It’s the little show that could “Jericho” is returning to television nearly nine months after CBS cancelled the post-apocalyptic drama. After millions of fans demanded the show return to the air mostly by sending boxes of peanuts to the CBS headquarters network executives are bringing the fan favorite back.
When we last left the town of Jericho, they were still waging war after the aftermath of a nuclear attack. In Season 2, it’s about rebuilding the city and trying to start over. This season will start as a direct pick-up from the battle that was left from Season 1. But then, there is an immediate 3-week jump from that point.
Late last year, CBS invited ComingSoon.net onto the set of “Jericho” to check out how this season is going to go. The first thing we did was walk in the middle of Main Street in the rebuilt town thanks to the handy work of Jennings & Rall. What is that, you ask? It’s a new company that “will play a prominent role in the seven episodes of Season 2,” said producer, Karim Zreik. “We repaved Main Street because we had craters in the middle of the road; we’ll be seeing a new look for Jericho. Lights work, electricity is back on; there are actually cars that drive up and down the street. A lot of our new characters will belong to Jennings & Rall. Episode 1 of Season 2, you will see the construction of J&R, and we will tell you who these guys are, and what they do and that’s all I’m going to tell you about Jennings & Rall.”
What was interesting about the interiors of the set was the flag in the middle of the Sheriff’s Department and Mayor’s office. Esai Morales is joining the cast this season as the head of the military brought in to restore order. The flag in the conference room had only 21 stars and 7 stripes, which represents the states west of Mississippi.
Regarding the upgraded set, Karim added, “It received a new look this season because part of the storyline in Season 2 is the military now plays a role. The Cheyenne Military, they share an office space with the sheriff’s, which Esai uses as his office. He’s been put in charge because there is no sheriff in place. It’s a different look this season, which I think we needed; it’ll help with the look of the show.”
A majority of the story also takes place at the hospital, which was specifically built for this season. We were able to watch a scene from Episode 5 with Skeet Ulrich and Lennie James, comforting one of the female townspeople. Once the scene was done, Lennie came by to chat about coming back for the new season and what he’s looking forward to the most about his character of Hawkins. “He’s not necessarily as supervised as everyone else is. He’s got to be the same man from last season, and he’s still on his particular mission; his mission isn’t over from the first. But there is a change in him in that he’s got more time with his family now. Before, it was all about the secrecy of Hawkins what he knew that no one else knows. And the difference now is, over the first 22 [episodes], his team got wiped out, his cell got wiped out. So over these seven, he’s having to rely on people who are less trained than himself, and less able than himself. And he’s learning to have to deal with that and allow for their weaknesses and discrepancies. His training is about dealing with ‘when things go wrong’ and when things go right, your training is easy. And this being Jericho, things often go wrong. The people he’s having to bring into the fold, starting with Jake (Green, played by Ulrich), but spreading out to my wife and other people who know about my secret. I’m having to trust them, which means I’m putting my life in danger; they’re not as well trained as I am, and I’m taking a much bigger responsibility. It still costs him, and now he’s not dealing with soldiers.”
So it’s obvious, this seven episode season of “Jericho” is going to pack a punch; with only so much time to tell these stories, each show will be full of action. But that also meant condensing the shooting schedule from 8 to 7 days. Producer and creator John Steinberg noted it will only make every episode that much better. “Story wise, we didn’t give up much in the big picture; it just became about focusing on the town of Jericho. In the most general terms, it’s about how our characters with a heavy focus on Jake and Hawkins how they respond to this new government that’s come in and the company that comes with it. It’s this new dynamic of what this world is like. How do they respond to that, that’s our focus.”
“We promised the fans we would pay this off, and we were a little worried about doing it the right way, but we give them everything they want,” producer Dan Shotz said. “They’ll be very happy. It’s always building, and we’re hoping we’ll come back for Season 3; you’ll feel it in the story, and see there’s a larger story to tell after these seven.”
So does that mean there’s going to be a Season 3? Maybe. “We just want to tell the right end to this story,” said Steinberg. “In changing it from 22 to 7 episodes, we broke it down like a movie and we found the best ending we could come up with. You’re going to feel satisfied, but you also know there is more story coming down the road. We’re not closing doors, and the story is protected. We’d know what we’d be doing that first day back to work.”
For fans of “Jericho,” you already know what you’re going to get. But they’re not the only reason why CBS is bringing back the show; they want new viewers, and Dan Shotz says you don’t have to know what happened last year to get hooked this year. “Every episode is a story and every episode has its own beginning and end. Everything we’re doing is to reach out and thank the fans. Nina Tassler, when she first wrote to the fans and said, ‘You did it; it’s coming back,’ she said we’ll do everything we can, but we need all the fans to get the word out to everyone.”
And so to all you “Jericho”-holics, tell everyone you know to watch the show. “Jericho’s” second season premieres tonight (Tuesday) at 10pm ET. You can watch the first five minutes right now here!