Last year, I wrote a blog post confessing my faithfulness to the show Jericho, despite the fact that I could not say the show was, in any critically defensible sense of the word, good. Well, I’ve just watched three of the six episodes CBS sent me (out of seven total) for season 2, and it looks like things have changed.
Jericho is in danger of becoming an actual good show.
I don’t want to overstate things. And as with my early reports/gloating on seeing early episodes of The Wire, I want to be careful not to spoil anything for anyone. What I can say is, we learn a lot more, and quickly, about the outside world–what America has become after the massive nuclear attack that started the show, who’s running the show now, and where things are shaping up to go. More important–and this may just be a function of having to cram season 2 into 7 episodes–the series has dialed back on the soap-opera elements, which were always unconvincing and jarring in the middle of a show about the reconstruction of life after a nuclear holocaust. This new, leaner Jericho is much more plot-focused–which is good because character was never the show’s strength–and where season 1 often felt padded, a lot happens, and fast.
Jericho is not on the road to Lost-like greatness; the characters are too thin and the writing is too bad in it, and Skeet Ulrich remains a gaping, angry hole in the center as Jake. But compared with the last season of Heroes–which has similar character-and-writing problems–it’s much more entertaining and cohesive. For whatever reason, it’s pared away many of its weaker elements and focused on the stronger ones (namely, an engrossing action story about what happens to America after you blow it up). I don’t know if this season will answer all our questions, but at least I’m less confused about why I like the show.