Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wrong Turn at Jericho, Kansas?

Early in 2007, a new series debutted on CBS entitled Jericho. It was awesome. It addressed in dramatic and very human terms what would happen to the inhabitants of a small, relatively isolated town in the heartland of American in the event of a nuclear war?

The actors were excellent. The plots were intricate and laden with dramatic twists. The characters were unique, their backstories invaluable to the foundation and progress of the storyline. Jericho had such promise! When CBS cancelled the series, I went NUTS! Literally. And so did millions of others.

Late last spring, tons of "nuts" arrived at CBS network HQ, a resistance campaign referenced in the final episode of the first season when "Jake" (Skeet Ulrich) is asked to surrender to the New Bern forces, and he responds "nuts!" When CBS announced that they would renew Jericho for a short second season of 7 episodes, I was elated.

I'm still watching. The first two episodes of the new season have moved quickly, introduced new characters and turned the plot in a new direction. I miss Mayor Green (Gerald McRaney) who was killed in the last episode. I also miss Mrs. Green ( Pamela Reed), who played a pivotal role in holding the town and her family together in the wake of the attack. I understand CBS did not renew her contract for the show, apparently because the cast was "too old," which I find very disappointing, and a bit infuriating. Also missing are the teenaged store owner Dale and his "girlfriend," at least thus far. All of these losses have cut a tremendous amount of potential for both developing the characters and the greater story of Jericho. I suppose with just 7 episodes this season, it's difficult to squeeze in all these story lines -- which is why they should have ordered another 22 episodes, but I digress.

Even with those characters and story lines gone, at least for now, the action and pace of the series is still excellent. But with the arrival of the new characters, a new government and nation, and a decidely inward turn to the plot direction, I am concerned about Jericho.

Unfortunately, the plot twist was perdictable. It's very "Hollywood" in the years since 9/11 and the tendency of the cultural Left to "blame America first." Last season, the United States was attacked by nearly two dozen nuclear weapons -- 23 major cities were destroyed, including most of the government in Washington, DC. What was left of the government and military separated into factions, and one faction launched a nuclear response against those whom they said were to blame. In the storyline, it was Iran and North Korea. So far, so good -- because THAT is a realistic possibility. Unless you are from Hollywood or Washington, DC.

Even during the first season viewers knew we weren't getting the whole story. We knew elements of the Government were involved in the plot. This year, however, it appears they aren't involved. Apparently, these elements of the government are COMPLETELY to blame for the nuclear attacks. Which means that the retaliatory strikes against Iran and North Korea, which destroyed those nations, were meant only to cover up "the biggest lie in history," as Jake said last Tuesday. And these evil Americans, in order to wrest control of the nation from the apparently patriotic government in Washington DC (I'm getting nauseous), sets off the nukes, then detsroys those poor, innocent Communists in North Korea and Islamofascists in Iran.

Not missing a beat, of course, this new "Government" of the "Allied States of America," has already printed up nice new textbooks for the school children of Jericho which present a clearly biased RIGHT WING view of history. This new Government is unelected, has called a new Constitutional Convention, and has shut down freedom of the Press among other civil rights.

No, I've not stopped watching yet. I'm hoping against hope that the evil elements within this new government on Jericho will be revealed to have worked with outside sources. I'm hoping that most of those who formed the "Allied States of America" will be portrayed not as dupes or fools, or else as the evil ideologues that haunt the mind of Leftists all over our land. I hope they'll get credit for trying to bring something good out of such horror -- even though some of the leeches that have attached themselves to the ASA are evil and have to be removed.

But then, I think about other series coming out of Hollywood today -- take 24 for instance -- where it's never the "bad guys" who are the ultimate bad guys, it's ALWAYS Americans. It's always government bigshots, or corporate bigshots, or military bigshots (all Conservatives, or Bible-thumpers, or greedy Capitalists) who want to overturn the noble public servants serving us in Washington, DC, or at least in the news media (the stench is almost beyond comprehension now). No, I haven't stopped watching -- but coming from Hollywood, what are the chances that any of the plot developments or character traits I've desired will come to pass? From Hollywood? I'm not sure why they didn't just go ahead and name the new President of the Allied States "Bush" or "Cheney," and dress him in SS black with a swastika emblazoned on each shoulder.

And to top it off, the "enforcers" of this new government to this point on Jericho are none other than a REAL bunch of heroes fighting now on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan -- the 10th Mountain Division! Again, I hold out great hope that these brave men will be portrayed as HEROES rather than as patsies for an evil regime. To have them protect what has so far been portrayed as an "evil government" is a very real disservice to the men and women of the 10th who've fought and died on foreign fields of battle for our nation in the current REAL war.

I still plan on watching Jericho Tuesdays at 10pm. I understand they lost almost 30% of their audience from week one to week two. I'm sorry to hear that. If, however, many of the people who tuned in observed what I did, I'm not surprised if they turned Jericho off. Just another great program that Hollywood wants to destroy, to use to superimpose their message.

I'll be watching. I'll be hoping that Jericho can right itself. But I have little confidence in CBS executives and Hollywood writers. And if things in Jericho do go the way I expect, I'll know I shouldn't have taken that last left turn in Jericho, Kansas. That will make it easier to see Jericho fade away at the end of this season.

No comments: