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Series / Jeremiah

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The Badass Longcoat Brigade

"What did any of us ever do to you? What did the whole fucking world do to you that we deserve all of this? I mean, come on, the locusts and the death of the first-born wasn't good enough for you anymore, so now it's the death of the eldest? The death of heroes? You know what? Fuck you. Because we're not just gonna lay down and die down here. You want to finish off the job? Come down here! Do it yourself. You send the Angel of Death, you better give him one hell of a big sword, because I tell you what, we are gonna kick his ass all the way back to the great white fucking throne. And then we're coming for you."
Jeremiah, to God

Jeremiah is a Post Apocalyptic television series that aired on Showtime from 2002 to 2004. It was (very loosely) adapted from the French-Belgian comic book series Jeremiah. It was directed by J. Michael Straczynski and starred Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The series ended after two seasons when JMS quit, citing too much Executive Meddling on the part of MGM, and the network elected not to continue without him.

In the early 21st century, a supervirus known as "the Big Death" was unleashed across the planet: highly communicable, short incubation period and one-hundred percent fatal to anyone who had reached the age of puberty or higher. Within six months, the population had been decimated and the only survivors were the pre-pubescent children, who somehow had to rebuild a society they never fully knew. Fifteen years later, one such survivor is Jeremiah (Perry), who travels between the rural, low-tech communities that have cropped up in the intervening years and searches tirelessly for something called "Valhalla Sector", a place his father once spoke of as a possible refuge against the Big Death.


