Fridays are a day we all look forward to: it signals the end of the school/work week, the beginning of the weekend, and a break from the usual grind. However, in terms of television, Friday is usually a slow day…until now.
Starting this Friday, Cultural Learnings will be starting a weekly feature aptly called “Jericho Fridays.” As the series films its seven new episodes, and its fans continue to rally behind the cause, I figure that a normally slow day like Friday is the perfect day to showcase a series that deserves more attention.
Each Friday, I’ll be covering some Jericho news bytes along with that night’s rerun in the Jericho Rerun Report, and look back at some of the stories I wrote, and ones others wrote, about the campaign through a new lens.
However, more than anything else, I want to know what Jericho fans want to hear, and what is on their minds. The big problem right now is that CBS and the fans just aren’t communicating enough to provide a united front.
It is my view that summer reruns are an underutilized tool in promoting a series; however, I see where the concerns lie. There is little reason for people to turn into reruns: they’ve likely already seen the episode, and even if they haven’t they’re unlikely to choose a repeat over new programming on another network. However, some reruns are more watchable than others, and there is one distinct reason why: because people have a reason to watch.
When Jericho was renewed by CBS in June after a month-long fan campaign to save the show, there was a promise made that the show would be rerunning over the summer. Immediately, fans began to get people excited about this prospect. Jericho is the perfect series for reruns: it lost a portion of its original audience thanks to a hiatus, and it created buzz that made people curious enough to tune in.
And there’s where I think comes the show’s watchability: you feel like you’re watching something that has been earned, that has been warranted, and that has some sort of meaning. This isn’t just CBS filling the schedule: this is the work of thousands of devoted fans beaming into your television set Fridays at 9pm. I, personally, find that somewhat inspiring.
What fascinates me about this episode of Jericho is that it changes everything, in a way: we are now at a point where hope cannot be taken at face value, and where even a figure of authority can be a pure falsehood. This is what was missing early on in the series: I think that good and evil were too clearly defined, but now the world is as unclear as it really should be in the wake of an attack of this nature.
In this episode, the “Marines” represent the unfortunate future that lies ahead: the politics of this world are not crystal clear good vs. evil. It’s so interesting to see the reaction to word that South Korea and Iran have been bombed, and how quickly that news falls aside in favour of news of hope for the future. I think that’s a natural reaction, not some sort of ignorance to the ramifications of the bombs: on the list of pieces of information my mind would settle on as a member of Jericho’s community, I think “hope” would go above “war”.
And really, the stakes changed with Sarah and Hawkins as well. What seemed like a pointless and meandering story last week suddenly became atomic in nature: literally. Throwing the “package” into the mix certainly throws a further wrench into the loss of innocence, snatched away again by the revelation that the Marines are not the Marines. The Greens are the ones who figure this out, of course, but the townspeople remain unaware.
This is a rather exciting edition of the J.R.R.: this is the first Jericho rerun that I’ve watched that I haven’t already seen! I missed last week’s episodes, but I caught up on them through Wikipedia recaps so I’d be ready to partake in this episode. I’ve heard some positive things bandied about, so I went in with some expectations to be sure.
And I think it met them. This episode brought a lot of things that I found were missing after the pilot: action, some level of intrigue, and a slight sense of humour that is really charming. Perhaps most importantly, however, the threats have become more real. Winter is not something like short term food shortages, it is a true threat that could cripple this community. Combine this with the amounts of peril found in the remainder of the episode, and you have a powerful hour of television.
It is regrettable, to say the least, that I won’t be able to be present this evening to watch what is decidedly the most important night for fans of Jericho and for those who used to be fans of Jericho. With much of the CBS show’s audience loss taking place after the mid-season hiatus, the recap special airing at 8pm EDT is a perfect way for those fans to return to the show with a refresher course followed immediately by “Black Jack”, the next episode, at 9pm EDT.
