Jericho: The Decisive Box Set (DVD)

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Jericho: The Decisive Box Set (DVD)

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Review of "Jericho: The Decisive Box Set (DVD)"

published 04/12/2015 | sirodar
Member since : 10/11/2014
Reviews : 220
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About me :
zzzzzzzz.......Cough....Review....Cough.......zzzzzzz
Super
Pro Interesting approach, Keeps you guessing, Good Acting..eventually
Cons A little slow at times, some frustrating plot lines, only 2 seasons
exceptional
Did you enjoy it?
Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"Isn't Electricity Lovely"

The cast looking all shiny and polished

The cast looking all shiny and polished

Introduction

Slowly but surely, I am watching less and less on Freeview and heading to Netflix for my televisual entertainment, mainly due to the fact I hate both reality TV and Soap Operas. Reality TV makes me annoyed with production companies and their disregard for producing quality television and soap operas make me depressed because they themselves are depressing - I mean, who would live in any of the places that feature? Any way, I have moaned enough in the past about this, so lets not carry on.

Another reason I head to Netflix is due to the fact that I missed a lot of TV series’ that featured on Sky, not having had satellite TV since 2004, so now I get to see what I missed out on. One such series which was shown on Sky One from 2006 was a rather interesting show by the name of 'Jericho'. Being anchored in the drama and sci-fi category this was my kind of thing. However, usually, programmes I like seem to get cancelled prematurely and this is annoying. There is the possibility though that I actually like rubbish shows…or maybe I know better? Hmmmm…Anyway, Jericho only lasted 29 episodes before Season three became a comic book. This also annoys me, but lets not get bogged down with fury. Also, there is no time travel in this series, so 'certain people' can still read this review with abusing me.

A Film/Series Only Review


Jericho The Complete 2 Seasons

Run: September 2006 - March 2008
Produced by: Jon Turtletaub
Written by: Jonathan Steinberg, Josh Schaer, Stephen Chbosky
Distributed by: CBS
Filmed in California and Kansas

Running Time: 43 minutes per episode and 29 Episodes in total
Main Cast & Characters

Skeet Ulrich as Jake Green - A former bad lad
Lennie James as Robert Hawkins - A potential bad lad
Ashley Scott as Emily Sullivan - A former ‘bird’ of Jake’s
Kenneth Mitchell as Eric Green - Jakes brother and philanderer
Michael Gaston as Gray Anderson - The Annoying Man
Gerald McRaney as Johnston Green - The Mayor
Pamela Reed as Gail Green - The Mayors better half

Supported by

Sprague Grayden as Heather Lisinski
Shoshannah Stern as Bonnie Richmond
Brad Beyer as Stanley Richmond
Alicia Coppola as Mimi Clark
Erik Knudsen as Dale Turner
Esai Morales as Major Edward Beck
Emily Rose as Trish Merrick

The Plot

Because of the nature of the film, there may be some minor spoilers, however, I will attempt to keep them to minimum, although due to the style of film, these should not affect your viewing pleasure

The Storyline

Jericho is a small town in Kansas, pretty much a typical mid-western place where everybody knows each other, everyone seems to sleep with each other and everyone seems to marry each other….or so American films and TV seem to insist upon us. Jake Green, the son of the towns mayor returns to the town of Jericho after five years away mixing with the wrong crowd and engaging in rather dodgy activities. He is rather a bad lad and his only reason for coming home is to claim his part of any family inheritance. Pretty much shunned by the family, Jake attempts to make some amends with his return, although little did he expect that he would not be arriving for a fleeting visit to Jericho. While Jake is in town, something monumentally pivotal occurs that would change the town and in fact the United States and the world as we know it. In twenty three US cities, nuclear bombs are simultaneously detonated with the closest to Jericho being in Denver, Colorado just over the border, yet at this stage nobody knows of the fact that more than one act of terrorism has occurred. Immediately, Jericho is plunged into a post apocalyptic society with no power, no communications and no way of knowing what has transpired. Jericho is alone and unaware of whether they will survive or die from nuclear fallout.

