Why Jeremiah's Pilot was Nifty-Keen

Since I was the first to excoriate Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers, I think it's only fair to also give credit where it's due.

Terri and I watched the premiere episode of J. Michael Straczynski's newest effort, Jeremiah, and it was fantastic. One of the best genre pilots I've seen in a long time -- and I say that as someone who usually runs screaming from the room at post-apocalyptic tales. It did right what Dark Angel did wrong more or less from the git-go, showed cleverness, thought, and a good eye for both details and characterization. You could tell Joe wrote this -- it had many of his stylistic tics but, unlike LOTR, it didn't have any of his excesses. Even the obligatory infodumps were well handled (usually Joe's Achilles Heel). Luke Perry didn't light the world on fire in the title role, but he didn't suck either (and the boy can act -- he was excellent in his small recurring role on Oz last year and in the original Buffy movie), and Malcolm-Jamal Warner made his character work, and the bit parts were cast with talented actors instead of the Canada Central Casting Losers we get too often on shows filmed north of the border (cf. Andromeda, Earth: Final Conflict, and, well, Legend of the Rangers). The plot made sense, the characters were interesting, the villain multilayered, and the setup for future shows is theoretically endless.

Best of all, the hero is A HERO. He's not a reluctant hero, he's not someone who has to be talked into being a hero (in fact, he has to talk his new boss into letting him be a hero), he's a hero because he knows it's the right thing to do. Period. What a nice concept, that.

My only quibbles are small ones: 1) If something is based on another source (in this case, a French comic book), the person who turns it into a TV show generally gets a "developed by" credit, not a "created by" credit, yet Joe's is listed as the creator (right after the credit that says it's based on a comic book). That just strikes me as wrong. 2) Where did Jeremiah learn how to drive? 3) Marcus Alexander? Geez, Joe, coudn't come up with a new name?

[First posted on assorted mailing lists on 3 March 2002.]


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