Ultimately, Jericho was cancelled due to ratings. Like many good shows that debut on primary networks, it couldn’t generate and maintain a sufficient audience. The premise of a small Kansas community being cut-off from the rest of the world during a nuclear attack on the United States was intriguing. In comparison to most shows that build their premise on a shattering national or global event, Jericho tried to address real issues that might arise. Rationing food, maintaining community identity, and rising to the challenges of administration and leadership during an ongoing crisis were explored.
Unfortunately, Jericho’s greatest strength was also its greatest weakness. Surviving and rebuilding after an epic disaster week after week isn’t necessarily exciting television. In 1915, the New York Times referred to the Great War as “Months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror”. I would expect that is a realistic expectation for most long duration episodes of community based self-reliance. However, that doesn’t translate to thrilling television. By trying to inject deeper conspiracy-minded subplots into major characters, writers attempted to create intrigue at the expense of realism.
I enjoyed Skeet Ulrich actually playing a more mature character after Scream and Gerald McRaney of Major Dad/Simon & Simon excels as a community leader. Had the series debuted on a smaller network, I think it could have built a stronger following. Since it is currently available for free to Netflix and Amazon Prime subscribers I would encourage everyone to check it out.