New CBS series Jericho; both heart-rending and eye-opening

ON SEPTEMBER 20th, CBS television network added a new dramatic series to its fall line-up. Set in the fictional town of Jericho, Kansas, the pilot episode introduced viewers to a picturesque community in the heart of rural America.Jacob Green (Skeet Ulrich), prodigal son of Mayor Johnston Green, returns home after a five-years absense to mourn the death of his wealthy grandfather and claim an inheritance. Jacob’s father, masterfully portrayed by Gerald McRaney, refuses to release the sizeable funds to Jake, while Jacob’s mother (Pamela Reed) sneaks money to her son on the sly.

Predictably, the mysterious Jacob kisses his mother goodbye and heads in the direction of Colorado, toward an unknown future. Within minutes, his future becomes clear however, as communications in town suddenly stop and a mushroom cloud appears over Denver, some 65 miles or so to the west.

A school bus crash, gas station riots, and the arrival of terrifying news that Atlanta has also been bombed follow as the townspeople slowly realize they are now living the nuclear nightmare of a dying United States.I missed the original airing of Jericho, but thanks to Apple’s iTunes, I was able to download the entire pilot episode and watch it on my laptop. The second episode, “Fallout”, aired two nights ago but is scheduled to re-air this Saturday on CBS.

It would be easy to dismiss Jericho as emotional blackmail, but look further and you’ll find layers that reveal a subtle message. Numerals on the town hall read MCMXXII — 1922, the year Alice Bailey founded the Lucis Trust, formerly known as the Lucifer Trust. The mayor’s name is Green (does Greenspan or greenback come to mind? This town is run on money — Green is wealthy). Jericho is located on the 39th parallel (near I-70). The most famous ‘Jericho’ was a town in the Old Testment that had earned a reputation as impregnable, yet Joshua and his ragtag military men managed to defeat it — with the help of God.

It’s no coincidence that this series arrived on the CBS schedule this year. Our military is spread thinly throughout the world, and the ‘homeland’ continues on an economic magic carpet ride (the DOW is near record highs once again despite a housing bust). Terrorist videos arrive via the internet weekly, promising a rain of death and destruction against the Great Satan, America. We hear of dirty bombs, cell phone detonators, and home-grown terrorists waiting to use them. Tensions with Russia escalate higher by the moment, our neighbor to the south calls our president a devil, and all the time, FEMA advises Americans to keep a mere three-day supply of food and water.

I’d give Jericho high marks for dramatic content, directing, and writing, but I’m recommending it because you need to see it. If you have a computer that can download an iTunes television show, pay the $1.99 and archive it. Watch it several times. And pray that it remains fiction.