With such a high rating I was expecting something inspirational. Instead I found undeveloped characters and an unexplained plot that left you wonder what the point of the show was. I kept waiting for the show to take on some substance but found myself disappointed. Most episodes follow the same basic structure and although each episode seems to allow the characters to grow you find the characters constantly regress back to their basic selves by the next episode, leaving nothing to look forward to. Over all I would say it was a waist of time and a waist of a rating.
When "The Pretender" premiered, I was hooked. The premise is ideal for series TV - a guy who can literally take on any profession, travelling the country in search of his identity and righting wrongs along the way. Mixed in was the hunt for Jarod by his former captors, and backstory as to what their nefarious plans were.
I ate it up for the first season and a half, even going right along with the mystery of who killed Miss Parker's mother, the enigmatic Mr. Raines and so many other Centre machinations that intruded more and more on Jarod's adventure of the week.
But, like a lot of shows premiering in the shadow of "The X-Files" (and 1996-1998 were really the glory days of that show), "The Pretender" ultimately aimed too high in creating its mythology. Soon, it seemed like all of the primary characters were related, their parents were all banded together in treachery, people returned from the dead and died again...and a good little show with a neat hook became a weird conspiracy-centered show that had lost track of its original premise.
I lost touch of the show midway through Season 2 as the Centre storylines continued to spiral out of control. I rented the rest of Season 2 and started to watch Season 3 on DVD and couldn't get through it. I know some people may have preferred the focus on the history of the Centre, but I liked the weekly mystery/adventure stories, where Jarod would use his genius intellect to help people and to punish the bad guys. From what I have read, Seasons 3 and 4 continued the emphasis on family drama and Centre espionage, so I don't think I missed much.
But when it was good (Season 1 mostly), man this show was good! Michael T. Weiss was a strong leading man, and he was able to convey Jarod's childlike innocence, as well as a kind of sociopathic streak when the bad guy of the week got "pretund." Andrea Parker was an effective Emma Peel type until producers got the bright idea of making her soft and sweet. And the underrated Patrick Bauchau was superb as the scientist/father figure Sydney, who despite his kindness was always enigmatic.
A great premise and debut season, but it got carried away with the cloak-and-dagger stuff. Worth checking out, I'd say, but don't stay with it too long.
When the Pretender first started out, it was great. It was always suspensfull and had me on the edge of my seat. Then, as the series progressed, it started to go downhill. They reused old episode plots but mixed them around a little. Plus, the whole, figure out the mureder thing gets old fast, so it should have some added in scenes to keep you excited. This is what the Pretender WAS. By the fourth season, it was all to confusing and some characters finally reappeared from the second season. All in all, The Pretender was a good show that couldn't keep it's potential over the years.
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.
I watched this show when I was young and was enthralled with someone who could be whatever he wanted with just a little bit of research put into play. Every episode that passed I wished more and more that I would find out the secret to Jared's family and learn to who he really was it was quite frustrating but forced me to come back for more. Each show has him pretending to be another person with another profession and solving whomever he comes into contact with problem. It is a show of little violence and I didn't mind this at all.
There's been many shows over the years featuring a nomadic character who helps people as he goes about his journey, but THE PRETENDER is probably my favorite of the bunch. Whereas 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. I'm surprised he never posed as an astronaut and went into space. Michael T. Weiss was terrific 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. And one of the things I liked was the way he would get revenge. Rather than just go for the person, he would slowly toy with them, taking his plan one step at a time. It was really fun to watch him play around with the person.
Sexy Andrea Parker played Miss. Parker (an amusing coincidence that she herself said was one main reasons she took the role), who was filled with utter determination to capture Jarod and return him to the Centre, despite the times he helped save her own life and was someone she knew as a child growing up in the Centre. He even got her to start questioning the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her mother, whose killer has remained a mystery through four seasons and two TV movies. Patrick Bauchau was Sydney, one of the few people Jarod ever felt that he could trust, and a father figure to him. Sydney often seemed happy for Jarod that he was free of the Centre and able to experience life, and their phone conversations (when Jarod would call for advice or just to talk) were always very nice. The good supporting cast included Richard Marcus (appropriately evil as the nefarious Mr. Raines), Jon Gries as scardy cat computer whiz Broots, Jamie Denton as Parker's brother, Harve Presnell as Parker's father (though that later became debatable following events in the first TV movie), and one-time James Bond himself George Lazenby as Jarod's father, who disappeared from the show as mysteriously as he had appeared.
For three seasons, THE PRETENDER maintained a high quality of entertaining adventures and stories, with a good balance between the Jarod "pretending" stories and the Centre mythology sub-plots. But with the forth season, the show made the same mistake THE X-FILES made: it got too involved with itself. There was more and more focus on the internal conspiracies of the Centre instead of a focus on Jarod and his exploits. The show's mythology began to take over, and it seemed each week there was a new revelation about someone, like the writers couldn't make up their minds as to what they wanted to do. Thanks to this and a heavy dose of pre-emps, PRETENDER began to sag and was cancelled at the end of the season (just so NBC could carry XFL, and look how well that paid off).
But thankfully, some loose ends were tied up by TNT, who picked up the show for reruns and gave us two movies. The first three seasons were the best, and I hope some day the show is made available on DVD.
