The things we here at thetvaddict.com won’t do for you people! As an experiment, we had an intrepid correspondent sit through the “special episode” of JERICHO which aired this past Wednesday in an attempt to see if someone who had never seen the show before could, in fact, pick up enough information on the post-nuclear drama to jump into the action when new episodes return this week.
In the past, we’d seen similar glorified clipfests slapped together by the makers of LOST and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, each ostensibly designed to help newbies jump into the continuing storylines (although, in reality, we suspect they’re produced as a ploy to slap the words “new episode!” into advertisements and have yet another extra for the inevitable DVD). But having already been fans (or at least, in this period of disenchantment with LOST, viewers) of the shows, it made sense that these “catch-up” entries would prove simple and accessible.
That was not, however, the case with JERICHO. Having never seen the series before, one of our correspondents cued up the special episode, “Return To Jericho” in the hopes of seeing what the excitement was about. Instead, they came away feeling more confused than ever after a disjointed hour in which they were bombarded with a plethora of characters whose connections were difficult to comprehend and storylines which jumped from point to point in a completely disjointed manner.
“They showed people heading off to try and find information from neighboring towns, but didn’t tell me what they found,” reported our virgin viewer. “They showed me a plane in the middle of the road and from the music, I could tell it was a big deal. But I don’t know why. That happened a lot. There were scenes which felt as if they must be huge in the development of the plot, but it was impossible to figure out how, or what the fallout from the plot point might be. Overall, the special felt as if it was edited to remind fans of what had happened before the show went on hiatus as opposed to giving a potential new viewer a window into the show’s world.”
Oddly, the special was narrated by a character who had, for the purpose of the special, somehow become omniscient, reporting on events he could have no idea had happened. (When LOST has done similar specials, they’ve relied on a disembodied narrator, while DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, conveniently enough, has an all-seeing character in the late Mary Alice Young.)
So would our befuddled correspondent tune in again? “What I saw was intriguing,” they admitted. “But it left me feeling as if there were just too many things I didn’t understand. It seemed like it would be incredibly hard to just sort of start watching.” So while CBS’ experiment wasn’t successful in luring a new viewer, that doesn’t mean there isn’t good news on the horizon. As our confused correspondent reported, “I’ll definitely buy the DVD when it comes out. With any luck, I can be caught up before the second season begins.” Assuming, of course, there is a second season.
Miss the JERICHO recap? You can download it for free on iTunes by clicking here.