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HTF DVD Review: Jericho - The First Season (Recommended)

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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   JustinCleveland

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Posted September 26 2007 - 04:57 AM


Jericho: The First Season

Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment/CBS Video
Year: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Running Time: 964 mins
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
MSRP: $49.99

Release Date: October 2, 2007
Review Date: September 25, 2007

A cult hit from last year’s new crop of fantastic television premieres, “Jericho” tells of a small Midwestern town that survived an apocalyptic event. Cut off from all external communications—radio, telephone, and television—the best and worst of the community are showcased as the citizenry struggle to survive and find out what happened to America. Filled with character-driven stories and tense narratives “Jericho” is the show you might have missed during its initial broadcast run—this is your chance to catch up before the new season begins this fall.

I knew little about this show before a friend started complaining that it was being cancelled. His enthusiasm was apparently shared: a vigorous letter-writing campaign convinced the network that this show was worth saving. I was curious to see what inspires this sort of loyalty; when this set arrived in the mail I gave a yelp of joy. My enthusiasm was briefly tempered by the accompanying bag of peanuts (to which I am severely allergic). Thankfully the quality of this show far supersedes the producer’s attempts to kill me.

Focusing on the residents of Jericho, the show keeps tabs on unlikely hero Jake (Skeet Ulrich) and his family. Jake, who becomes trapped in the town while passing through, becomes a reluctant leader in the post-apocalyptic society. Jake’s father, Mayor Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney) tries to hold the town together while others like police officer Robert Hawkins (Lennie James) try to keep people alive. There are a lot of stories being told, with intrigue aplenty. Questions about the nature of the bombs and the people of Jericho, such as where Jake has been in the years since he left Jericho and what motivates Robert Hawkins, kept me riveted.

I was worried that this would turn out to be a simple rehash of “The Stand” or a variety of other popular post-apocalyptic fare. When a sibling combination is introduced that includes a deaf farmer and along with two newly orphaned teenagers from different social circles who become fast friends, and we come across a bunch of dead birds, there are easy connections to other material. Thankfully the show avoids many clichés and goes in unexpected directions, staying dark but providing some rays of hope.

Well-produced and featuring a large cast of actors who play their roles to perfection, “Jericho” is amazing. Ending with cliffhangers that are second only to “Heroes” and “Lost” for their emotional resonance, it is our connection to the characters that bring us back each week. Rarely straying into the realm of melodramatic—a real concern when romantic triangles are introduced—“Jericho” manages to entertain without wearing out its welcome or premise, ending on a note that only inspires new questions. Presuming the second season suffers no sophomore slump, I can easily see adding it to my television rotation and recommend you pick up the DVDs and give this a spin before the fall premiere.

Video:
Now that’s what I’m talking about. The last few television products I have reviewed have been disappointing. This program, culled from HD masters, looks fantastic. Deep colors, fine details, and exceptional black levels result in a reference DVD. Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio enhanced for widescreen televisions, this set is about as good as I’ve seen.

Audio:
I wish I could gush as much about the audio quality. I have no negative comments to impart regarding either the 2.0 stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The dialogue is mixed nicely and while the music isn’t particularly expansive or immersive, it does the job well.

Extras:
While not overflowing with extra features this set does have a good amount, featuring a scattered set of commentaries on over half the episodes, varying between executive producer Jon Turteltaub and star Skeet Ulrich, and Dan Shotz and Karim Zreik, the shows producers. Each set is lively and packed with information about the construction of the show, the sets, character development and acting. A few of the deleted scenes also feature commentary, explaining the reason for exclusion.

Additionally there is a documentary on the history of the threat of nuclear attacks and terrorism, along with supposing how the United States would respond. Well-reasoned and though-provoking, “What If?” is a wonderful, if brief, addition to this set. Similarly, “Building Jericho” goes through the creative process behind the construction of the show. Hitting on everything from the originating ideas and the casting to set design and the gradual development of the show from a pilot to a series, this documentary feels rushed, some of the edits cutting off people mid-sentence in order to maximize the information in the time provided.

Overall:
While the later episodes in this first season were not up to the standards set by the first few, I can still heartily recommend “Jericho” to viewers who heard about the “Nuts!” campaign and want to learn more about the show that inspired such loyalty. The video quality is stellar, the extras are plentiful, and the show drives forward without hesitation. Ending on the mother of all cliffhangers, I am excited to see where the creators take the series now that it has received a reprieve.

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   RogerH

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Posted September 26 2007 - 05:37 AM

I must be in the minority as I thought the last half of the season was better than the first. But anyways it is a great show and I'm thrilled its coming back (hopefully for more than the 7 or 8 episodes slated so far). I'll be picking this one up.... and yes I liked this more than Heroes.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Firebee

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Posted September 26 2007 - 07:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerH
I must be in the minority as I thought the last half of the season was better than the first. But anyways it is a great show and I'm thrilled its coming back (hopefully for more than the 7 or 8 episodes slated so far). I'll be picking this one up.... and yes I liked this more than Heroes.

