The Pretender

NBC (ended 2000)





The Pretender Fan Reviews page 2 of 3

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out of 10
1,811 votes
  • Occasionally more interesting in concept than execution, The Pretender is nonetheless an interesting and engaging show with a number of great characters - not the least of which is the conflicted protagonist himself.

    The Centre is an evil corporation that was involved in a number of bizarre government contracts, one being a genus-project type experiment involving extremely intelligent children in various simulations, from rescue operations to hostage situations or even the design of aircraft. The show focuses on Jarod, one of these children who has grown up under the care (or imprisonment) of The Centre and one of its resident psychologists, Sydney. Due to the nature of their work, these children are dubbed Pretenders for their ability to assume various roles throughout their experiments.

    The first season opens with a little description that ends with "Then one day, their Pretender ran away." That's the show. Jarod has escaped, and The Centre tries to get him back.

    The basic formula of each show uses the escape as an overarching plot line but each episode for a self-contained story where Jarod helps someone. Due to his discovery that a number of the simulations he performed were used in situations to kill people he decides that he must make amends, and he does this by seeking out small injustices and exacting revenge upon those responsible. That usually involves putting them in a similar situation to where they hurt someone else, as Jarod torments them and makes them think they're going to die or be seriously injured. Moral? Maybe not, but they're usually quite satisfying. A doctor who disfigured a young girl harvesting skin for a graft is convinced Jarod has done the same to her, a thrill-seeker who threw a man off a building with a broken bungee cord is tricked into believing the cord attached to him is faulty too, as Jarod pushes him off a bridge. Sometimes the event is recorded on tape or video with Jarod prodding them into admitting them their guilt - whether that would hold up in court, who knows, but this is just a TV show.

    The main plot involving the Centre is quite interesting, however. Jarod is pursued by the three other main characters - Sydney, Miss Parker, and Broots. Miss Parker, daughter of a Centre head, has been there as long as Jarod, although the murder of her mother there hasn't left her. Other characters pop up, from the oxygen-tank wielding Mr. Reines to Mr. Lyle (almost everyone is called by their last name) and Brigit. They all chase Jarod, discover dirty secrets about The Centre's past, as Jarod perpetually taunts them with his own knowledge of their employer. The other significant thread is Jarod's own search for his family, who he was taken from when he was young.

    Truthfully, there is a lot about the show that cannot be summed up, mostly for fear of spoilers. It is interesting, occasionally sappy, but always fun to watch. If it has a problem it's that a number of the episodes are a bit too rigid in keeping with the 'Jarod finds downtrodden, exacts revenge on evildoer' structure and occasionally the editing and music use are tacky, in both action scenes and quiet sad sections. The editors are no strangers to instant replay and dissolves, which appear far more often than they should.

    The actors themselves do a fine job portraying their slightly weird characters. Michael T. Weiss is a wonderful Jarod, and able to transform instantly from a naive child amazed at simple discoveries (like ice cream or a Slinky) to an insane psychopath. Andrea Parker has a commanding presence as her character of same name, and seems to delight in tormenting John Gries' timid Broots. Patrick Bauchau helps make the show work, as he has an intangible sort of presence that grounds everything in and around his own conflicted relationship with Jarod. The other actors (there are also a lot of guest actors as each show takes place in a completely different setting) tend to overact a bit, but it's all in good fun.

    Really, it's not hard to forgive the show's few flaws. The nature of Jarod's escapades mean that each episode can be set almost anywhere and include any number of diverse characters. Sometimes this still results in a rut, sometimes not. Occasionally the writers even take the show in bizarre directions, but these don't pop up as often as they should given how much fun they can be. But heck, whether it's for the revenge bits, the main plot, or the characters, it doesn't matter so long as you watch it.
  • Jarod is a pretender, someone who can be anyone he wants to be. He broke out of the center, the place holding him captive. Now they've sent an old friend and his mentor to get him back. He runs and they chase in the unending cycle.

