So it’s all over. It was cancelled; it was renewed after a peanut-based fight back; now Jericho‘s been cancelled again, after a second season of just seven episodes.
Was all that effort worth it? Has this last mini-season left Jericho a better show than it was at the end of its first season?
On the whole, I’d say yes.
As I remarked during my review of the first season finale, the big hope for season two was that "[Lennie] James, [Daniel] Benzali and military-grade hardware will become the focus". Whether the producers were listening or not, they managed to focus down the second season so that all the tedious soap-opera that dominated the first season was chucked in a landfill. It did leave a number of characters with nothing to do, but what the hell, they were pretty tedious, too.
Instead, all Daniel Benzali didn’t get much to do, it was indeed Lennie James and military grade hardware that made season two a whole lot more interesting to watch. While the show had long spiralled away from reality so that it bore little relevance to US politics, the conspiracy theory and general spy fun that James brought to the party was great, and the collapse of the United States into something little better than Iraq did allow it to comment on a certain war and a certain company (Haliburton)’s close involvement with the US government without stirring up too much controversy.
The season finale, however, took it all to a different level altogether. There were two finales planned: one open-ended and one that closed things off to leave a satisfying conclusion for regular viewers, but which still left the possibility of more to come. I’m guessing the producers went with the second option, and I’m glad, because oddly enough, the ending of the teasing and the new situations the finale set up actually made me want to see more of Jericho, when an episode previously I really didn’t mind that much it was going.
In particular, since Jericho has trod a particular path towards survivalist nirvana over two seasons, in which only a man and his constitutionally endorsed gun can be relied on as the ultimate safeguard of justice and truth, it was fun and apt that Texas should be the polite, civilised, just, big-moustached saviours of the day.
I’m curious to see where the show could have gone next: the inevitable civil war between the separate US nations would have been tricky in an age of nuclear weapons, particularly when at least one side has already been shown willing to use them. But it would have been fun to watch.