As with most apocalyptic societies, there are inevitable power struggles, jealousy, tragedy and the need to trade with neighbouring towns and eventually the main character of Jake puts aside his past and selfish ways to join with his father, the Mayor to drive the town forward and attempt survival, whilst trying to figure out what has happened. Throughout the 29 episodes, we see the struggles of a town trapped alone with limited food, whilst battling the less well off towns who effectively want to start local wars and steal resources. There are the discoveries about the events that have transpired to destroy the world, the unveiling of mysterious heroes and find out whether the world can repair the damage that has been caused, while watching relationships change and a town become united together to defend both their homes and way of life from the idiots down the road…ooh don't that sound all good and stuff!

Some Opinion

There are some superb Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Drama series that have emerged from the 2000's and sadly, many of them were cancelled prematurely despite endless campaigns to keep them afloat - Stargate SG-1 is one of the greatest to get the chop, Firefly got murdered and is probably the highest profile casualty, Fringe was not renewed so got wrapped up, although at least with a solid end. Jericho lasted just 29 episodes and because of a lack of support was ditched. It actually got cancelled after season one but 7 more episodes were commissioned to tie up loose ends - good job really, as what a waste it would have been.

The series draws on many themes from war and rivalry, to environmental issues, relationship concerns and touches on a potential parallel world that is rather apt in our current state as a planet. But predominantly, Jericho is a survival series with strong character development from the outset and over the 29 episodes we witness changes in the way certain characters adapt to the situation and interestingly how people who initially seem incapable of tying their own show laces end up coming out from the shadows to be significant in their ability to adapt. We also see that people who were considered tough and dependable end up cracking under the strain. But for me, the most significant story line surrounds the mystery of new resident Robert Hawkins who manages to keep everyone guessing and it is never apparent what role he has in the town or if there is a dark motive and this is what drives the series on and in fact glues it together and it is probably just as well, as this is where the element of danger and excitement comes from.

There is also the emergence of military occupation and political separation again, echoing certain events today and all told, it makes you realise that priorities of certain organisations differ from real people and that money and profiteering is the immediate thing that is at the front of their minds. All told, it shows a potential future that no one would want to experience and should a nuclear device ever be detonated, we are all well and truly stuffed. After watching each episode, you look at what you have and realise that so far, things are not not quite as bad as they seem.

The Filming and Effects

Filmed in California predominantly, the setting for Jericho is pretty much farmland and dusty planes and it is rather pleasant to look at. Oddly, having been within a gnats baw hair of Kansas myself, I know that the state is greener than it appears in Jericho, however, the claims are that it is on the Colorado border - so ok then, I’ll let it off. The scenes of the town were actually filmed in a town in Kansas so rather than using a set built in a studio lot in Los Angeles, the simple act of changing some signage to 'Jericho' was chosen - this way there is some realism to the series. As such there are limited special effects and certainly no green screen twaddle. It is most questionably a serious production with some money behind it, so at no stage are there wobbly sets or continuity issues and as the story develops, it gets better and better and some of the sets in particular for 'the battle of Newburn' are very well done. All told, a really enjoyable spectacle.

The Acting & Direction

The acting is, eventually, ok. The bulk of the cast are pretty much seasoned TV actors all who have appeared in many different shows and TV movies. However, at the very beginning of the series, I personally felt as though the actors were having to spend time getting to know their own characters. There wasn't an especially strong coherence between the script and the story and at felt a little loose. I was worried about episode one and it took a dose of breath holding to see whether I would be continuing, but as episode two continued, they all seemed to relax and actually began to look as though they knew what direction to take their characters in. The older cast in particular feel more comfortable in the role, although I have a bit of a loathing for Michael Gaston who plays Gray Anderson - He actually comes across as amateurish. I do think that some of this may be his character, but i found him annoying to watch.

