Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jericho, a Retrospective



I was an instant fan of the television series that debuted last season titled Jericho. I watched each episode with rapt attention, often going back and re-watching each a second and even third time. My family said I was obsessed, and I will admit I was to an extent. Part of the draw I think had to do with the state of the world that we live in. Actively at war, and with September 11, 2001 not so far in our past, Jericho stepped onto the television screen with what I felt was a viable, if not very accurate look at what we might be headed for lest we learn to come to some very broad agreements with the countries we call both friend and foe. Add to the story background enough personal drama to rival the best soap opera, and I, and many others, were admittedly hooked.

With news stations and cable channels, carrying often graphic descriptions and views of the war many of our friends and family are actively part of, some people questioned the practicality of airing such a show. And I often wondered myself how the shows creators approached the higher ups who had to make the decision on whether this was not only a show that could engage viewers, but if it was a show that was even politically correct to air. If I were to have been in that room, my question would have been is it politically correct for the ones we loved and lost to not air this show. While though it is strictly fictional and one would hope it would never, ever come to fruition, the sad facts remain that on some levels, this show has been put forth as a warning of what might still be to come. When you consider the idea of nuclear war, and that if the world leaders can not get their acts together and once and for all, agree to disagree on some subjects, and agree to work on the subjects that can better the world as a whole, a doomsday scenario is something that many of the worlds population believe could happen. In addition, it is not only something that might happen to a future generation that is yet to be born, but also a valid worry, for the generations that currently call this world home.

Most television shows, which are chosen by those in command of the airwaves, are predominately chosen on the merit of whether they will attract viewers and make the studios money. This one most likely came through the door with both that obvious question attached to it, along with a completely separate element of discussion and decisions at a time that the subject at hand could actually be too close to home. Am I saying that I think we could potentially be exposed to the same terrors that strike at the start of Jericho? I would certainly hope not, but the truth remains that nuclear technology does exist. Along with that technology are cultures that clash violently, and with the many clashes, access to each other like no other wartime on this planet we call earth. Plane travel, coupled with borders into and out of countries that are not as secure as one would hope they would be in this day and age, and the groundwork for a real life Jericho is not that far fetched, and I think that is what the draw is for so many viewers of this show. We see our potential selves layered between the fictional characters of Jericho. We see neighbors, and family that live next door to each other and close by towns, business people, farmers, rich, poor, all mixed together with one common goal, the goal to survive and have some sort of semblance that we take for granted. We see good people and bad, and a fine line drawn between the two. When survival is the object of the day, that line can quickly become clouded. Jericho affords viewers the luxury of working out some of our worst fears in the safety and comforts of our recliners, popcorn bowl beside us, and in a time when a real war is literally at our own doorstep.