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Jeremiah - The Complete First Season
Jeremiah fans have been clamoring for the release of the show on DVD (it originally aired on Showtime), and with 19 episodes and a passel of special features spread out over six discs and totaling nearly 15 hours, they are unlikely to be disappointed. Based on a series of graphic novels by Hermann Huppen, the show takes place on an Earth where, some 15 years earlier, a hormonal virus killed everyone who was past puberty. It's an intriguing premise, but one that creator J. Michael Straczynski (best known for his work on "Babylon 5") and his team haven't exploited to its fullest. The slow-moving, 90-minute pilot episode explains little of the internal logic of this post-apocalyptic world; how, for instance, did these young folks, the oldest of whom were only 12 or 13 when "the Big Death" wiped out six billion people, manage to survive, educate themselves, and learn skills and trades without any adult influence in a society that's in shambles? It would be fun to know more. Still, the show's ideas are provocative, and the work of co-stars and TV stalwarts Luke Perry as the title character, a hero with a conscience, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner as his more cynical sidekick, is good. Jeremiah, to its credit, doesn't rely on special effects, production design, costumes, or sets to carry it. That means the burden is on the ongoing themes (Jeremiah's guilt over his younger brother's death and his search for the maybe-mythic "Valhalla Sector"; the threat of the plague returning in an even more virulent form; the attempts to rebuild civilization) and individual stories, which are frequently compelling and smart (especially "Things Left Unsaid," the two-part season finale, a cliffhanger that offers many possibilities for future seasons), even while favoring talk over action. The special features occupy disc 1, along with the pilot, and include deleted scenes, production sketches, and commentary on the pilot by Perry (who also executive produced) and Warner. If you're looking for superior sci-fi escapism, however, try Farscape or Stargate SG-1, to name just two. --Sam Graham
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