Saturday, July 05, 2008

FanBoyWonder’s ‘Special’ Way To Save Jericho

The website SyFyPortal is reporting that an effort is underway to get the brilliant but (twice) canceled CBS action drama Jericho staring Skeet Ulrich made on the big screen as a major motion picture.

As you may or may not be aware, CBS—the one-time “Tiffany Network”—brought back the once-canceled Jericho this past winter for an abbreviated seven-episode second season following a massive, well publicized and we have to admit brilliantly unorthodox viewer revolt in which CBS was inundated with peanuts as a protest to the network suits.

Jericho was unexpectedly canceled mid-cliffhanger at the end of the 2006-07 viewing season, brought back again this year and canceled once more following low ratings—this despite widespread critical acclaim and significant media coverage of the show’s return.

Here’s a Jericho Recap thanks to Wikipedia: “The storyline centers on the residents of Jericho, a small, rural Kansas town, in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on 23 major cities in the contiguous United States. The series begins with a visible nuclear detonation of unknown origin over nearby Denver, Colorado, and a loss of power and modern communications, effectively isolating Jericho. Later, power is restored to Jericho by what is alluded to as the efforts of the U.S. government, but soon after, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) disables all electronics.

Several themes regularly addressed in the show included the gathering of information, community identity, public order, limited resources, the value of family, hardships of fatherhood and internal and external threats. The show also features several mysteries involving the backgrounds of major characters, the perpetrators of the attack, and the extent of damage to the United States and its government.

“The pivotal character in this story is Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich), the 32-year-old son of Mayor Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney), who briefly returns home to visit his family and friends before becoming stranded as a result of the catastrophe. After a somewhat awkward return home and a tense reunion with his father, Jake steps up to become a leader in Jericho, fighting to protect the town and its citizens. As the people of Jericho struggle to survive in a changed world, most remain unaware that one of the newest residents, Robert Hawkins (Lennie James), knows much more about the attacks than he lets on.”

In addition to the move to produce Jericho: The Movie, there is a separate effort by seriously dedicated fans to seek a long-shot cancellation reversal for a third season of Jericho.

They mean business as the group has raised enough money to produce and air a Save Jericho in select television markets throughout these Allied States of America.

As regular FanBoyWonder readers know, we were quite late jumping on the Jericho bandwagon and we make no bones about it. While vaguely aware of the show during the first season, shortly before the second season earlier this year, we caught a marathon of the first four Jericho episodes on the Sci-Fi channel, became hooked immediately, and caught up on the first season as quick as we could thanks to the CBS website.

Hey Sci-Fi Channel….what happened to the rest of the episodes? They canceled the series but that shouldn’t you from airing the re-runs that you already bought and paid for.

Bad enough you screwed us by holding the Final Episodes of Battlestar Galactica until 2009 but geez…you play re-runs of the under-rated, long-canceled Star Trek Enterprise religiously every week—how about making some room for Jericho in the bullpen? But we digress.

Let us reiterate that—in our humble opinion—Jericho Season 1 is some of the finest television we have ever seen, hands down. Every single episode of the 22 episode season was top shelf from acting to scripting to visually.

Jericho Season 2—returning some 18 months later—was only half as good. This was NOT just because it was a shorted season but because the show lost all of its storytelling momentum (it was DEAD after all), its original band of writers had moved on to other jobs and because the show’s moral center— Gerald McRaney had been killed off at the end of Season One.

Still, a half is good Jericho is still better than three-fourths of the shows out there (two words—“Bionic Woman”. There we said it).

Suffice to say that FanBoyWonder drank the Jericho, liked the bittersweet taste, and drank some more.

So to serious Jericho die hards out there reading this—please take this as the word of a friend when we say that the odds of Jericho hitting the big screen are about the same as Jericho Season 3 being green-lit by CBS or even by a smaller cable network—Slim-to-None and Slim just left Bailey’s Tavern on the way out of town ahead of the mushroom cloud.

Even if by some Herculean effort one or the other did happen, neither a movie or a third season would be the Jericho we all know and loved.

Jericho The Movie by virtue of its format might, and the operative word here is MIGHT have a bigger budget but it would NOT be a character drama as was the show’s main strength.

Furthermore, how many people realistically would go out and spend $7 to $10 or more at the multiplex to see the film version of a low-rated television show they may nor may not have heard of (okay there is Star Trek but that’s lighting in a bottle).

On the other hand, Jericho Season 3 would, by necessity, have an even leaner budget, which would mean even fewer characters/actors would return and/or crappy production values.

Either way, the magic would be gone and it would be a shadow of the true Jericho.

A ‘Special’ Appeal To Tom Selleck

FanBoyWonder proposes a third way—Jericho The Special television movie event (No wait, hear us out!).

In the same periodic movie format, CBS airs the Jesse Stone series (based on the novels by Robert B. Parker) staring Tom Selleck—so far four have aired with a fifth in production to air later this year—CBS could do the same with Jericho Specials.

Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone series itself is a bastardization of the format used by the BBC’s Prime Suspect (staring Dame Helen Mirren) which just recently wrapped some 15 years worth of periodic television movie episodes.

CBS could produce and broadcast Jericho TV Specials—movies that are action-packed and self-contained stories but that also further character grown and build off the continuity and history of the series and each previous TV movie.