I am one of those people, one of those people who unfortunately stopped watching before things apparently picked up in the show’s second half. This was the night I was supposed to give it a big chance, start fresh with this series. Alas, I am actually heading to a White Stripes concert this evening, and will unfortunately be absent.
However, I still encourage everyone to check out these episodes of television if you’re at home and don’t have a White Stripes concert to attend. This is the moment that people should be rallying together for: while the pilot is fine and good, this is where the series both gets interesting and where it began to suffer in the ratings. The more people who get hooked now, the more that might be around when the show’s third season premieres.
Forget about ratings for tonight, even though they certainly are going to be the big story tomorrow: instead, focus on what this could mean from a fanbase perspective. This is huge, folks. Make it count.
Also feel free to leave your thoughts about the episodes after they air below.
Welcome to the 1st Edition of the J.R.R., or the Jericho Rerun Report, where we’ll be reviewing the rerun episodes airing throughout the summer. This is a unique edition of the J.R.R. since I’ve already seen this particular episode. So what’s it like watching a 2nd time around? Well, it’s kind of a mixed bag.
On the one hand, things move incredibly quickly in the early part of this episode with what is a lot of exposition crammed into about four minutes. We see Jake return to the strains of Brandon Flower and The Killers, entering into Jericho and providing a wide cast of characters with alibis as to his location for the past five years. The Navy, the Army, Minor League Baseball. We meet Stanley, Bonnie, Dale, Skylar, and all of the other casts of characters. What we learn? Jake’s been gone for a while, he’s mysterious, and he’s got daddy issues.
I actually think that this is a serious problem with the pilot: everything moves too darn quickly. It seems as if they were trying to fit all of this into a very short period of time, and it just doesn’t work that way. Here we’re getting years of history, family struggles between Eric and Jake, and we’re not even eight minutes into the episode. Starting out slow might have allowed the series to develop at a more natural pace. Instead, all of the “cool” setup is included in the pilot to “sell the show”.
And, to be honest, it sold me on the show’s potential quite quickly. The iconic shot in the image above is a stunning visage, and takes your breath away at first glance. The problem is that for the following ten or so episodes, it wasn’t about bombs and aftermath at all. It became a series about a community trying to return to a normal life, which we only got to see for about seven minutes. It’s hard to get attached to something that you only got to spend seven minutes with, you know?
It is now been over a month and a half since the cancellation and subsequent resurrection of CBS’ Jericho, and the time has come for Jericho fans to put their devotion to the test. As announced in early June, CBS begins reairing half of the show’s first season tonight at 9pm EDT on CBS with the show’s one-hour pilot.
For all of Cultural Learnings’ Jericho Coverage, Click Here.
This is a substantial test for CBS, and is basically the most definitive post-renewal moment that its fans have faced. These reruns are designed to give new fans a chance to catch the show, while also testing to see whether the people who shelled out cash for Nuts are also willing to also take an hour out of their Friday evening in order to spend some time in Kansas.
Here at Cultural Learnings, we’ll be bringing the Jericho Rerun Report to life each Friday evening where we’ll recap the episode and give fans a place to discuss thethe episode in general or, if they’re watching it for the first time, whether or not it turned them into a fan. I personally watched the first few episodes of the series, but lost interest before things got, apparently, much more interesting. So, some of this will be new for me as well. Will these reruns be enough to win over a jaded viewer? Only time will tell.
The JRR for tonight’s airing of the Pilot will be posted, clearly, tonight. However, for now, here are a few ratings benchmarks to consider for CBS coming into tonight’s broadcast.
Ghost Whisperer (Lead-In)
Jericho should look to maintain a sizable portion of its Ghost Whisperer lead-in, especially in the key demo of 18-49.
Last Week’s Ratings for Ghost Whisperer: 4.54 Million Viewers (18-49 – 1.3/6)
Two Weeks Ago: 4.25 Million Viewers (18-49 – 1.1/5)