    I thought this show was great and it was a sad day when the show was finaly over. But thank heavens for the two T.V. movies. If only they would produce one more to answer our last questions. All in all the show and characters evolved (or at least that's my opinion).
  • Intelligent viewing

    The Pretender was one of the smartest and best-written shows I've ever seen. The plot was very involving and was continuous so those who didn't watch from the beginning might have felt it was too difficult to get into. That wasn't the case. I didn't start watching until season 2 and though it took a few episodes to get what was happening, I did and am so glad I started watching. Michael T. Weiss was great as the title character, but the character I really related to was Miss Parker, played by the fantastic Andrea Parker. She was cold as ice on the outside, but you knew somewhere in there was a decent person with a heart and that occasionally showed. After its cancellation, there were two tv movies, but still not everything was resolved. I doubt we'll ever get another movie, but it sure would be nice.
  • I want it to come back I need something to watch. NOW!!!!!!

    I think that they should bring back Pretender to TNT in the mornings. Cause I need someting to watch something when I wake up in the mornings. I miss waking up to the voices of Pretender.Dang, I want them, no I need them to bring it back. Hey, I have an idea why don\'t we all e-mail the Pretender producers and complain that we want them back. It could work or they could get a restraining order against us but we must keep trying to get it back. Do what ever you can to get it back on. If you really want it back do what you can for them to poll some strings and put Pretender back on TV.

    P.S.-try your hardest

  • An inteligent, entertaining hour of television. This should be brought back, at least to a cable channel.

    This was a good television show that lost in the battle against reality TV. There are many, many mindless shows on the major networks today that should be replaced by shows like this one. This would include the many different versions of Law & Order and CSI.

    I enjoyed how Jarad was able to alway come out on top; and the comical remarks that he made along the way were very entertaining. Ms. Parker is always worth turning to look at; her role in that sitcom didn't do her acting the justice that it deservered.

    Please, please bring it back... maybe a movie of the week?
  • A boy genius who was taken from his family by The Centre. Escaped, Jarod's a genius who can Pretend to be anything he wants. While looking for his family, The Centre is trying to recapture their Pretender. Jarod uses his ability to help others while searc

    This show was great. The premise of the show had an individual (Jarod) who can "Pretend" to be anything he wants, while helping those who have been 'wronged' or 'trapped by circumstance'. At the same time, he's looking for his family and the past he never had while running from the people who stole him as a child. In the four season's of the show, the character development and background story arc were becoming very compelling. Cut short at the end of the fourth season, certain story arcs were left unresolved – as a matter of fact the fourth season ended in a cliff-hanger. TNT, which had taken over production, had planned to make 4 made for TV movies only produced 2 (which never aired in Canada) due to low ratings. There were also 2 cross-over episodes with Profiler (both produced by NBC)and Pretender star Michael T. Weiss (Jarod) made a third guest appearance.
  • The show that showed that one person can make a difference.

    I so miss this show with every fiber of my being!! I was so upset when NBC canceled this show for arena football.

    Jarod on the search for his family and being reunited with them. However, his mom only seeing her at a distance was a tear jerker. Parker and Jarod had so much chemistry on screen.

    It was so great to see a modern day hero in these times. Someone trying to right wrongs. Jarod emerged from the evil Centre to make a new life for himself discovering the things we take for granted.
  • Great 90s show that may have done better after the year 2000.

    There has been many shows over the years featuring a nomadic character who helps people as he goes about his journey, but The Pretender is probably one greats of all. Where in other shows the character was always the same, this series added a twist: he was a genius with the ability to assume any profession he chose, from park ranger to FBI special agent. Michael T. Weiss was great as the title character, Jarod, who helps right wrongs as he attempts to find the parents he was taken from as a child and continually eludes those chasing him from the mysterious organization from where he's escaped. Because of his ability, each episode was like an individual little movie, because he was someone different each week. One of the things that was different was the way he would get his revenge. Rather than just go for the person, he would slowly toy with them, taking his plan one step at a time and get to the mentally. Jarod was like a little child but also had a dark past.
    This show had an interesting seed of history fact. First, Jarod was loosely based on a real criminal pretender. Second, the Center was loosely based on a real government experamental test on child geneiuses called Genesis.
  • Good show in early seasons...went downhill in later seasons.