I liked both equally well. Glad ``Jericho'' didn't end up being a one-season series like so many shows: ``Invasion'' and so on. Posted Image
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#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted September 26 2007 - 10:32 AM

While I will be picking this up, I hope that someday Paramount does a HD DVD release.

#5 of 14 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted September 26 2007 - 01:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firebee
I liked both equally well. Glad ``Jericho'' didn't end up being a one-season series like so many shows: ``Invasion'' and so on. Posted Image

I got totally hooked on this show, enough to be pissed off about its cancellation, then elated about its resurrection.

Speaking of one seasoners, I am still pissed at ABC for deep sixing 'Invasion' - that was a very, very good show indeed!
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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Firebee

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Posted September 27 2007 - 06:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Middlemiss
I got totally hooked on this show, enough to be pissed off about its cancellation, then elated about its resurrection.

Speaking of one seasoners, I am still pissed at ABC for deep sixing 'Invasion' - that was a very, very good show indeed!

Yeah, I enjoyed ``Invasion,'' though I didn't watch it when it aired, but caught on the complete series set last year since it came on too late for me.
Was also happy that the fan outcry this time convinced the Eye of its stupidity and rashness to reverse its decision to kill ``Jericho,'' and hopefully it can do better with another lease on life. Posted Image
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I also have not enough time to watch all of these DVDS:

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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   joshEH

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Posted September 27 2007 - 08:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerH
I must be in the minority as I thought the last half of the season was better than the first. But anyways it is a great show and I'm thrilled its coming back (hopefully for more than the 7 or 8 episodes slated so far). I'll be picking this one up.... and yes I liked this more than Heroes.
Ditto here. This show was by far my favorite series of this past year, even over Heroes and 30 Rock, with the possible exception of the first half or so of Battlestar's last season.

CBS has mentioned that not only might they be extending Season 2 for another 7-8 episodes, but an article at IGN last week stated that the network is committed to a full 22-episode third season, if Season 2 does well enough.

Color me pumped about this set; caught the series in HD this past year, and the review's notes on the transfer have me optimistic, though I'm sorta SOL for a future Paramount HD release, being a Blu-Ray partisan.

1.85:1 aspect ratio, eh?

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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   joshEH

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Posted September 28 2007 - 09:38 AM

Incidentally, IGN just rated the Jericho set a pretty impressive 8 out of 10:

http://dvd.ign.com/a...2/822589p1.html

"Pablo, please take Chet's corpse into the other room, and then fix Mr. Hallenbeck a drink."


#9 of 14 OFFLINE   DavidEC

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Posted September 28 2007 - 10:16 PM

I live in Kansas where the show is taking place.
I grew up in a small town much like "Jericho" and it could of even been used to of shot the street scenes at, and I could of walked down the main street and pointed out living people just like in the show alive today!
I mailed in "NUTS"
The last TV show for me to send letter in on I was still in grade school... Star Trek: Orignal Series
I will be picking up this box set if for no other reason than to support the show!

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   joshEH

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Posted October 03 2007 - 07:43 AM

So...anyone pick theirs up yet (or had it delivered)?

Nice supplements on this set; didn't think there'd be this many deleted scenes. The "making-of" documentary was great, and whets one's appetite for what's coming in Season 2.

"Pablo, please take Chet's corpse into the other room, and then fix Mr. Hallenbeck a drink."


#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Firebee

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Posted October 03 2007 - 08:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshEH
So...anyone pick theirs up yet (or had it delivered)?

Nice supplements on this set; didn't think there'd be this many deleted scenes. The "making-of" documentary was great, and whets one's appetite for what's coming in Season 2.

Mine arrived on Tuesday from Amazon. Haven't looked at it or started watching it yet...have so many other shows that I'm watching at present, including ``Grey's Anatomy'' to try to catch up to this season (currently watching S2). Will watch pilot again with my best friend to see what he thinks.
Real name: Dan Hart, Big Time TV Fan.

I also have not enough time to watch all of these DVDS:

http://www.invelos.c....aspx/fire26bee

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   joshEH

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Posted October 03 2007 - 11:40 AM

Found a glowing review of the first season set over at DVD Verdict:

http://www.dvdverdic....irstseason.php


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#13 of 14 OFFLINE   streeter

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Posted October 04 2007 - 02:08 AM

Any word on the extent of the music replacement?
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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Nick_TV

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Posted October 04 2007 - 02:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by streeter
Any word on the extent of the music replacement?

I've only seen the first 3 episodes so far. The only changes I noticed where 2 music replacements at the end of episode 3 (during the party and when Dale finds the train).


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