During his travels, Jeremiah befriends fellow wanderer Kurdy (Warner), colony leader Markus Alexander (Peter Stebbings) and possible prophet Mr. Smith (Sean Astin), and gets caught up in an attempt to rebuild the United States of America, a brewing conflict with those who'd attempt to seize power for themselves and a possible recurrence of a new and even more dangerous plague.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Jeremiah, the primary protagonist and the show's namesake.
  • After the End: All of the adults died 15 years ago, and the now-grown-up survivors are struggling to rebuild.
  • A God Am I: A very charismatic and intelligent man pulls this. It ends with a little over a hundred daisy cutters going off under him.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: At least twice - Lee Chen, previously not much more than a desk jockey, pulls this out of nowhere, as does a female underground leader in Season 2. Somewhat justified in Lee Chen's case given the mention that he wasn't from Thunder Mountain, and spent time surviving on his own outside before being recruited by them.
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  • The Alliance: Much of Season 2 is spent building one of these centered around Thunder Mountain and then defending it against various new threats.
  • An Aesop: The entire series has a few overarching ones, the principle one being 'blind faith in anything is bad'.
  • Badass Normal: Jeremiah and Kurdy both qualify: they're tough, smart, hard to beat, and have survived on their own for 15 years despite the dangers of the new world.
  • Big Bad: Daniel is set up as one, although it's eventually subverted in that there is no Daniel, he's a computer-generated figurehead propped up by a group of master manipulators. The real danger is the idea of Daniel, combined with Sims.
  • Book Burning: The plot of one episode is centered around preventing a cult from doing this to the entire collection of an old public library, which with the loss of knowledge after the Big Death has become a vital repository of knowledge.
  • Cargo Cult:
    • In an episode of season 2, one of these is shown. They worship an old, pre-calamity house, and kidnap people to force them to live a pre-calamity lifestyle while they watch on television. This is treated as a religious exercise by them, and they believe it will restore the previous world if they are dutiful enough.
    • Seen in passing in the 2nd episode, where Jeremiah and Kurdy drive past a bunch of cultists who are reverently holding vigil around a broken telegraph pole.
    Jeremiah: So, er, what are you doing?
  • Cartwright Curse For anyone Kurdy or Jeremiah dates
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The remnants inhabiting Valhalla Sector are quite adept at both the physical and psychological versions of this.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Megan after killing almost everyone in Valhalla, followed with her being Driven to Suicide.
  • Deus ex Machina: In "The Question", Mr. Smith offers one guaranteed miracle from God if Marcus, Kurdy, and Jeremiah ask for it and wait at an appointed place in time. In the end, Mr. Smith is the only one to do so and the only one to receive his miracle. Then again, bringing someone Back from the Dead, eliminating all weaponry from the planet, and having Jeremiah personally chew out God face-to-face was... probably not something the show would want to do anyway. Note that, as with everything else Mr. Smith does, the question of whether this was actually divine intervention or not is deliberately left open.
  • Disaster Democracy: The main character and co. encounter a hidden remnant of the US government in season two. It seems they have kept this going in a bunker, with adults safe from the virus, duly voting on a President each election year. However, they turn out to be very dictatorial nonetheless, with the quality of the elections left unclear.
  • Disaster Scavengers: The entire world, since not many people are making new food and goods.
  • Divided States of America: The US government (or some people claiming to be the government, at any rate) have been undercover in Valhalla all this time.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Lauren impersonates her twin sister Erin to have sex with Jeremiah. It's Played for Laughs, and he doesn't mind aside from wanting to know which it was (Erin refuses to say), but just imagine if the genders were reversed.
  • Fake Guest Star: Marcus is The Alliance leader and is in almost every episode of season 2, but isn't in the opening credits.
  • Foreshadowing: Mr. Smith seems to be aware of several characters' deaths before they happen.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: The black nationalist group Shadow of the Crescent dislike seeing Elizabeth when she comes with Kurdy to forge links with them for Thunder Mountain, because she's light-skinned, of mixed race descent and has a "white" name. Kurdy calls them out on this soundly, noting how many leaders in black empowerment (including the nationalists like Malcolm X) were themselves of mixed race descent, and certainly didn't reject those who were.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Daniel since he doesn't exist.
  • Hidden Elf Village:
    • Thunder Mountain, as it is the descendants of NORAD and who they've recruited.
    • As a dark contrast, Valhalla Sector, as it's the remains of the US government
  • Jerkass: Theo, who is a strong contender for the least likable person in the series. She's not evil, per se (amoral, sure, but not necessarily evil), just incredibly and often deliberately unpleasant.
  • Karmic Death: President Evil and most of the population of Valhalla want The Plague so they can kill off their enemies. Hah hah! Boy, do they get it (wiped out by Patient Zero).
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: Discussed with Jeremiah and a former lover of his whom he may have fathered a son with. She says that while she could try to calculate the date of conception, she's not going to make her son long for a father who can't be around for him, so we never find out if Jeremiah really was his father or not.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The religious group from "Journeys End at Lovers Meeting". Did they actually Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence? Or... did they kill everyone out on a boat, to keep the miracle illusion?
    • See also: literally everything related to Mister Smith. Every miracle or instance of divine intervention he witnesses always has a convenient mundane explanation, even if it's a really unlikely one.