    I really enjoyed the initial seasons of this show. The relationship between Jarrad and Miss Parker, the Mystery of Jarrad and the Center, all of these plots worked. In the Later seasons, I thought the show moved away from its roots and the I felt that the show lost many of its best qualities.
  • This show is twisted tale that no one seems to have all the pieces to except one man and he's not sharing. A little boy, with the gift of pretending is taken from his family and grows up, finally escapes and trys to put the pieces back together.

    This was a must-see TV show in my book every Saturday night. I was so drawn to the character of Jarod deeply cared for him wanted to see him with his family again and loved, loved, loved Sydney and am thrilled to see him in other rolls since this show. Ms. Parker had a special place in my heart because it was great to see her finally show a little compassion towards Jarod as the show went on and her beauty is stunning. Before this show I had never cried nearly every episode and I can only think of one since then. The characters are real and the plot is heartbreaking. I am glad to see that I wasn\'t the only fan of this show and wish it were still around. If you have never seen the show, do, and I am sure you\'ll enjoy it.
  • Riveting show

    The Pretender is an excellent show, that was cancelled before its time. This show takes you from one locale to another as it depicts the travels of Jarod, a man on the run from a shifty organization known as the Centre. Jarod himself takes on a new persona each episode as he tries to solve the problems of the "little guy." With each episode the viewer gets to see Jarod and some of the interactions he has with people, including some of the people who are after him. The Pretender is a show that people should give a chance or at least take an episode or two in.
  • Everything about this show was perfect

    This show had to be one of the best ever on t.v. I think it had a great story, the only thing that sux is all the open ended questions.

    I never did get to see either of the movies which aired not to long after the show was cancled. I have heard it leaves many questions still. There are rumors of them making the 3rd just to answer the q's though. I am just hoping they release them to dvd when season 4 comes out so I know a bit more.

    The show itself was great. I love the fact they crossed over Pretender and Profiler too. Since they are both great. It is a shame it only lasted 4 seasons though.

    How could one go wrong having a show about a genius who had a horriable life going around and seeing the good in everything?????And making the world a better place!!
  • absolute brilliant premise, superb directing and characters and a unique style of storytelling.

    If only this show wouldve been made a few years later, it wouldve seen success closer to what it deserved. TV wasn't yet ready for the expanded style of storytelling the Pretender was suited to. This was before Buffy and Alias and 24, there had to be much more containment in each episode. And it seems, there lies the conflict within the show, how to tell a long story while still satisfying the casual viewer. ultimately the shows downfall

    past references were kept to a minimum to avoid confusion, it seems the writers were desperately trying to bring together their plot ends, while still leaving open new avenues, continuity therefore was betrayed, and its sad.

    This show was brilliant, a true modern myth, characters always intense and mysterious and true, and great images, drama and tension. Of course the show succeeded most in its powerful nostalgia. This show had things most shows don't, and really really, couldve gone further than it did, i love it, but there just are some things that needed touching up.
  • jarod is a very handsome man

    jarod is all the tall dark and hot. i wish there were some episodes or bring the series back and have them start all over. he was a cute and smarter mcguyver. remember that one and the lone wolf. some old shows that some young bucks wont remember. they were dull but classics.
  • ...

    An amazing show that is something you can watch with the entire family. I still watch at least one episode a week and hope that the creators come back and finish the storyline. A very talented group of actors and superb directing make this an instant hit with everyone who sees it.
  • I feel sorry for the ones that cancelled the show.

    This is (was) the greatest show that I have ever seen. It has inspired me to in so many ways. I have taped every single episode including the the following movies and I am only sad that WB didn't continue with it throughout the entire contract.

    I think that many of us recognized them selfs in Jarod and what he had expirienced in his free life.

    Simply perfect in every aspect.
  • One of the best and origional shows on TV when it premired, but unfortunately, it jumped the shark towards the end.

