A fascinating and disturbing concept for a tv series and the writers do a fantastic job building this world and populating Jericho with it's townsfolk. Each episode deals with a different crisis facing the town and how the town must learn to stand together… or die.
Skeet Ulrich is perfectly cast as Jake – the black sheep but shares the family traits: strength, courage, leadership and charisma. The Green family effectively run Jericho and though Jake left under a cloud, it's clear that his five years away have changed him into someone his family can be proud of. This show has something I love in a series: a close, loving (but never mushy) family. It's not easy to establish an intense complex family relationship in one episode, but the writers do a great job. I hope they build these relationships, I have a thing for brothers so I'd like to see Jake and Eric become close.
I could easily go on about the fantastic casting of the others but that would take pages, suffice it to say this is an impressive line-up. Next we have the fascinating Robert Hawkins – he and Jake are destined to be allies, they'll make a very effective team. Knowing far too much about the explosions and having gotten his family out just in time, he also possesses a truly remarkable ability to think ahead and improvise, which Jake also does, and it's clear that had Hawkins not been there, things would have gone far worse than they did.
Others worth mentioning: there's funny farmboy Stanley and his delightful deaf sister Bonnie; scary sharp-tongued IRS lady Mimi; Jake's cheating brother Eric; Jake and Eric's formidable mother Gail; the boy's tough father Johnston… there are many to choose from…
The entire sequence with the explosion was excellent, very disturbing. Jake shows impressive ingenuity and calm, saving the little girl's life and returning the bus to town. When things go bad, you see the best and worst in people and Jericho handled the crisis better than most, though for a while there it was close. People looting, fighting for gas – if Jake hadn't returned at that moment, there would have been violence. Just returning the children to their parents is the calmer needed and people are then willing to be more reasonable. The one person who is easy to immediately dislike is Gray – he's running for mayor so he should be thinking of the wellbeing of the town, not his political career. Instead of trying to help calm people down, he's stirring them up against Johnston. He's going to be a problem. Dale's news is released: it wasn't just Denver, Atlanta's gone too. As if there weren't enough immediate problems, there's prison escapees and the sheriff and some of his deputies are dead, which the town doesn't know yet. Johnston does the only thing he can do – sends everyone home and arranges to meet tomorrow.
The pilot quickly and strongly establishes the main characters before the explosion occurs. The casting is top-notch and there are a lot of familiar faces here. Then there's the fast pace and exciting action. The pilot really sets a standard which the rest of the series maintains.