Few cultural products so fully captured 21st-century American anxieties as Jericho. Despite assembling an audience with near-Firefly levels of devotion – one that managed to successfully bring the show back from the grave via the strategic deployment of peanuts – Jericho ended in 2008 due to overall lackluster ratings.
Since Jericho‘s cancellation, there have been several attempts to revive the show, meeting with varying degrees of success. Series creator Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) has confirmed that Netflix has at least a passing interest in reviving the fallen show.
In an interview with Nerdacy, Chbosky acknowledged that his representatives in the William Morris Endeavor agency have been actively speaking with Netflix about possible financing for further episodes of Jericho. When asked about the show’s possible future, Chbosky commented:
“You know WME (William Morris Endeavor) Agency, who represents me, Jon Turteltaub and many other people, and they’ve been talking to Netflix and you never know. I can’t say what it will be in season 3, but I’m excited for the new developments.”
The original seasons of Jericho follow the inhabitants of a small Kansas community struggling for survival after a devastating nuclear attack decapitates the United States government. Prodigal son Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) and a newcomer with a shadowy past (Lennie James) band together to help lead Jericho’s people through a new age of tainted weather, roving gangs of mercenaries, and the rise of a tyrannical new regime that may have had a hand in destroying the old one.
Curiously, Jericho‘s story has already continued past the end of its truncated season 2 – albeit in a series of comic books. In 2011, members of the show’s writing staff oversaw a series of Jericho Season 3: Civil War comic books, published by Devil’s Due. These comics (since collected into a single graphic novel) are considered a canonical extension of the television show. Chbosky confirms as such with:
“Well, if you really, really want to know about season 3, the best thing would be to read the comics. That tells a better story.”
A Jericho Season 4 comic series began publication by IDW Comics in 2012, but so far has only released a single issue. At this time, it is unknown whether that series will continue.
Considering all this, one might raise the question of what season 3 of a Jericho television series would even look like. Picking up the story after the comic books’ tales is out of the question, since it would require audiences to know exactly what happened in them. Adapting the comics directly is also a tricky proposition, as it more or less abrogates their purpose in the first place. Will Chbosky and company take off in a new direction entirely, then? Or does his relative disinterest in the question of story indicate that a television revival of Jericho is actually a much more tenuous notion than he first implies?
Chbosky’s confirmation is certainly a weak one at best. The state of the Netflix negotiations – and indeed, whether Netflix is seriously interested at all – remains a mystery. Of course Netflix has already demonstrated interest in backing the revival of cancelled television shows with cultish followings. Season 4 of Arrested Development (a series that ended before Jericho even began) will debut on the streaming service in May of this year. Similarly, Netflix agreed to partially finance new episodes of The Killing for AMC earlier this year.
However, Jericho may not have the clout of Arrested Development and does not present the kind of co-financing, bond-strengthening opportunity of The Killing. While Netflix is heading full-steam into proprietary programming with shows like House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, the service may be waiting to see how the public reacts to season 4 of Arrested Development before locking itself into any other series revivals. Perhaps another mass-delivery of nuts is in order.
We may never see another episode of Jericho. However, the adventures of Jake Green and his Kansas hometown continue (canonically!) in the Jericho Season 3: Civil War collected graphic novel.