"The Long Road" Review

by Mike Helba

Jeremiah premiered on 3 March 2002 with its two-hour pilot episode, "The Long Road". The pilot does an excellent job of setting up the universe of Jeremiah.

We are introduced to the history of the Big Death in pieces throughout the story. We also witness the resulting world that survives on foraging, barter, and thievery.

The two main characters are Jeremiah and Kurdy. While they are both wanderers who face the same survival challenges as many other inhabitants of this dark future, they both are on unique journeys. Kurdy is looking for love. He puts forth a carefree and cynical exterior, but deep down he yearns for a companion to complete his existence.

Jeremiah is searching for forgiveness. He promised his long-dead father that he would take care of his brother, but he failed, and his brother is now dead. Straczynski has often written about characters with survivor's guilt, and he always portrays them exceedingly well.

"The Long Road" also introduces us to three groups that are more organized than many of the survivors. A strong-willed woman named Theo rules a town with a thriving barter economy. She was wise enough to recruit an army of jocks and a staff of brainy nerds to secure her position.

The second group are skinheads. They are bound together by their hatred for all people who look different. While they are technically organized, they are far less evolved than Theo's town. When confronted by an attack with explosives they cower like animals rather than search for the attackers.

The third group lives in Thunder Mountain, otherwise known as Cheyenne Mountain, the hardened NORAD headquarters. This group is very advanced. They are as well-educated as can be expected and use electricity and other tools denied to most of the population. They are the best hope for the survival of the human race, but their leader, Markus Alexander, is afraid to reveal their existence.

The pilot movie lays the stage well for the first season. We understand the nature of the friendship between Jeremiah and Kurdy, and we are introduced to to several potential enemies and allies. Also, the mechanism is put in place to justify the two heroes experiencing a new adventure each week.

The latest effort by J. Michael Straczynski promises to be an exciting series. So far, I think it was worth buying Showtime just to watch Jeremiah.