    One of the best and origional shows on TV when it premired, but unfortunately, it jumped the shark towards the end. What started out as a terrific show with intrigue, secret organizations, and great human interest story lines, ended with a wannabe sci-fi thriller. The series as a whole is a definite must see, but fare warning the ending will definitly leave you scratching your head.
  • This show is the greatest fiction I have come across in a long time, I rate it up there with the best along with the CSI, X-Files, A-Team Macgyver. Steven Long Mitchell came up trumps with this idea. Jarod and Parker share the best chemistry onscreen afte

    This show is the greatest fiction I have come across in a long time, I rate it up there with the best along with the CSI, X-Files, A-Team Macgyver. Steven Long Mitchell came up trumps with this idea. Jarod and Parker share the best chemistry onscreen after Mulder and Scully.
  • this show is awesome. such good actors and actresses they make you feel that you are really there, experiencing everything that they are. wonderfully put together and is quite awesome.

    the story line was pure genius, so much twists to the plot it was great. the characters were very good at what they did. it did need somes work though i must admit that the story was very strange and that the boy grew up never knowing his father or mother then found then and found his sister and brother and learned he had a half brother and sister was very confusing.
  • There are Pretenders among us... Geniuses with the ability to become anyone they want to be... In 1963 a corporation known as the Centre isolated a young Pretender named Jarod and exploited him for their research... Then, one day, their Pretender ran away

    Why did it have to go! There were so many questions left unanswered! It is one of the best shows out there! If you haven't seen it, I would highly reccomend picking it up on DVD. If you have Netflix, or something like that, rent it! There are so many twists and turns, and the writing is excellent. The superb acting of Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bauchau, and Jon Gries, as well as the other actors, make the show addictive, and makes me sad when I think that it never got to run it's course... It is one of the best shows of all time, and it is something that everyone should have the pleasure of watching.
  • BRING IT BACK!!! I I really love Jarod & Miss Parker!

    Miss Parker was the ultimate 'Bitch'. That coupled up with Jarod it was the perfect team...They need to get the issues resolved!To many open ended storie lines.It was very exciting to see some of the other cast stars making there 'cameo' apperances..I eapecially like the fact that the writers used the (higher-tech clothing.(Black leather coats. Short skirts,etc.)
  • A genuine tv classic-full of fascinating writing,excellent stories and compelling performances.This is surely one series from the 90s which should endure.

    I missed this show first time round somehow,and am currently viewing re-runs.I've found all it needs is for you to watch one episode and you're hooked.The writing in this series is of a continually high standard-clever,witty and yes sometimes profound.
    The series is formulaic,and the show probably got too bogged down in the mysteries surrounding "who is really related to who",and "what were the Center up to when this happened" plots in the later episodes,but these slight reservations aside,as with all great drama,it's not the fact that you're working within certain pre-set conventions that matter-it's what you do with them,and "the Pretender" strives to and achieves excellence within its set perambeters.Jarod is a little like Dr.Kimble in the 60's series "the Fugitive",a hunted man,moving around the country,doing a range of different jobs,helping the various people that he becomes involved with,but dogged by relentless(though not evil)pursuers,always moving on,always he remains the outsider.
    Despite his brilliance,Jarod never becomes conceited and irritating,a "know all" type.Apart from the superb way Michael T. Weiss plays the character,one of the methods the writers use to keep us on side with him are those moments when he shows a wide eyed innocence about relatively commonplace things he missed out on in all his years at the Center-his not knowing about Spiderman,the Beatles and just about anything asssociated with popular culture;and the genuine altruism of his motivations-this must owe a lot to the influence of his mentor Sidney during his captive decades.
    There are so many more good things you want to say about this show,but I'll just have to limit myself to few of them.
    Andrea Parker as "Miss Parker"-amazing!She just burns up the screen when she's on-this apparently heartless character slowly reveals her more human side as the show progresses,but she never loses that acid laced sarcastic wit and fiery personality-you would never want to be on the wrong side of a furious Miss Parker!She has some of the best lines in the show,and they're frequently worthy of "The Simpsons"-
    Broots-.."it's in France..."
    Miss Parker-"So is the Jerry Lewis fan club,but I still wouldn't want to join it!"
    Around the character of Sidney(Patrick Bauchau) revolve some of the most serious moral issues of the show.The viewer is left asking,how has this good,even noble man, been involved in something so morally dubious as the Center,keeping children locked up,isolated and under surveillance,and exploiting their abilities.As the series goes on,and more and more of the Center's nasty secrets are unveiled,we see him coming to the realization that he has lived a lie,and spent his career serving very dubious masters and ends.
    For pure evil,we have firstly the "Nosferatu" like Mr.Raines(Richard Marcus),cadaverous and breathing with the aid of a portable oxygen tank-"The Center's Dr.Mengle" as Jarod describes him-and he certainly deserves that comparison.Yet even Mr.Raines,the man at the core of the Center's most sinister secrets,is allowed some degree of sympathy-especially in the episode when we learn that his daughter was kidnapped and murdered years earlier;and secondly there's "Brigitte"(Pamela Gidley),a slinky leather clad blonde assassin and all round villainess,who's genuine immoral and opportunistic character is in contrast to that of Miss Parker,whose hard boiled outer shell hides a soft center(the two naturally loathe eachother).
  • So many unresolved issues remain, but it was incredibly brilliant and especially heartfelt during its time.

