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My Jeremiah Review

D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
I finally got to see the last 35 minutes of Jeremiah. I saw the first hour last Sunday. There are a couple of things that I focus on when I'm watching a pilot and trying to determine if the series will fly. They aren't too different from what I look for as a viewer. Characters, premise, originality, and execution.

CHARACTERS
When a show is named after a person, the titular character is usually the key one. I'm not sure who Jeremiah is supposed to be on paper or who he was in the original comic book, but he is embodied by Luke Perry on the TV screen. Mr. Perry underplays the role and he isn't a great actor. He makes it very easy for other actors to outshine and imbue their characters with more charisma than Jeremiah. This is not a good thing. Merely being taciturn doesn't necessarily translate to lack of charisma (look at Mel Gibson as the Road Warrior), but it does in Mr. Perry's case. This is not a good thing for the series.

I liked the character of Kurdy played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Kurdy seems intended to be the sidekick, but I'm already more interested in his character than I am Jeremiah's. Mr. Warner brings a vulnerability to the role that I liked. It would have been an interesting twist to the series--and this series NEEDS original twists--if Warner had been cast as Jeremiah instead of Perry and have the sidekick be the white guy.

Of the other characters who I assume to be semi-regular both Kim Hawthorne, playing Theo, and Peter Stebbings as Markus were decent enough actors and had good charisma, but I'm not sure I believed in their characters.

The nagging thing in my mind about all of the characters peopling this series is that I'm not sure they correspond to how I would imagine characters having gone through what they went through to be.

The bottom line is that this series has a deficit of characterization. Many series can succeed almost solely on presenting really interesting characters. The Guardian was a series whose pilot really impressed me almost on Simon Baker's charisma and character alone.

Though competent in some cases, none of Jeremiah's characters, particularly Jeremiah made me go "wow".

PREMISE
The post-apocolyptic premise of Jeremiah is a challenge because it's been done so many times, both well and not-so-well. The history of dystopian series succeeding is not a good one. Jeremiah needed to come up with something powerful and fresh, but I felt that I was watching pieces of other movies and series thrown together. Thunder Mountain reminded me of Earth II, for instance. Often when the series was reminiscent of other things I've seen, the comparison was that the place I saw it before did it better.

It also kept nagging at me that this was "Apoclypse Lite". Nothing seemed quite as bad as I expected. The only really strong sequence was with the skinheads, but that was brief. The world of the mob in New Jersey, as portrayed in the Sopranos scares me more on a regular basis.

ORIGINALITY
The derivativeness of the concept really required something bold or something really new to be done. It never did. It was competent.

EXECUTION
I believe the people in charge of the visual look of the show did a good job. Personally, I'm getting as tired of so many series looking like Vancouver's surroundings as I was in the 70's of every series looking like Southern California. But, that's not a nit.

Scriptwise, I was pleasantly surprised that few of the lines sounded like B5 to me. I have a nagging problem that most of the Kids sounded too articulate for how I believe a culture built on Kids would be, but I *was* glad it didn't sound like B5. I even wondered at times if MJW was allowed to alter his lines or adlib because his lines sounded pretty natural coming from his mouth.

I wonder if JMS consulted a cultural anthropologist specializing in youth in creating the world of jeremiah. Or just spend sometime at a school or something listening to pre-teens talk. I suspect he didn't. You have to think that from the time of the Big Death, these Kids had no mass media to listen to or no adults to acculturate them. They would just be listening to each other.

I don't harp too much on plot in pilots because I think other factors overshadow the importance of plot when I try to judge a series' potential. It's fresh, surprising moments I look for. The story didn't really have many surprising moments. The plot served to introduce us to the basics of Jeremiah's world and nothing more.

SUMMARY
Ultimately, I give Jeremiah a B-. (surprise) I've been toggling between a C+ and B-, but I'm giving it the push because I thought the skinhead scenes were good.

Still I think this series has an uphill battle in getting people past the premise and tune in to begin with. That was evident in last Sunday's ratings. Maybe things were better on Friday. It also has an uphill battle with Luke Perry as the lead.

Jeremiah was good enough to satisfy most SFTV fans and it was certainly the most competent work JMS has done since B5's fourth season. I don't think many viewers have been exposed to the things the show is derivative of and won't notice that deficit in originality.

Jeremiah was in development for a long time and had many people involved other than JMS. It will be interesting to see what the episodes produced out of the usual grind of producing episodes. I saw the preview for the next episode and the premise--a boy who thinks he's a superhero--made me wince. Every single show I've seen do that premise, I've hated.
 
SavantB5, can you tell us what the ratings where on Sunday's showing and how they compare to what you think the expected ratings Showtime may be looking for?

Thanks,

Ceberus
 
I can only guess what Showtime wanted. JMS would be the only one who actually knows what they wanted and whether they were disappointed with the premiere ratings.
 