  • Mission from God: Mr. Smith, possibly also a Cosmic Plaything. "I'm just God's sock puppet, okay? He shoves his hand up my ass and words come out the other end."
  • Mysterious Past: Mr. Smith, most likely a Dark and Troubled Past too. "I have some issues ... One of thousands. Would you like to hear them alphabetically or in order of psychic trauma?"
  • Nay-Theist: Jeremiah has come to believe God is cruel and uncaring after the hardships he's been through.
  • No Name Given: Mister Smith. Or rather, he claims that is his full name. "First name 'Mister,' last name 'Smith.'"
    "So if I was going to introduce you to somebody, I'd say, this is Mr. Mr. Smith?""
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Justified - the plague didn't exactly leave many fashion designers alive and kicking.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Although Jeremiah, the character the show is named after, is a main character, he is by no means the only one-Kurdy gets as much screen time and dialogue as he does, and there's a whole ensemble of other recurring characters who get nearly as much face time.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Theo's face after angrily proclaiming to the rioting mob that they have no electricity, only for her team of kept geeks to choose that exact moment to test the electrical generator they built.
    Theo: Well, sheeit.
  • One-Woman Wail: Used to a regular extent on every episode, to the point that any action in the second season was cause for it.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Played straight (Jeremiah's freaking point-blank gut wound) and subverted (Mr. Smith's arm wound making him permanently crippled there). Of course, given that this is Mr. Smith we're talking about, it's not subverted for long.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Every child on Earth had to deal with this after the adults died.
  • Parental Abandonment: Again, the entire planet, but made worse since their parents didn't just leave, they died horribly. Often right in front of their children.
  • The Plague, which is Only Fatal to Adults. Only fatal to most adults-a very small percentage of the adult population was immune. Only one group of immune adults is encountered over the course of the series, and they're all very old men living in secret disguised as a monastic order.
  • The Pornomancer: Jeremiah himself, who manages to sleep with virtually every woman he encounters over the course of the series.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: One of the best ones ever, after a particularly heroic and innocent person dies. This rant is directed at Michaelangelo's Genesis:
    Jeremiah Are you happy? Are you satisfied? That's how it works, isn't it? You set us up, you take someone like him, and you give him hope, so you can take it away again? What did he do to you? What did any of us ever do to you? What did the whole fucking world do to you, that we deserve all of this? What, the locusts and the death of the firstborn wasn't good enough for you anymore so now it's the death of the eldest? Death of heroes? You know what? Fuck you. Because we're not just going to lay down and die here anymore. You want to finish off the job? Come down here! Do it yourself! You send the angel of death, you better give him one hell of a big sword, 'cause I tell you what; we are going to kick his ass right back to the great white fucking throne! And then we're coming for you. We're coming for you.
  • Refusal of the Call: Mr. Smith says this didn't go well for him. It's implied to be an extreme understatement.
  • Shadow Dictator: Daniel, who's never seen by his people, except for the very top officials. It turns out they invented him, to be the ideal leader.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: Devon and Libby look for a cure at Raven Rock, while at Thunder Mountain, Meghan does the same, using herself as a Professor Guinea Pig. Theo sheltered and groomed a bunch of nerds from her school to be this on a small-scale, such as by making a working generator.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Megan and Markus, one of the worst cases when you think about it.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Apparently Mr. Smith's daughter also hears the voice of God.
  • Take Up My Rover: In the pilot episode, one of Thunder Mountain's scouting teams are killed; the leader, on his final breaths, encourages Jeremiah and Kurdy to take the rover back to Thunder Mountain in their place.
  • Tap on the Head: Played heavily, repeatedly, and enforced throughout the series. Including one case where the lead character gets a blow to the head and wakes up more than a day later, with no lingering effects.
  • Teenage Wasteland: The world was this in the immediate aftermath of the plague, but the fact that it's subsided and allowed the children to grow up means that it no longer qualifies.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Specifically, neo-Nazis; several different groups of them are encountered over the course of the series, and it's mentioned in a throwaway line of background dialogue that one particularly powerful neo-Nazi group controls almost all of Montana.
  • Twin Switch: Played with by Erin (Ingrid Kavelaars) and Lauren (Monique Kavelaars) during the episode Moon in Gemini, where one of them sleeps with Jeremiah. He thinks it's Erin at the time, but then becomes uncertain, though neither will say which it was (in the scene we see it's Lauren, who pulls down her hair (it was in ponytails) to appear like Erin, but he doesn't). Interestingly, this was the only time Monique Kavelaars ever acted, while Ingrid does so full-time.
  • Typhoid Mary: Megan; she even explicitly refers to herself as such at one point.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Where the heck does Libby get all of those Fanservice outfits? Heck, where does all of Jeremiah's unlimited paper come from?
  • Vancouver Doubling: For Colorado, Washington, Virginia, and most of the western United States.
  • Walking the Earth: As much of it as can be reached from their home base on a single tank of gasoline, anyway.
  • Wicked Cultured: Sims. He shows appreciation of fine wine, blank verse poetry, and kindness to a small girl, but is utterly ruthless otherwise.
  • World Half Full: The setting is an After the End from an outbreak that left behind children below the age of thirteen while killing the rest. But nonetheless, the survivors managed to create a functional society and began to thrive once their problems were solved by Jeremiah and his group in their travels. By Season 2, the settlements had managed to restore trade networks and are even on a path to creating The Alliance.


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