Next are the deleted scenes for the episodes: "Reconstruction" (1:25), "Condor" (1:12), "Oversight" (0:57), "Termination for Cause" (1:02), "Sedition" (3:47), and "Patriots and Tyrants" (6:17). As you can see the scenes get lengthier as the episodes go about and each one of them has commentary to accompany it and discussion on why certain things were cut. Also included here is the "Alternate Ending for Series" (25:11), which also has commentary and is simply clipped from the alternate unaired ending version of "Patriots and Tyrants." Following that there is a pair of featurettes: "Rebuilding Jericho" (25:56) and "Nut Job" (9:46). "Rebuilding" talks about the return to the set and the changes that needed to be made to the show to meet its new shorter shoot schedule as well as smaller budget. "Nut Job", of course, revolves around the fan effort to deluge CBS with peanuts. I'm not sure what this show will go down in history more for: being a highly entertaining and original show or for the Nuts campaign. Either way these two extras reflect an incredible amount of love for the fans, as without them this second season set wouldn't even have happened. From the very first episode till the last it was on the edge of your seats action-drama series. This is a must have for action-drama lovers. 5 star all the way.