Not a fortnight goes by without the launch of an action drama built around a sudden, earth-shattering event. Jericho (AXN Beyond; Tuesdays to Fridays at 11pm), which premieres this Friday, joins zombie-disaster drama The Walking Dead (FX; Fridays at 11pm) and alien-infiltration series The Event (Universal; Wednesdays at 9pm) on this week's roster of apocalyptic yarns.
We are introduced to Jericho, a small fictional town in Kansas, just moments before a nuclear explosion hits nearby Denver, Colorado, during an unprecedented breakdown in United States national security. The character-based drama shares the same small-town bumpkin outlook as The Walking Dead while hinting at the military-industrial conspiracy theme that runs throughout The Event - minus the aliens.
Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich; Scream) is the prodigal son of Jericho's 'first family'. He returned home after a five-year absence to claim an inheritance. But, with the nuclear blast, Green finds himself in the thick of disaster relief and steps up, reluctantly at first, to join his father, the town's mayor, and brother as a leader.
Within the first week of the detonation, the town has to deal with possible radiation contamination, a lack of electricity, food and medical supplies, and a total communications shutdown. Nonetheless, the community discovers that Denver was only one of more than two dozen cities that were nuked on the same day. As the people of Jericho struggle to survive, most remain unaware that one of the newest residents, Robert Hawkins (Lennie James, who also has a recurring role in The Walking Dead), knows more about the attacks than he is letting on.
If you prefer havoc of an underworldly sort, don't miss the sophomore season adventures of three unlikely flatmates - a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost - in Being Human (AXN Beyond; Tuesdays at 9pm). This season, John, George (Russell Tovey; Annually Retentive) and Annie contend not only with conflict among their respective 'species' but also with two mysterious strangers who mean to break apart their friendship and eradicate their kinds.
Finally, Dexter (Fox Crime; Mondays to Fridays at 11pm) returns this Wednesday for a murderous fifth season in balmy Miami. After last season's finale, wherein Dexter Morgan (above right; Michael C. Hall; Six Feet Under) comes home to find his infant son sitting next to his murdered wife's body, it becomes clear a normal and happy marriage is but a myth for the serial-killing kind. Morgan tries to come to terms with single fatherhood but is already hit- ting a wall with his two stepchildren. Looking forward, you can expect hands-on participation from new characters played by Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You, Mona Lisa Smile) and Jonny Lee Miller (Mansfield Park, Eli Stone) as the show drifts further and further away from Jeff Lindsay's Dexter novels.