[07/23/06 - 12:00 AM]
Live at the San Diego Comic-Con: "Jericho"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

11:35 am: "Entertainment Tonight's" Kevin Frazier takes the stage to intro the "Jericho" panel where he gives us the show's pitch: "What you are about to witness is - what would happen if we all walked outside and there was a huge mushroom cloud? If our cell phones went off, the TVs went off, we were kind of left in the dark. We're going to find out how the people of 'Jericho' deal with that."

11:36 am: It's pilot screening time! There's no additions or deletions that I could tell from the version I've seen before. It actually plays rather well in front of an audience.

12:15 pm: Kevin returns to start the discussion with the panel, which features co-stars Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Sprague Grayden, Erik Knudsen and Ashley Scott as well as producers Jon Turteltaub and Stephen Chbosky.

12:18 pm: Kevin wastes no time in asking for spoilage about what's ahead: "Where we're going... I would hope that you're all interested in finding out where the hell Jake has been for the past five years," Jon explains. "And the questions of whodunnit and what they're going to do about it as well as the simple questions of how do you create a community and a life when you're in charge, if the overall picture of your life has changed. There's no state government, federal government and judges to... and you have to answer them for ourselves as well as get food for yourself."

12:19 pm: Sprague reveals her inner geek: "Yes, it's an extreme situation. And yes, there's that... I know we're not supposed to say sci-fi but I'm a sci-fi geek... so that sci-fi [aspect] really excited me." She adds, "There's not enough 'Battlestar Galactica' jackets here, am I wrong?" Sprague, you just might manage to steal my heart away from Ali Larter.

12:21 pm: Holy crap! Lennie is British. Someone call security.

12:22 pm: Lennie on his character: "I don't know where he's from. I don't know what he's doing in town. Why would he move into town two hours before the bomb was dropped? Either he knew about it or he just got lucky. And I think we're about to find out who he arrived with and is he the science teacher?"

12:23 pm: For those taking the over/under on questions until "Lost" was brought up: the answer is four.

12:24 pm: Skeet confesses he hasn't seen "Lost": "My understanding is there's another element to 'Lost'... this is sort of a realistic portrayal of what we would do as people in this scenario. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think 'Lost' sort of has a different unknown element to it."

12:26 pm: Erik on how "Jericho" is different from "Lost": "'Lost' is strangers on a plane. Here it's people that aren't strangers. We all know each other, it's a small community."

12:27 pm: Jon on whether we'll see characters die over the course of the series: "I think nine people bite it in the pilot and none of them were in the nuclear blast." Adding jokingly, "So the cast is on notice that anybody at anytime [can die]... especially the ones who want to renegotiate."

12:28 pm: Jon's take on the show's central conflict: "[It] takes all that kind of yuppie 'Waltons' warmth [of small town U.S.A.] and asks it to be confronted by the worst possible situation."

12:29 pm: Scoop! Erik's character will actually have a MySpace page - www.myspace.com/stuckinjericho - that will be updated each week and the CBS web site will feature a parallel storyline that will eventually come together with the series.

12:30 pm: Time for fan questions. Erik is asked if he ever wanted to be a hobbit or an elf. Seriously, I wish I was making this up.

12:31 pm: Someone points out that Lennie's character is the only black one on the show. "So he better live," quips Kevin.

12:33 pm: Jon confirms that upcoming episodes will deal with the town running out of resources. "It comes down to what do we and what don't we need. What are the necessities?"

12:34 pm: A fan gives Skeet props for his work on "Miracles" as well as the producers for their music selections in the pilot, which include The Killers, Goo Goo Dolls and Snow Patrol. Let's hope they can clear them all!

12:35 pm: Stephen is asked if the show will travel to different towns. "Just so you know there's a town next door that's just blacks," Jon chimes in.

12:36 pm: A fan asks if they will - and this is their words not mine - have a five-year plan like "Babylon 5" or just make it up as they go along like "Lost." Jon jokes, "The title of 'Lost' was an afterthought. And by the way, if [creator J. Michael Straczynski] had a lot of confidence it would have been 'Babylon 6.' I'm just saying." Lots of big "ooooohs" from the audience. In all seriousness he does confess they do have a plan, which includes when exactly you'll find out the show's various secrets. "Sometimes you can get drunk on making people wait, which kind of blows. And people get frustrated. At the same time if you go too fast you jump the shark in the first season and you're done."

12:38 pm: The panel is asked who's their favorite character besides themselves: Lennie's character is nearly the unanimous choice while Sprague admits her love for Dale Turner (Erik's character) and Lennie jokes his is the other black character briefly shown.

12:40 pm: Stephen's main inspiration for the show: Stephen King's "The Stand."

12:41 pm: Sprague inadvertently spoils that her and Skeet's characters have a secret connection, even though they've never met prior to the pilot.

12:47 pm: Skeet confesses he's heard about but never seen the episode of "Family Guy" where he's mocked. Plus, he says there's no plans for a "Miracles" movie. He does however note that the pilot for "Miracles" was originally a film script with Jim Caviezel attached to star.

12:52 pm: Hey, the panel's ending early! Just a few questions left.

12:53 pm: Jon says they did quite a bit of research about radiation and nuclear fallout drift to ensure accuracy. He also notes that radiation sickness will be specifically addressed in the second episode.

12:54 pm: Each panelist notes they draw on some of their own experiences for the show. Stephen notes he was in L.A. during the riots while Sprague was in New York on 9/11 and Lennie's daughter was on the subway during the 7/7 bombings.

12:55 pm: And it's a wrap!

  [july 2006]  


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