Show of hands: Is there any Jericho fan on Earth who awaits each episode eagerly because he can't wait to find out what's happening with Eric and April?!
Remember when I wrote about Thing-o-phobia? How networks hate it when their shows are about what they're supposed to be about? So Windfall isn't about the lottery, it's instead a long, boring study of a marriage breaking up.
Well, now we have a show about the end of the world. But to give it some zazz, they keep dwelling on... a long, boring study of a marriage breaking up.
(Rule of thumb: if your show's about the Apocalypse, you really don't need to "add drama." The movie Testament was fairly dramatic, don't you think?)
Beyond that, no offense, but the guy who plays Eric may be the least interesting and charismatic person I've ever seen on television. Whenever he's on screen, I see the color draining from my TV and feel the joy draining from my life.
Meanwhile, some genius decided it would be a good idea to hire Gerald McRaney, who was so mesmerizing on Deadwood... and then have him literally sleep through, like, five episodes. I'm not kidding: he was asleep!
I really want to like this show, and I keep watching because I keep hoping the good parts will start soon. But they keep making wrong choices. (IMHO)
For example, last night Chinese-labeled packages were parachuted in, full of food and water. So was a generator, which was stolen by bandits who live outside of town (don't ask). Immediately, Skeet Ulrich warns everyone that the food may be poisoned, and Mayor McRaney quarantines the stuff. An argument breaks out. Some people in town eat anyway.
Then (here come the bad decisions) the food turns out to be okay, the generator gets stolen back and gives the town Christmas lights, a couple kisses, and an absentee Dad makes it up to his kids. (Oh, and a character who is good one week and evil the next turned good again, just so we would feel bad about the character's death. I didn't.)
Now, here's what I would have done instead, and you tell me if it wouldn't be more interesting: A few defiant town members eat the food (as did one character we love, who didn't know about the ban). The generator gets stolen before they can use it.
As they plot to get it back, there is a massive explosion outside of town. The generator wasn't a generator at all: It was a huge bomb that blew when it was switched on, and half the outlaws are dead and the others need help, but most of the town doesn't want to help them; a moral crisis ensues, and on Thanksgiving no less. Meanwhile, those who ate the food put on their "uh oh!" faces. Was the food poisoned? Will they die next week? Will they save the injured outlaws? Will the outlaws, injured and without food or water, go all Mad Max on the town? If the Chinese are hostile and have unlimited air power, how will the Jerichonians survive? Will it lead to a dozen interesting cliffhangers for next week's season finale?
I would watch that show, what about you?
(By the way, it must have been infectious, because The Nine and Day Break, both shows I like a lot, also seemed to be playing a game of "What would be the least interesting choice?" at every turn last night. And the only thing that consistently bothers me about Day Break is that Taye Diggs keeps trying to find a way to explain his predicament, in roundabout sentences, and finally gives up when the other person doesn't get it. You or I or anyone in the world would simply say, "It's like I'm living in Groundhog Day!" and the other person would instantly understand the concept.)
One more Jericho quibble, and this isn't Jericho's fault, it's CBS's. Has anyone else noticed that CBS shows just look... well... crappier than the other networks' shows? Not the writing, I mean the physical look of the shows.
I mean, compare Lost to Jericho. The former is stunning and lush and rich-looking, and the latter is washed out and looks like six extras standing around some empty land in Bakersfield.
Matthew Fox... or Skeet Ulrich? Naveen Andrews... or the guy who plays Eric? Terry O'Quinn... or the guy who plays the other guy running for mayor? It's all just so bland and cut-rate.
Even compare, say, the rich look of the Law & Order shows to the bland Hardcastle & McCormick look of Numb3rs. Or compare Medium and Heroes to Ghost Whisperer. Or House to 3 lbs.
(The exception is, of course, the CSI shows, but I credit that to the look of those shows having been established by Touchstone.)
I mean, you could put a show in front of me and not tell me what network it's on, and I know I could probably tell you whether it is or isn't a CBS show. Think about it: Does Justice look like a CBS show? The O.C.? The Nine? No. But Close to Home sure does.
Even compare the look of Conan's show to the look of Craig Ferguson's. It's like an entire network is being shot with camcorders.
I hope a cinematographer or someone else with the technical savvy I lack can explain if I'm seeing things, or if there truly is a stylistic difference between a lot of CBS shows and better-looking shows on other networks.
By the way, I've been awfully rough on CBS, but it's only fair with all the CSI and Criminal Minds plugging I've been doing. And I hope all the networks -- and all of you -- have a very happy Thanksgiving. Everyone should. Even that guy who plays Eric.