On Jericho’s potential return… To Netflix

Netflix is currently in talks with CBS about obtaining the television rights to the defunct dystopian sci-fi serial, Jericho.

As you may recall, Jericho went off the air in 2008 after only one full season plus a multi-episode wrap-up to close down the central plot-line before the show ended. It was a well-liked show among its fans, but those fans were too few to sustain the budget of the program.

Netflix has apparently been seeking out defunct television properties in an attempt to present itself as a producer of content rather than merely a delivery system. So far they have secured and begun production on only one serial, Arrested Development, the new season for which is expected to begin in sometime 2013.

Recently, the producers of Terra Nova, a Fox dinosaur adventure serial, approached Netflix to see if they would be interested in producing their cancelled show, but the cost of production for Terra Nova was simply too high for Netflix to take interest. Jericho, however, can be made rather cheaply. All the producers need is a few partly rundown buildings and some dusty roads.

Jericho is the story of a small town in Kansas, and the trials the residents (some of whom were only visiting) of the town after a mysterious attack knocks out all technology. It came in the wake of LOST, and had similar themes and formula as that successful big-mystery show.

No word on what Netflix would do with the property. If they secure the rights, they could pick up the story where it left off, but there are a few issues with that. First, the main line of the series was resolved in the last few seat-of-pants paced episodes of the original run, requiring some fudging to bring back. Also, since it’s been 4 years, it would likely be difficult to get all the actors back, especially at a lower budget.

It might be easier, and more likely in my opinion, for Netflix would produce a new tale set in the same story-world. Go to a new town, or follow someone who escaped from the town early in the series. In a sense, it would be more spin-off than continuation. For all we know, however, they’ve already re-contracted the actors, so anything is possible here.

If the deal goes through, I wouldn’t expect to see the show until late 2013 at the earliest.