    While I watched this show when it first aired on NBC, I completely forgot about it after a while, even missing the last one or two seasons. That was, until TNT started picking it up, and even made two made-for-TV movies for the fans.

    In case you are new to the show, The Pretender is a drama with a man named Jarod at its core. Jarod is a genius "who can be anyone he wants to be," who became a pet project for organization called The Centre that stole him as a child. He was taught to do simulations by a man called Sydney, a genuine person at heart, the results of which were sold to the highest bidder, no matter what his intentions were. When Jarod learned that many of these simulations, which he was told were to benefit mankind, were really hurting people, he ran away. And that is where the show begins. He runs, and The Centre chases. But really, that's only what it is about on the surface. Along the way, he helps people who are just as helpless and lost as he once was. And through it all, he's looking for his family, and helping one of The Centre's employees chasing him, Miss Parker, discover the truth about hers.

    After four full seasons and two made-for-TV movies, the show ends abruptly. As I said before, I was a fan of the show at the beginning, but it got lost in the mess of my teenage life and didn't resurface until I caught Island of the Haunted on the very last night it aired (before it was added to syndication as well). And, yes, I got hooked...again. I started watching from the start and grew to care more and more about the characters. just ended. What happened after they got off the island Carthis? We'll never know because no one is giving it a chance to finish! How did Jarod and Miss Parker's mothers know each other? Is Mr. Raines really Miss Parker's father? And will Jarod and Miss Parker ever kiss as adults? (I was so peeved that the darn blind lady Ocee barged in on them in Island of the Haunted, breaking up what would have been a most joyful moment in Pretender history.) While these questions are sure to remain unanswered except by speculation, I still continue to enjoy watching the regular series episodes, as each has so much depth that I am continually recognizing new things. Also, the emotional depth of Miss Parker is something worth seeing, as she can be cold and malicious one moment, and then heartbroken and endearing the next. Her friendship, so to speak, with Jarod, existing over telephone lines and during desperate situations, always kept me tuning in, and I hope that, had the show continued, they would have ended up in a wonderfully romantic relationship.
  • I need to know how this show ends! What happened?