Tom Selleck—Jesse Stone executive producer as well as star and a guy with CBS Head-honcho Les Moonves’ ear—should get on board with the concept of Jericho Specials (we humbly suggest).

What’s in it for Tom Selleck? Well, Tom Selleck if CBS should broadcast another series in the same periodic format, it would only bolster Tom Selleck’s/Jesse Stone’s long-term prospects and not make Tom Selleck’s series such a lone-wolf in the network wilderness.

Tom Selleck, FanBoyWonder calls upon the power of Google Finder Tom Selleck to send this blog posting Tom Selleck’s way and humbly ask Tom Selleck to heed our words.

And hey Tom Selleck, please keep those Jesse Stone movies coming Tom Selleck—you’re the TOPS Tom Selleck (Do you think we said Tom Selleck’s name enough times for it to work TOM SELLECK???).

Anyway, Jericho might not be able to sustain a weekly appointment television audience to satisfy Mr. Nielson but rallying the loyal viewership and recruiting some newcomers to view a two-hour movie once or twice a calendar year is doable (TOM SELLECK).

Added bonus: A TV movie format would free the Jericho cast (starving actors all) to look for other work while allowing them the flexibility to come back and reprise their roles for these reunion specials.

Perpetually on the bubble, Team Jericho would have the freedom to produce each TV movie as if it were their last—unless or until the ratings render the final verdict.

Our suggestion for the first (of hopefully many) Jericho specials, follow up on the events at the end of Season 2 and play out the Second American Civil War but from Jericho’s perspective as the town seeks to free itself from the shackles of the “Allied States of America.”

Hey CBS big honcho Les Moonves—if you green-light this effort to SAVE JERICHO AGAIN, we will watch it and we promise to bring friends. Who is with us (TOM SELLECK)??????


Blogger kystorms said...

While I and many Jericho fans dearly want Jericho returned to the small screen, you raise many good points with this article and many many good ideas to think over.
Thank you for the write up, and I hope TPTB read and consider your words.

10:30 AM, July 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of those many fans that wishes to see Jericho return as a weekly series. But if that is not to happen this is a very viable solutiong that I could live with if I had to. Thank you for the well thought out article and I hope it gets to the right eyes and ears!!!


12:19 PM, July 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could live with this. Kinda reminds me of the NBC weekly movies in the 80's. One week it was McCloud, then next Columbo, and so on. About one episode a month of each aired. I could do with an episode a month of Jericho!

VeeMaxx (Don)

1:31 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger George said...

A movie worked out pretty good not only for Star Trek but also, "Firefly"
So that's two bottles with lighting?

1:36 PM, July 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting idea.

I've put a link/summary in our Jericho blog/news archive.


2:15 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger FanBoyWonder said...

Hey everbody,
Thanks so much for your comments and your postive reception to my little brainstorm.

I also hope that the TPTB get wind of this--let some junior network exeuctive surf the web, take the idea as his or her own and run with it.

VeeMaxx--I know exactly what you are talking about but I think it was ABC--it was a roating cast of 4 TV movie characters--Colombo, Kojak and a couple of others I can't recall right now.
The point is that this is not new nor is it such a wild idea--there is precident for this.

George--I did actually think of Firefly but until there is a sequel (or five) to Serenity, I think Trek is the best example.

Gwen--Thanks for reading and spreading the word.

And Thanks for all for reading and feel free to keep coming back.


1:15 PM, July 06, 2008  
Blogger Juanita's Journal said...

"Jericho Season 2—returning some 18 months later—was only half as good. This was NOT just because it was a shorted season but because the show lost all of its storytelling momentum (it was DEAD after all), its original band of writers had moved on to other jobs and because the show’s moral center— Gerald McRaney had been killed off at the end of Season One."

I have to disagree with this assessment. Granted, Season 2 was more plot driven than Season 1. But that was because CBS only allowed seven episodes for that particular season. And quite frankly, I thought that Season 2 managed to maintain the quality of the first season.

As for Gerald McRaney's departure . . . yes, I missed his presence. But Johnston Green was what one would describe as a mentor role - think Obi-Wan Kenobi, etc. And such roles tend to be killed off, forcing younger main characters like Jake and Eric Green to mature even further.

3:18 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger FanBoyWonder said...

Hey Juanita,

I can’t argue with any of your points. I REALLY did like Johnston Green—especially the chemistry that he shared with his wife, Pamela Reed’s character. You are right that the Green boys had to step up and become men in their own right upon their father’s death but it doesn’t change my disappointment at the loss of such a great character or that the town and the show suffered an irreplaceable loss.

To clarify my feelings regarding Season 2, I DO stand by my assessment that Season 2 fell short compared to Season 1 but in no way is it a fair comparison.

I firmly believe that Team Jericho did the very best they could and no one could have done better and that they did indeed produce seven quality episodes but there is no denying the fact that they had significantly less to work with in terms of storytelling resources.

Hopefully, Jericho will come back in some form but if not, I’m sure that in following years, the vast majority of people will look back and realize just what a special show Jericho was.

Thanks for reading.

6:37 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger Devid said...

The show is very Popular even the show is canceled after its first season.Millions of People download Jericho from different sites and enjoy the show.I also got a good source to watch the show Here..

5:59 AM, March 12, 2009  

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