Jericho is an American action/drama series that centers on the residents of the fictional town of Jericho, Kansas, in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on 23 major cities in the contiguous United States. Produced by CBS Paramount Network Television and Junction Entertainment, with executive producers Jon Turteltaub, Stephen Chbosky, and Carol Barbee, the show was broadcast in more than 30 countries.
The show ran on CBS from September 20, 2006, through March 25, 2008. It was initially canceled after its first full season because of poor ratings. While a fan campaign was able to convince the network to bring the show back for a seven-episode second season, it was canceled for a second time after that run. On November 20, 2008, TV Guide reported that the CW television network would air repeats of Jericho to replace the canceled series Valentine. In 2007, Jericho was ranked #11 on TV Guide’s Top Cult Shows Ever.
The storyline centers on the residents of Jericho, a small, rural northwest Kansas town, in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on 23 major cities in the United States. The series begins with a visible nuclear detonation of unknown origin in nearby Denver, Colorado. Problems are compounded by a loss of power and modern communications, effectively isolating Jericho. Later, power is restored to Jericho by what is alluded to as the efforts of the U.S. government. However, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from an unknown source disables all electronics.
While the first few episodes are centered around restoring life after the attacks, about halfway through the season some of the citizens meet with citizens of a nearby town, New Bern. At first, relations are established, resulting in a trade of windmills (for power) built in New Bern’s factory for supplies: food from Jericho’s farms and salt from its mine (neither of which New Bern could supply on its own). However, relations sour as New Bern scapegoats Jericho for its problems and the mayor eventually declares war, leading to the season’s climactic end.
Several themes regularly addressed in the show included the gathering of information, community identity, public order, limited resources, the value of family, hardships of fatherhood, and internal and external threats. The show also features several mysteries involving the backgrounds of major characters, the perpetrators of the attack, and the extent of damage to the United States and its government.
The pivotal character in this story is Jake Green, the 32-year-old son of Mayor Johnston Green. Jake Green fled the town of Jericho five years earlier when he became mixed up with the wrong people and was involved in questionable activity. Jake briefly returns home to claim his inheritance before being stranded by the catastrophe. After a somewhat awkward return home and a tense reunion with his father, Jake steps up to become a leader in Jericho, fighting to protect the town and its citizens. As the people of Jericho struggle to survive in a changed world, most remain unaware that one of the newest residents, Robert Hawkins, knows a lot more about the attacks than he is letting on. It will be revealed that he is in possession of an unexploded nuclear bomb that was supposed to be used in the attack, but how he came to this and exactly what side he is on remains anything but clear.