    What is interesting about The Pretender is its concept - a genius with the ability to seamlessly fit into any line of work or circumstance he encounters, a pretender. Sounds pretty simple, right? More specifically, when a young boy named Jarod is kidnapped and intellectually oppressed by the mysterious institution known as The Center, he flees his captors and begins an exhaustive quest to locate his unknown parents. As he matures into a man, still searching, Jarod (Michael Weiss) uses his special intellectual gift for the good of humanity, helping the unfortunate victims he reads about on a daily basis.
  • More questions than the X-files

    Well while the 2 movies answered a few questions, it inevitably raised even more. The cast has been quoted as saying they would happily love to finish the show, but it's in the hands of the TV execs who (& let's face it) don't care about what the viewers think.
    The creators of the show have said that they have the answers but are not saying a thing, as I guess they live in hope that one day this show will come back.
    Come on people, the DVDs are selling great, maybe a couple more movies to help generate interest & finish the story would sell even MORE of them? Of course it would. I guess there's still hope for this show, but I doubt it will ever finish..... sad really.....
  • The Pretender can be called Many things, but the nist important is that it was utter Brilliance!

    I never thought I would find a show that no matter how many times I saw it I would love it. But I have found it. The Pretender has mystery, action, drama and ohh so much more. The characters are so complex and the storylines are full of intrigue and mystery. Andrea Parker is one of the most under-rated actresses around today. She brings life into the character of Miss Parker like no one else ever could. She is menacing, nasty, and cruel as well as being curious, compassionate, and undoughtedly loyal. I have never seen a character like her on television. I don't think that I ever will.
  • There r pretenders among us...

    Most of all, original. Not for the man who searches for its lost past but for the way writers found of getting all the characters into the story of Jarod, our Pretender.

    Jarod was, apparently, stolen from it's family, he now belongs to a mind research organization named, 'The Center'.
    Jarod is a pretender, a man capable of assuming several different characters just by changing his personality. 'The Center' lost control over him and now Jarod is a loose end, trying to get track of his family and having a bunch of media discs and a portable computer he tries to regain the memories which can help him understand what happened.

    A team from the organization is assingned to gain control over Jarod, trying to seize him and his mind. The experienced, Jarod trainer, Sidney, the beutifful and arrogant Miss Parker and the smart Broots are now the one's Jarod tries to escape from and simultaneously help, help to be helped in return since they have some pretty interesting stories to tell about 'The Center', Jarod and even Miss Parker.

    A good, mind refreshing plot, intelligent and funny (not comic), nicely interpreted by the whole cast.

    Two Thumbs up.
  • Genius is kidnapped as a young child, isolated and exploited by an evil corporation. Eventually escapes and uses his chameleonlike abilities to help right wrongs while staying ahead of those trying to recapture him. Along the way, he experiences things

    This show had something for everyone. The plots twisted, the characters grew, the writing was generally good, the good guys were always good and the bad guys (almost) always got their due. There was action and science, romance and mystery. The star was gorgeous. The mood spanned the gamut from comedy to heartbreak. What more could you want?

    There were, of course, issues. Ms. Parker, the main agent, for lack of a better word, on Jarod's trail, missed clear opportunities to capture him and cruelly nabbed him at other times (only to lose him again). She was played beautifully through her range of angry bitterness to shocked vulnerability, but she never quite made sense. Angelo, a failed "pretender" experiment, was never quite fleshed out although his unpredictability was helpful to the show.

    I loved seeing the world through Jarod's eyes and experiencing fake dog poop, bubble gum and the Three Stooges for the first time as an adult. Taking one bite from each of an enormous variety of doughnuts and leaving them spread out all over the desk was priceless, as was his perplexed reaction to the unwelcome tradition of giving fruitcake at Christmas time. I miss it.
  • I loved all of the story lines..

    They need to bring this show back. I loved watching it. I loved watching Jarod staying one step ahead of the \"Centre\". The story never ended.... I am curious about Parker\'s mother and Jarod\'s mother and how Mr.Raines is involved. I would love to see it come back & finish it.
  • There are Pretenders among us. Geniuses with the ability to become anyone they want to be In 1963, a corporation known as the Centre isolated a young Pretender named Jarod and exploited his genius for their research.

    Oh, how could they possibly leave us hangin\' like this. They need to just bring it back. Or at least give us one more movie that sums everthing up cus this is wrong. This is like one of the best shows ever and I really, really want it back NOW!!
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