Letter Re: The Jericho Television Series — A Review

Dear Jericho Staff,
So I’ve read others comments online about the TV show Jericho. I decided to watch it via the CBS.com web site and see if there was more value than my initial dismissal from the original pilot. My feelings are

On the one hand, it’s nice that someone had the guts to put a survival drama TV show on the air, in prime time, and have the guts to tell the more palatable survival-apocalyptic stories set here in the USA. Points for that. Each episode talks about a couple different survival problems. Each deals with a few new harsh realities for the population,

There’s more than a few minuses however, on the realism side. It took the heroes eight weeks to decide to form any defense against bandits. Eight long weeks. Nobody carries a handgun, no communications network is set up for a perimeter, and people are still wasting gasoline like nothing has changed. Is that how long a back supply of antidepressants they were working through? Their behavior is irrational and rational begins when the power goes out and the food starts to rot in the fridge, which is when the EMPs hit. So what have they been doing all this time?

Another question I have for them: the men don’t have beards, which means they can shave, which means that there’s hot water despite being grid down. The women wear makeup. Nobody complains about a lack of soap, or the stink of their neighbors. The blonde shows the same amount of roots at the beginning of the series as she does at the end. Wouldn’t women be letting that grow back out, or dye it one color for the sake of modesty, to prevent fights with the other women, all of whom feel self conscious about not having irreplaceable cosmetics and beauty products anymore? That particular event would make a good episode, dyeing their hair from blonde and other fancy colors to their real brown. I’m not holding my breath for that. They all wear clean clothes, and despite showing some pitiful examples of hand washing, nobody doing the washing looks angry, which when you hand wash, you definitely develop, particularly if you’re washing someone else’s clothes. Its hard work, irritating, and it does not lend to a kinder and gentler attitude.

Naturally, the children in this show are all retarded -sorry, developmentally disabled-. I’m not sure about you folks, but when a retarded child runs into a burning building to die, my first inclination is not to follow them in and join them in the Great Beyond. Darwin is our friend, and we should respect his wisdom. A child that wants to die that badly must be allowed to follow their fate. Of course, in the real world children don’t actually behave like that in a disaster. They usually have cooler heads than their parents do, and seem instinctively inclined to basic survivalism. They back away from the fire, sit down quietly somewhere safe, and wait until they’re needed or directed elsewhere. Real children are terrifyingly smart when it comes down to the basics, especially children who are mentally stressed with just a tad of shock. They’re like survival robots. 133,000 years of evolution did not go to waste. Adults could learn a lot from them.

The teenagers in this show are apparently retarded, too. Presumably, the authors have bad memories of high school and this is their revenge. It’s not well written revenge, sad to say. Few of the townspeople seem to have IQ’s over 90, nor be able to say more than “I want”, something any two year old can do. Rather than blame the actors, I’m going to put blame squarely on the writer(s) and director. I know it’s not possible to write characters smarter than you are, but the hero, Jake, isn’t much of a mental titan himself. Any fool willing to risk his life consistently because the other townspeople are too weak and too meek… well, he should be thinking about a few sick days. There’s a limit to kindness and he’s well past that line. When stupid people opt for stupid actions, and your authors aren’t smart enough to jump that idiocy and get into the meat of the problem, you slow down the progression of the plot and make the audience dismiss you as morons. You hurt yourselves writing this poorly. Compare this to a cheesy sci-fi remake like the new Battlestar Galactica. That has good dialogue which never falls into the “I’m explaining what I intend to do so you can be excited” cr*p Jericho keeps doing… Do I need to draw you a picture? The authors of Battlestar Galactica are from Star Trek, if you can believe it.

There are certain scenes in this story which really stick out. In episode 3, radioactive rain somehow removes the radioactivity. When the rain stops after a 12 hour storm, or less, they just walk out into the wet and there’s no problems. No iodine gas, no strontium 90, no thorium or cesium decaying and giving everyone fatal radiation poisoning. Nope. Somehow rainwater just cures radioisotopes. Is it because hiding underground for 14 days just isn’t sexy for their imported Hollywood stars? In episode 5, a Blackwater(equivalent) experienced combat veteran soldier sprays and prays with his only magazine of ammo out a window beyond effective range, twice. He hits one guy, and misses others he’s sworn he’d kill. Does anybody here believe that as plausible? Not I. In episode 7, an entire town of militia volunteers defends a bridge armed with shotguns (with a range of 70 yards) from a backstop of unreinforced cars at 125 yards distance from their roadblock and only one of them, the Smart Guy, owns a rifle and knows how to use it. Do you believe that? Not so much. Having lived in small towns, pretty much everybody owns and operates a deer rifle and a 200 yard head shot is easy, a matter of a few seconds effort. In the real world, 30 men armed with scoped deer rifles against 12 Blackwater troops standing without cover… that’s a very short fight. Seconds. Their armor won’t stop an ’06 or .270 bullet, and at 125 yards that’s not even a challenging head shot.

Which brings me to another point: are we honestly meant to believe these small town people don’t comprehend murder? Hoodlums threaten and they want to talk about it? Not any of the small towns I’ve known. Murder of hoodlums is the default answer. Talking is more of a courtesy than anything else. If it weren’t for threat of the sheriff making arrests, most small towns resolve hoodlums very quietly: shotgun, shovel, and silence. It’s in use today across the countryside. This is why I’m always on my best behavior around ranchers and farmers. Self preservation. With no sheriff, hoodlums get hung very publicly, and their carcasses stripped. The coffin maker stays busy. San Francisco, during the Gold Rush, had a well-earned reputation as a very rough town, where Vigilante justice hung all sorts of bad men, the day they’re caught, if not the hour. When I observe the hoodlums allowed to run around the mythical town of Jericho, and the lack of “Preventive Killing” to deal with these hoodlums… I think the authors are a tad weak in the head. At the very least those who are bullied, like the kid who owns the grocery store, would be killing a lot of these punks openly, and daring anyone to give him crap about it. He has the food. They can’t eat without him. He’s not killing everyone, just a murderer and I can easily see him being offered the right to do as he pleases. Not exactly Democracy, but the way the Mayor’s office works in this mythical town,

Like I said: points for making it at all, but don’t they think they should ask someone who gave it a little thought? Or even talk to someone in a small town so they don’t grossly mischaracterize the sort of brutal efficiency that actually exists, instead of the stupid tripe that passes for “characterization” in their TV drama? I dunno. For the sake of better ratings, maybe. Wouldn’t a more realistic drama sell better commercials dollar value, and keep the show on its stated date and time? They’ve invested in the sets, trained the crews, established their characters, trained their actors, gotten used to hauling in extras, and setup this machine to make money. They’ve also managed to mostly disgust the very people they’re trying to sell this tripe to: us. Fix your junk, guys. It’s really not that hard.
Sincerely, – InyoKern