Anybody been watching Jericho? I've caught it most weeks so far, and the stories are frankly quite unnerving, mainly because they are so realistic. There is no "sci-fi" aspect to this show; it's basically an attempt to show what happens to one small town when the U.S. is attacked with nukes. The first thing that happens, of course, is controlled panic, as the citizens watch a mushroom cloud over the horizon, fifty or more miles away. The second thing is increasing anxiety as they discover that TV stations, phones and other communications devices no longer work. I have to compliment the show for really playing down the soap opera aspects. There is, for example, a couple that is headed towards divorce when the disaster happens, but that is only one small part of the show. Most of it is built around survival. What do you do when your water stops running? How do you keep the citizens from turning into a panicked mob? Where are you gonna get your gasoline from? What're you gonna do for food when the electricity is out and everything in everyone's refrigerator is spoiling? The writers also know how to play up the anxiety and fear factor. (Spoiler coming, for those who want to catch the show in reruns...) One of my favorite scenes so far involves one character who has been doggedly manning a ham radio, trying to find out what's going on in the rest of the country. The town folk already know that Denver is gone, and they've heard that Atlanta may have been hit as well. In one chilling scene, as we watch, this character is listening to the ham radio on headphones, and he has a map of the United States in front of him. As he listens, he pulls open a drawer full of push-pins, and places one over Denver...and another one over Atlanta...and another one over Chicago...and another one over San Diego...and another one over Boston.... And as the episode ends, he's pulling out several more push-pins. Brr! Last night they offered up something typically suspenseful. After days of no communication, every phone in town rings with an automated message from the Department of Homeland Security. TVs that were receiving nothing suddenly start showing the Emergency Alert System logo (though nothing else), and near the end of the episode, we see that logo replaced by an empty podium, as if someone is preparing to address the United States. At the very end the citizens feel the earth rumble and go outside to see nuclear missiles being launched from the United States heading...somewhere.... I can't wait to see what happens next. Sadly, though, while "Studio 60" and "Ugly Betty" and a bunch of other good shows are getting a lot of PR, I don't hear anyone talking much about this show. I hope people are watching, because it'd be a shame if Jericho ends up going the way of Smith (this TV season's first cancelled show).