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How Will Jericho Do Tonight?: The Day After

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March 12th, 2008

Skeet Ulrich as Jake on CBS’ JerichoWell, I could've had my egg sandwich this morning since I don't have to eat a diet of 100% nuts for the next year, but I'm saving it up for a late afternoon burger with my brother. I've just watched the Season 2 premiere of Jericho. The rat @^#(!$# at CBS - for whatever reason "Reconstruction" is neither on the on-demand (that makes some sense as it's a month old) or available via CBS.COM or the Innertube service (where ALL of season 1 is available and every episode of season 2 besides the premiere).

I don't think CBS is really out to squeeze whatever their cut is out of the $1.99 I paid to buy it off of iTunes. Les Moonves, despite his questionable programming decisions wasn't the fool Zucker and NBC Universal were. At least Moonves seems to understand that whatever the flaws, it's better to go where the people who are willing to buy the downloads actually are.

So I ain't gonna bitch about the buck ninety-nine. I'll watch the rest of the episodes on the On Demand. I'm glad I wrote that piece yesterday. The comments from some of the fans really spurred me on to finish season one and watch Season 2.

I definitely thought the last few episodes (especially the finale of season 1) finished better, and the pacing of the season 2 premiere seemed fine, but the truth is, I liked it, but didn't love it. That doesn't mean the show sucks or that anyone shouldn't love it. I think I can describe exactly the reasons why it's not really my cup of tea (even though I will watch catch-up via On Demand by next Tuesday just so I feel like I gave you the fans a fair shake!).

One of the comments compared this season to Season 4 of Lost (which has been excellent in my opinion), but there are differences that aren't so subtle for me. Both of the stories are in some way about survival and the nature of man, but the mystery shrouding Lost that has been slowly unveiled over 3+ years now is just more interesting to me - maybe perhaps precisely because of the mystery.

The mystery surrounding Jericho just isn't as interesting to me. Corrupt politicians? Towns battling for resources in the aftermath of the apocalypse? I'm not captivated by that, sorry.

I think the primary reason I loved the Star Treks, Stargates, Battlestar Galactica, and The Terminator franchises are because human conflict, portrayed as drama must have some really exceptional elements to keep me interested. The Sopranos could do it (at least for the first three seasons) because it was a world so far outside of my own that it was interesting. The same for The Wire - really compelling characters who deal with things very much outside of what I have to deal with on a regular basis.

While it's true Jericho's characters have to deal with surviving the apocalypse, they're just not really all that different from me. That there is now governmental strife, that's just run-of-the-mill people vs. people stuff. All the liberal versus conservative talk that happens on the Internet (even on a website about TV ratings!) is extremely uninteresting to me personally. I save that energy for sports trash-talk (which I know is completely meaningless to many!). I will watch the rest and if I wind up thinking, "Damn, it IS as good as LOST to me," I'll certainly write it and I hope it does happen that way.

But I think when it comes to humans vs. humans - it has to be exceptional, and exceptional is very hard to do. The Sopranos did it for a while and in my mind The Wire did it for its entire run. Other exceptional shows involving human vs. human drama aren't coming to the top of my mind.

The Star Trek and Stargate franchises had a benefit. Fictional aliens. Big, loud, bad teeth having stinky Klingons. Or the Wraith - kind of human, kinda insect-y. And both of those franchises plus BSG and Terminator have had huge success with cyborgs. The Borg, Human-form replicators, Cylons and of course, my governer and Summer Glau.

I suppose you could say I like fiction better than reality usually, at least when it comes to human conflict. House doesn't have Number 6 or Summer Glau going for it, but, it makes me laugh my ass off usually. Lost has - polar bears in the tropics and time travel (due to electromagnetism)? And I just like that more. I suppose that's why I like the Brad/Mimi (did Brad go and get killed, I haven't caught up yet!) I think their interactions are funny (in a very sweet way, as opposed to House which is usually in a very sarcastic way!)

For what it's worth, I do not think Jericho belongs off of CBS simply because it's not one of my favorite shows of all time. I think it belongs of CBS because even at 10pm there is an opportunity for CBS to draw 15 million viewers with the right content. Jericho is not that content. It's just business, it's not personal. For the sake of the fans (and for the potential that I will be riveted by the four episodes I have to catch up on) I hope the show survives. But it still doesn't make any sense (to me) on CBS. Even if you throw in the Internet, how flawed you think Nielsen is, etc., etc.

But you the fans should know: I'm not out to get your show - I hope it winds up landing somewhere else, where it can thrive. I still don't believe CBS is the place where that happens. So now that you have the thousand words already, here's the picture.

 
  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    If there is some kind of blogger award for “Most overuse of parenthesis”, I ought to be nominated. I have to run out, but I'll fix it later, unless I forget…

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    If there is some kind of blogger award for “Most overuse of parenthesis”, I ought to be nominated. I have to run out, but I’ll fix it later, unless I forget…

  • Mike B.