If you go to the Zocalo, JMS has made a statement about the ratings. As hinted above, the premiere ratings had been weak, but the show appears to be catching on with its Stargate lead-in.

That's great news for JMS and anyone who wants to see this series succeed.
 
In case people are wondering where/what the Zocolo is, it is: http://www.isnnews.net/

If you just want to know what JMS said about the ratings:

<font color=yellow>The first airing of the pilot drew a 2.2 rating. As to whether that is good by Showtime standards. . . JMS hasn't answered. What does that tell you? /ubbthreads/images/icons/frown.gif

Nothing, actually. It aired on a Sunday night when the SF audience generally isn't around, according to Showtime, which given that scenario was actually quite encouraged that we did that well...and most important, we built in audience every quarter hour. The real test would be the hour series itself....

And both Showtime and MGM called to offer congratulations on our first ep. Stargate, airing a brand new episode right before us, with an established audience, pulled a 2.9 and a 5 share, excellent by pay cable standards.

Our first real ep out of the box *also* got a 2.9 and a 5 share, AND it also grew by quarter hours, ending up at a 3.1 for the last quarter hour, indicating again that we hold viewers and add as we go, a very good thing.

So everybody's happy.

jms
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)</font color=yellow>
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Recoil:
<font color=yellow>Now we just need Showtime to pick up a Rangers series. /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif </font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>

That would be great but what is not so great for Showtime is if SciFi decides to run SG-1, Season 6, against Jeremiah. Have a feeling this would cut into Jeremiah's numbers badly.
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by gangster:
<font color=yellow>That would be great but what is not so great for Showtime is if SciFi decides to run SG-1, Season 6, against Jeremiah. Have a feeling this would cut into Jeremiah's numbers badly. </font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>
Ok I am confused. I thought SG-1 was running on Showtime right before Jeremiah. Isnt Showtime making that series now? So how can Sci-fi do it too? Is Showtime losing the series, or is Sci-fi just going to run re-runs there?
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Recoil:
<font color=yellow>
Ok I am confused. I thought SG-1 was running on Showtime right before Jeremiah. Isnt Showtime making that series now? So how can Sci-fi do it too? Is Showtime losing the series, or is Sci-fi just going to run re-runs there? </font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>

what it breaks down to is this:

showtime will finish airing the current season of SG-1, and then it will no longer be on showtime. why? because Sci-Fi is also showing SG-1. this subsequently leads showtime to cancel SG-1 due to the fact that it is no longer exclusive - i.e. you no longer have to subscribe to showtime in order to see the show.. and therefore, there is no longer name association: when you say SG-1, you will not think of Showtime any more.

now Sci-Fi, however, has renewed SG-1 for a new season. therefore you will have new episodes of SG-1 next season that will never air on Showtime, due to the fact that Showtime canceled the show. what would not surprise me, however, would be if Showtime were to move Jeremiah up into SG-1's slot, due to its established audience!
-the doctor-
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Recoil:
<font color=yellow><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>
Ok I am confused. I thought SG-1 was running on Showtime right before Jeremiah. Isnt Showtime making that series now? So how can Sci-fi do it too? Is Showtime losing the series, or is Sci-fi just going to run re-runs there? </font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>

SG-1 on Showtime is a 45-minute program running at 10 PM EST. Jeremiah follows immediately at 10:45 PM EST. SG-1 on Scifi will be a full hour because of commercials. Thus, if Scifi runs SG-1 at 10 PM EST and Showtime continues to run Jeremiah at 10:45 PM, viewers will have to decide if they want to watch all of Jeremiah, lose the first 15 minutes of Jeremiah, or lose the last 15 minutes of SG-1. In my case, I have the Showtime package in my Direct TV satellite package, thus can watch Jeremiah at 10:45 PM PST on Showtime West so won't have that problem.

As for the second part of your question: Showtime will drop the SG-1 series at the end of this season (5) while Scifi will begin airing Season 6 (all new) in June this year. In the fall, Scifi will begin airing SG-1 seasons 1-5 on a daily basis.
 
This is kind of fun to dig up older posts but I wanted to find the ones where reported on the ratings and keep the news together as much as possible. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif There is more good news on the ratings front that JMS has posted yesterday:

<font color=orange>Showtime is quite happy. We're generally out-pulling Stargate, which is an established show with a reliable audience, and each episode we build our audience by quarter hours, meaning people who stumble onto it stick around.</font color=orange>

I have also updated the news on my site and added this bit of info to the FAQ (Channe, feel free to edit away).
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Lyta:
<font color=orange>Showtime is quite happy. We're generally out-pulling Stargate, which is an established show with a reliable audience, and each episode we build our audience by quarter hours, meaning people who stumble onto it stick around.</font color=orange>
<hr></blockquote>
This is great news to hear. We need some of it here lately. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif
 
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