DVD Review: Jericho (The Complete Series)

During the Fall of 2006, America was stunned with a series that asked a simple question: What would happen to your sweet and wonderful town if the major cities in America found themselves decimated by a nuclear attack? As a youth on a military base in West Germany, we were told there was a plan for what would happen in case the Soviets attacked with bombs. Part of it involved being able to use the roads to head to airports and fly home. It was a wonderful little plan that seemed completely devoid of reality. But that’s what people like to tell you, things that seem dreamy so you won’t panic until realize that this isn’t going to be so wonderful and you’re doomed. Jericho questioned what would happen in the heartland if a mushroom cloud appeared in the distance. The series didn’t make things look as simple as a “Duck and Cover” health film. Now all 29 episodes have been brought together for Jericho: The Complete Series.

Jake Green (Scream‘s Skeet Ulrich) arrives at the airport in Denver, uncovers his car and heads to the small town of Jericho, Kansas. It’s a quaint farming community where his father (Simon & Simon‘s Gerald McRaney) is the mayor. What Jake has been up to for the last few years is a slight mystery as it seems to be minor league baseball, the military or jail. But what he wants isn’t a mystery. He wants access to his inheritance. Dad doesn’t trust him. Jake has been a screw up for all his life. He only cares about himself and is trouble. The son isn’t happy heading home empty handed, but that’s when the world truly changes for him and everybody else. He can’t drive to Denver since there’s no a giant mushroom cloud in that direction. He also can’t drive because another tourist took their eyes off the road to witness the apocalypse. This ends in a head end collision. The town of Jericho is put into a panic with the fear of more nuclear annihilation around the corner. Communication with the outside world is gone with the phones, televisions and radios worthless. One person knows this is bigger since they got a call from Atlanta as a blast wipes out Southern City. The town isn’t ready to handle their lovely citizens going survivalist. But luckily a new arrival is an ex-cop (The Walking Dead‘s Lennie James) from St. Louis who understands crowd control. He makes sure the fire department knows how to keep the peace. Why not the police? Because they went off to find a school bus full of kids. Instead they discovered a bus carrying dangerous prisoners who had broken free. That doesn’t go well. The kids end up getting help from Jake who quickly realizes in the wake of the atomic attack that he’s able to be an adult.

Jericho received a lot of praise and quickly grew a cult following. But the ratings weren’t up to snuff for CBS. It didn’t help that the network pulled it from the schedule from November to most of February. But fans did their best including mailing tons of nuts to the network. CBS decided to order up 7 more episodes for season 2. Things change quick as the town finds out that there’s now the “Allied States of America.” The new country wants to bring peace to Jericho. But can they really be trusted? CBS brought doomsday to Jericho for real. But like Firefly, the fans have stuck around by watching the DVD season sets. Now both seasons have been merged into Jericho: The Complete Series. These discs and bonus features are the same as the boxsets released over a decade ago. The show has held up well since it originally destroyed America.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. Amazing to think it’s been over a decade since shows went 16:9. The resolution brings out the home town apocalypse feel. The audio is 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. Things are mixed right for crowd scenes. The episodes are subtitled.

Audio Commentaries are provided on many of the episodes.

Deleted Scenes are on most of the episodes to give a sense of what was cut away to fit a broadcast channel’s demands.

Building Jericho (24:30) goes into how the show was created and cast. There’s plenty of interviews including Skeet!

What If? (9:13) gives a bit of the science of what would happen if nearby Denver gets nuked off the map.

Rebuilding Jericho (25:56) deals with the show dodging the cancelation axe and how to get back to work.

Nut Job (9:47) covers the fans uniting to save their show.

CBS presents Jericho: The Complete Series. Starring: Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Ashley Scott, Alicia Coppola, Gerald McRaney and Esai Morales. Boxset Contents: 29 Episodes on 9 DVDs. Released: June 5, 2018.

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