this season’s apocalyptic programming

All that 40s and 50s sci-fi, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone made me a sucker for Jericho. And, four episodes in, I’m hooked. I can’t help it. I have to know what’s going on, who nuked America, what the retaliation will bring.

Of course, I think there’s a reason this show is popular, beyond its use of the new real-time back-story twists. It’s addictive because it’s got that Lost-style storytelling, tiny snippets of info that just lure you in further. But I think it goes deeper than that. I think that, especially with the bomb testing in North Korea, Americans want to know what is going to happen. It’s like there’s some subconscious – or even fully conscious – need to see what the end of the world as we know it, would be like.

Worse yet is the realistic aspect of the lack of answers inherent in the fictional nuclear apocalypse. No one knows who set off the nukes, and it’s totally fucking plausible. America has so many enemies that there’s no telling what happened. Was it a terrorist attack? Was it an enemy country? There’s no answer. When the nuclear scare was in full swing, during the Cold War, at least we knew it would be the Soviets and the Americans bombing each other. It would be a Cuban-fired missile taking out Atlanta. Now – we don’t know.

Add to that, I’m somewhat impressed with the show for dealing with so many of the realities. It’s cheesy at times (“the Internet was invented by the military to survive a nuclear war,” one teenager tells another), but there’s some mention of resource distribution. Where does the food come from when the shipments aren’t coming in? That sort of thing.

So now, I have to know – what’s going on in the rest of America? Who set off the bombs? Is the retailiation of tonight’s episode successful? In the interest of needing these answers, I will have to keep TIVOing and watching the series. And it’s addicting, in a way I haven’t been hooked on TV in a long time.

Now, I’m off to sleep. Unfortunately, Jericho also gives me nightmares – sleeping with the boyfriend settles me down, but he’s in his home, and I’m in mine. I was always one of those hyper-anxious kids that took the nuclear scare very seriously. Perhaps, for Canadians, our lack of involvement – yet imminent fallout – made nuclear war more scary. We couldn’t just vote a pacifist government into power. Instead, we just waited and watched to be sure our more war-like southern neighbor didn’t start the missiles against the Communists, powerless to pressure the governments into peace. I still remember being terrified of nuclear war, at twelve – after finally grasping Chernobyl as a concept from TIME magazine articles. Sixteen years later, I’m worried again – but hopefully, too exhausted to lie awake thinking. Maybe I should watch 30 Rock, over on the other network, instead.

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