It’s the end of the world as we’ve known it…
Welcome back to Fanhattan’s TV Flashback, our weekly look back at television’s vast history.
The landscape of television is filled with shows that ended before their time, regardless of whether they had a following or not. Netflix has recently made waves with its revival of Arrested Development seven years after Fox canceled the series. But it’s not the only show that could potentially make a comeback.
Last month, screenwriter and executive producer Stephen Chbosky revealed that there have been talks with Netflix to revive Jericho, a post-apocalyptic drama created by Chbosky, Josh Schaer and Jonathan E. Steinberg.
Jericho’s original run came on CBS in 2006, where it lasted two seasons. But despite the bleak outlook for the show’s future, the fans and creators have refused to let Jericho die.
CBS has a reputation for not doing well with its genre shows. Jericho was a rare exception that seemed tailored to work on network TV. In a way, the apocalyptic elements of the series were just a backdrop for the drama surrounding the Green family and the town of Jericho itself.
Skeet Ulrich starred as Jake Green, the wayward son of Mayor Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney) who returned home after several years away just before a simultaneous nuclear attack in 23 cities crippled America and seemingly brought about the collapse of the U.S. government.
With few options available, Jake opted to stay behind and help his family and his town get through the crisis, alongside his sometimes estranged brother, Eric Green (Kenneth Mitchell), their mother, Gail (Pamela Reed) and Jake’s former love, Emily Sullivan (Ashley Scott).
Brad Beyer co-starred as Jake’s friend, Stanley Richmond, with Alicia Coppola as Stanley’s unlikely love interest, IRS Agent Mimi Clark and Shoshannah Stern as Stanley’s sister, Bonnie Richmond; with Erik Knudsen as the surprisingly resourceful, Dale Turner and Michael Gaston as the sometimes shifty politician, Gray Anderson.
But the real standout among the supporting cast was Lennie James as Robert Hawkins, a mysterious man who moved his family into Jericho shortly before the attacks. One of the unfolding mysteries of the first season of Jericho centered upon who Hawkins really was and how he was connected to the nuclear attacks. Not to mention why Hawkins was hiding a particularly dangerous object near his home…
Jericho dealt with the inevitable apocalyptic problems in a surprisingly realistic fashion. Food, resources and shelter became the driving forces within the town and the dwindling access to the comforts of modern day life meant that some characters died when they could have been saved before the disaster.
Near the end of the first season, Jake and the residents of Jericho were forced to deal with a neighboring town that planned to invade and steal their resources. Jericho was canceled on a cliffhanger ending… but then something remarkable happened. The fans of the series organized to demonstrate their support for Jericho and CBS reversed its decision and ordered seven additional episodes for Jericho Season 2.
Unfortunately, Jericho wasn’t able to continue beyond its second season. But the story became exponentially bigger as Jake and Hawkins attempted to expose the perpetrators behind the attacks and change the course of history.
There may only be 29 episodes of Jericho, but it was a strong series that holds up on multiple viewings. We may even be able to revisit these characters if the rumored Netflix revival of Jericho becomes a reality.
Jake and Hawkins separately arrive in Jericho, but the nuclear attacks across the nation ensure that neither man is leaving town anytime soon. And in the immediate aftermath, Jake becomes the hero he was always meant to be,
The Day Before
A flashback episode that takes place immediately prior to the pilot episode, as Hawkins forcibly reclaims his family and Jake runs into problems with the military contractor company known as Ravenwood.
Eric’s estranged wife, April (who was also one of the only doctors in town), is forced to battle for her own life when she goes into premature labor. And the outcome splinters the Green family for the rest of the season.
Why We Fight
Jake and Eric face a stunning personal loss as the war with a nearby town comes to fruition. And as Jericho fans famously know, the Green brothers respond to an ultimatum from the other side with only a single word.
As Jericho struggles under the heel of a new government, Mimi uncovers evidence of corruption that will cost someone their life…
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