    Seidman,

    I think you are a reasonable guy. Aside from the first ten minutes, I didn't like Reconstruction. I thought it highlighted a lot of mediocre acting and bad writing. It was a step back IMO from the last seven episodes from Season 1. Fortunately, episodes 2-5 in Season 2 were really well done, and take the show to a darker place than it was at in season one.

    I think your probably right in that its a business decision for CBS, and that the show could probably exist on Sci-Fi or CW, but I would not be surprised if CBS gave the writers another abbreviated set of episodes next fall to complete the arc they wanted to tell over a three season period. If the show goes to Sci-Fi or CW, I think it would take on the mediocre Season 1 characteristics.

    The one difference between this season and last season is that generally content reviews are positive for the show. Last year ratings and reviews stunk. CBS may want to see if positive press, 9-12 months of syndication on Sci-Fi & Universal, plus a year of DVD viewing could build a bigger audience. Considering all of CBS pilots except for Moonlight flopped this year, they could find a couple days to squeeze in the remaining Jericho episodes needed to complete the story. For whatever reason, a lot of people write about this show. There are a lot of vocal fans. There are a lot of non-traditional viewers that watch the show that CBS would probably like to tap as a demographic and learn more about. I think the existing cast, writers, producers and directors would rather do another 7 to 10 episodes to finish their grand arc than go to another network for 22 watered-down episodes. As a fan, I would rather see the former as well. Several Jericho producers are already on other pilots next year, so they aren't planning full-time Jericho jobs, but they have also expressed hope for continuing Jericho.

    If the content reviews continue improving, and the writers and producers pitch good ideas for wrapping up the grand arc next year, I think CBS would not risk much by setting aside 7 to 10 timeslots over the course of the entire fall viewing season.

  • Mike B.

    Seidman,

    I think you are a reasonable guy. Aside from the first ten minutes, I didn't like Reconstruction. I thought it highlighted a lot of mediocre acting and bad writing. It was a step back IMO from the last seven episodes from Season 1. Fortunately, episodes 2-5 in Season 2 were really well done, and take the show to a darker place than it was at in season one.

    I think your probably right in that its a business decision for CBS, and that the show could probably exist on Sci-Fi or CW, but I would not be surprised if CBS gave the writers another abbreviated set of episodes next fall to complete the arc they wanted to tell over a three season period. If the show goes to Sci-Fi or CW, I think it would take on the mediocre Season 1 characteristics.

    The one difference between this season and last season is that generally content reviews are positive for the show. Last year ratings and reviews stunk. CBS may want to see if positive press, 9-12 months of syndication on Sci-Fi & Universal, plus a year of DVD viewing could build a bigger audience. Considering all of CBS pilots except for Moonlight flopped this year, they could find a couple days to squeeze in the remaining Jericho episodes needed to complete the story. For whatever reason, a lot of people write about this show. There are a lot of vocal fans. There are a lot of non-traditional viewers that watch the show that CBS would probably like to tap as a demographic and learn more about. I think the existing cast, writers, producers and directors would rather do another 7 to 10 episodes to finish their grand arc than go to another network for 22 watered-down episodes. As a fan, I would rather see the former as well. Several Jericho producers are already on other pilots next year, so they aren't planning full-time Jericho jobs, but they have also expressed hope for continuing Jericho.

    If the content reviews continue improving, and the writers and producers pitch good ideas for wrapping up the grand arc next year, I think CBS would not risk much by setting aside 7 to 10 timeslots over the course of the entire fall viewing season.

  • Mike B.

    Seidman,

    I think you are a reasonable guy. Aside from the first ten minutes, I didn’t like Reconstruction. I thought it highlighted a lot of mediocre acting and bad writing. It was a step back IMO from the last seven episodes from Season 1. Fortunately, episodes 2-5 in Season 2 were really well done, and take the show to a darker place than it was at in season one.

    I think your probably right in that its a business decision for CBS, and that the show could probably exist on Sci-Fi or CW, but I would not be surprised if CBS gave the writers another abbreviated set of episodes next fall to complete the arc they wanted to tell over a three season period. If the show goes to Sci-Fi or CW, I think it would take on the mediocre Season 1 characteristics.

    The one difference between this season and last season is that generally content reviews are positive for the show. Last year ratings and reviews stunk. CBS may want to see if positive press, 9-12 months of syndication on Sci-Fi & Universal, plus a year of DVD viewing could build a bigger audience. Considering all of CBS pilots except for Moonlight flopped this year, they could find a couple days to squeeze in the remaining Jericho episodes needed to complete the story. For whatever reason, a lot of people write about this show. There are a lot of vocal fans. There are a lot of non-traditional viewers that watch the show that CBS would probably like to tap as a demographic and learn more about. I think the existing cast, writers, producers and directors would rather do another 7 to 10 episodes to finish their grand arc than go to another network for 22 watered-down episodes. As a fan, I would rather see the former as well. Several Jericho producers are already on other pilots next year, so they aren’t planning full-time Jericho jobs, but they have also expressed hope for continuing Jericho.