Lennie James, a British actor, plays Robert Hawkins, pretty much the meat in the series sandwich as he plays probably the most important role for the story and as such he receives a lot of screen time. I was unaware until I saw an interview last year that James is actually very British and a proper Londoner - This does not come through at all and he applies an excellent Mid-West American accent. Skeet Ulrich, who spends a lot of the time holding a rifle and pursuing women, manages to develop his character nicely and although his acting is not exactly Oscar-esque, he is pleasant enough to watch. What is particularly good about the casting is that one of the Characters written in and cast, is Bonnie, who is registered deaf and takes on a rather important role throughout season one - it is unusual to see casting like this and the introduction of sign language being used and later learnt by some members of the townsfolk is a nice diversity issue rolled into the story. It comes across well too and doesn't feel like diversity has been added to make the series politically correct - it actually shows Bonnie as a strong role model and plays to her strengths.

The cast is actually pretty vast, and at times two whole towns converge and on this basis the direction is very good. As a rabble, they all do a great job of rioting, shouting, throwing things and being yobbos. All nice to watch and pretty convincing.

The Score

The incidental music is not the greatest score ever here - it is sort of befitting of the series and has all the hallmarks of a television series of this nature, however some of the incidental music is maybe a little over dramatic at times and not especially well considered. In particular, where some less action packed scenes occur and maybe some lighter music is required, the score borders on silly. For a time, while me and Mrs S were watching it, we would joke about it and if I needed to mash some potato for example, I would hum ridiculously over the top music as though mashing potatoes was incredibly action intensive and I may die doing it. It just needs reeled in…but it is a bit late now. However, much amusement and tickling of ones fosslegagget can occur!

A Verdict

With twenty nine episodes, it was twenty nine days where for 43 minutes a night, I didn't have to watch an idiot with a boob job eat a caterpillar and then stand under a shower awaiting the Daily Star to make up some trashy puns.

What appeared to be a bit of a questionable start, I really grew to enjoy Jericho. It certainly doesn't feel like the most expensively produced Sci-Fi series, and it certainly is far from perfect with some questionable acting and some rather frustrating plot lines - there are also a few coincidental elements that reek of being required to allow for the continuation of the story, but despite a few niggles it is actually a thoroughly enjoyable series and I was sad when it came to an end, albeit a satisfying one. The key thing I look for in programmes such as this, is whether you can empathise with the characters and do you lose yourself in their trials and tribulations and do you start to root for them and in Jericho I certainly did. I also enjoyed watching the challenges that the townsfolk had to go through to do simple tasks - almost in a McGyver type way too. There is nothing pretentious about Jericho and it doesn't try to be anything other than a post apocalyptic character driven sci-fi drama with a dose of cliffhangers and a will they won’t they edge of the seat sort of plot, and therefore you don't have to concentrate too hard to follow it. With quite a few modern issues being included in various plots relating to the real world, there is enough to make you think and relate to certain modern day events. When I reached the conclusion of the second and last season, I was sufficiently happy to say that I had watched it, I was satisfied with the conclusion, and felt that the tone of the series has been achieved in just the right way.

All told, a thoroughly enjoyable, easy to watch two series’ and oddly, I think having just two series is about right.

4 out of 5 for a quite enjoyable series which at two seasons, had to be tied up quickly although a third season could have been possible but not necessary
Availability

Currently available on Netflix (£5.99 per month) or on DVD and Blu-Ray for between £16 and £22. I would actually recommend that you sign up to Netflix for the 30 day free trial to see this quite decent sci-fi/ post apocalyptic series.

© Sirodar December 2015

Community evaluation

This review was read 1088 times and was rated at
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Comments on this review

  • cornishchic published 10/04/2016
    fantastic review x
  • hiker published 24/01/2016
    Excellent review - but I don't feel as though I've missed anything
  • GeorgieH1994 published 19/01/2016
    Excellent review
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Product Information : Jericho: The Decisive Box Set (DVD)

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Product Details

Genre: Mystery

EAN: 5014437962935

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 15 years and over

Video Category: Feature Film

Production Year: 2006

Actor(s): Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Gerald McRaney, Ashlet Scott, Kenneth Mitchell

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