    If the content reviews continue improving, and the writers and producers pitch good ideas for wrapping up the grand arc next year, I think CBS would not risk much by setting aside 7 to 10 timeslots over the course of the entire fall viewing season.

  • http://www.jerichotimes.com JT

    I think you need to see the number alittle bit closer. Jericho has stayed in the same ratings for the last five esp. WE have not had a major lost like we did in Season 1. You also have to look at wother shows that are on CSI and Law and Order are always going to get ratings. Hell. I even watch them even though it saw that same show like 100 times.

    I just wanted to make a comment that the tone is kinda of depressing. For someone who wants to “help” jericho fans and adverise “check on jericho” and then turn around bash the show. I don't get it. Oh well.

    lol

    jt

  • http://www.jerichotimes.com JT

    I think you need to see the number alittle bit closer. Jericho has stayed in the same ratings for the last five esp. WE have not had a major lost like we did in Season 1. You also have to look at wother shows that are on CSI and Law and Order are always going to get ratings. Hell. I even watch them even though it saw that same show like 100 times.

    I just wanted to make a comment that the tone is kinda of depressing. For someone who wants to “help” jericho fans and adverise “check on jericho” and then turn around bash the show. I don't get it. Oh well.

    lol

    jt

  • http://www.jerichotimes.com JT

    I think you need to see the number alittle bit closer. Jericho has stayed in the same ratings for the last five esp. WE have not had a major lost like we did in Season 1. You also have to look at wother shows that are on CSI and Law and Order are always going to get ratings. Hell. I even watch them even though it saw that same show like 100 times.

    I just wanted to make a comment that the tone is kinda of depressing. For someone who wants to “help” jericho fans and adverise “check on jericho” and then turn around bash the show. I don’t get it. Oh well.

    lol

    jt

  • http://www.informednetworker.com David Mackey

    Yeah, I think SciFi should pick up Jericho…and put it on the internet. I don't get TV, I've watched every episode online (mainly at Innertube).

  • http://www.informednetworker.com David Mackey

    Yeah, I think SciFi should pick up Jericho…and put it on the internet. I don't get TV, I've watched every episode online (mainly at Innertube).

  • http://www.informednetworker.com David Mackey

    Yeah, I think SciFi should pick up Jericho…and put it on the internet. I don’t get TV, I’ve watched every episode online (mainly at Innertube).

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    JT — the numbers are the numbers. They weren't good five weeks ago, they're not good now. That they didn't get much worse after week 2 is better than if they did. That's not the same as good. That's how I see it, so that's how I called it.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    JT — the numbers are the numbers. They weren't good five weeks ago, they're not good now. That they didn't get much worse after week 2 is better than if they did. That's not the same as good. That's how I see it, so that's how I called it.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    JT — the numbers are the numbers. They weren’t good five weeks ago, they’re not good now. That they didn’t get much worse after week 2 is better than if they did. That’s not the same as good. That’s how I see it, so that’s how I called it.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Mike B — you make good points but I don't see CBS doing that. They weren't happy with the ratings last year. This year is worse and it's not killing in the youth demos either. There's more than one good show on broadcast without good numbers, and they generally all meet with the same fate, quality notwithstanding. Unlike a sitcom or more generic serial, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for CBS to grow viewership just because the content improved.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Mike B — you make good points but I don't see CBS doing that. They weren't happy with the ratings last year. This year is worse and it's not killing in the youth demos either. There's more than one good show on broadcast without good numbers, and they generally all meet with the same fate, quality notwithstanding. Unlike a sitcom or more generic serial, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for CBS to grow viewership just because the content improved.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Mike B — you make good points but I don’t see CBS doing that. They weren’t happy with the ratings last year. This year is worse and it’s not killing in the youth demos either. There’s more than one good show on broadcast without good numbers, and they generally all meet with the same fate, quality notwithstanding. Unlike a sitcom or more generic serial, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for CBS to grow viewership just because the content improved.

  • Danielle

    Oooh you have to finish the rest of season two soon! No soilers but wow. Thats all I have to say. Let us know what you think. Its okay that you don't love it, not every show will be loved by everyone but it means a lot that you took that step to actually finish at least the first season. Enjoy the next 4 or 5 episodes. Oversight and Termination for Cause blew me away.

    I really hope Jericho lands another season or another network. At this point I really don't care which.

  • Danielle

    Oooh you have to finish the rest of season two soon! No soilers but wow. Thats all I have to say. Let us know what you think. Its okay that you don't love it, not every show will be loved by everyone but it means a lot that you took that step to actually finish at least the first season. Enjoy the next 4 or 5 episodes. Oversight and Termination for Cause blew me away.

    I really hope Jericho lands another season or another network. At this point I really don't care which.

  • Danielle

    Oooh you have to finish the rest of season two soon! No soilers but wow. Thats all I have to say. Let us know what you think. Its okay that you don’t love it, not every show will be loved by everyone but it means a lot that you took that step to actually finish at least the first season. Enjoy the next 4 or 5 episodes. Oversight and Termination for Cause blew me away.

    I really hope Jericho lands another season or another network. At this point I really don’t care which.

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