Jarod did not experience childhood. Instead, he grew up in The Centre, becoming a Pretender (someone who can become anyone they want to). Upon escaping, Jarod is drawn to situations where he can be of need. As well, he discovers things he missed growing.
Every week I looked forward to seeing what discoveries Jarod would make and which profession he would take on. I enjoyed seeing Jarod as an innocent guy who had a heart to help others and find justice. I also enjoyed the show's cat-and-mouse style. There were times where Jarod was alsmost caught, but he would always out smart people and get away just in time! I have all the seasons on DVD and I want to know how it all ends. There are a couple of Pretender movies I which I hope will answer all my questions.
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.
Why not have a show that can feature all sorts of shows rolled into one. That's the concept of the Pretender, it's about a genius who can impersonate anyone he chooses to. The show's a little odd, but it's a very entertaining one. There are great episodes. It's about a man who has nothing but does everything to help those in need. It's a classic hero drama, but one that doesn't involve supernatural events. This show is a cat and mouse game between a runaway government agent and the secret agency chasing him. Each time they zero in on him, he already have morphed into another fake personality. It's a pretty good show.
The Pretender was so good! It is pretty neat how he could make himself be anything that he wanted to fit in and do the things that he needed to do! Also Trying to figure out his past was also so exciting. It is really to bad that they arnt making eposodes of that show any more. Even thought that he is now on prison Break! Everyone on the Pretender were great actor and actresses! I could watch reruns of that show all day. I actually think that on one of the cable channles it is still on i think!
This is the story of Jarod, a boy genius kidnapped by "The Centre", an organization which raise people as perfect weapons. But unfortunately for them, Jarod escapes and then he begin the search for his parents and helps people on his way ...
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.
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.
"The Pretender" was one of the most underappreciated TV shows ever to grace our screens for four years. It had an utterly original concept. A young, isolated genius escapes from an evil corporation (The Centre) and uses his gift to help people whilst attempting to find his family that he was kidnapped from. To the delight of the audience, we watch as Jarod discovers new foods and love whilst uncovering the secrets that The Centre would kill to keep quiet. He is chased by a group of three Centre operatives. Miss Parker, his childhood sweetheart. A hardened woman who was lied to about everything in her life including but not limited to her mother's "suicide", her father's identity and the existence of a evil twin brother. His teacher and mentor Sydney Green, Jarod's father figure who is racked with guilt about his part in Jarod's kidnapping and imprisonment. And finally, computer genius and overall weasal Broots.
I would recommend to everyone to take the time to watch this engaging show which was cancelled just as it began to really came into it's element. It's a disgrace that TNT won't allow the producers to create the movie that would finally answer all the big questions we fans have been asking for eight years.
In the beginning the show is a little slow, the stories are good but the show its self has problems getting going. This is because the show has a hard time getting past the main mystery of the show, because if they got past it, it would end the show.
The main characters are well written but I wish that they could have brought the 2 groups together more when they aren't rying to get one another. The show has nice tension between Mrs. Parker and Jarod but because they are together so little nothing happens to this relationship.
The stories do get a little repetative near the end because they are still using the same method of Jarod trying to help as many random people as possible. I do wish that they went more into the main mythology more and that we could find out more about the Center and Jarod's role with them.
In the end it is a good felling show that rarely is depressing with a fair amount of humor to keep you entertained. It might not be a buy but it is definately a rent on dvd.
Truly an influential show, without The Pretender I highly doubt there'd be a fan base for action/adventure show like Alias, 24 or even Prison Break. Yes they would have eventually gained fans but The Pretender opened up our mind to the subject of someone running against the law/finding themselves.
Series arc, is something that I find many series can't do well, X-Files and Alias, both shows I will say had great ones but I felt were extended a little to long. Take X-Files, Mulder's search for his supposed abducted sister and when it came time to resolve it (Season 7) it was a complete letdown. Alias, Rambaldi device I thought was something that could destroy the world or cause something huge but instead it turned out to only be immortality for one single person, wow! The Pretender on the other hand gave answers first, to who was he? Then, who/what happened to his parents? and finally, the search for his family. Early closure on the main arc isn't always bad cause in the end you'd automatically find away to create a new and fresh one while the series is still young, but of course still in the line of the original plot.
Characters, were greatly written. The "bad guys" in the end had a good reason for being on that side, instead of "Oh wow, the bad guys get to inflict pain. I should join." The fact that the series showed emotion in their characters (good or bad) shows that they knew the characters/plot in and out. Then just randomly coming up with it on the day of script time.
If your into The X-Files, Alias, La Femme Nikita and or Prison Break then The Pretender is one you should check out indeed. You also get closure for the series with the two later produced movies (The Pretender 2001 and The Island of the Haunted) that greatly wrap up the series, but leaving room for a third one if one ever chooses to surface. Sure, the series may not have lasted long or high but understand when people say "I'll take quality over quantity." they mean it. Just watch this show and you'll defiantly understand that saying. You have nothing to lose but a great show to add to your favorites.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Loved the show alot and was very upset when it was finally axed but as I live in the UK still getting the episodes very slowly for the final season it grew with confidence and better scriptwriting and techinic with every season and you grew to get involved with all the characters including the lovely Miss Parker and you always loved the way Jored got the bad guys/girls with his wits and skill, while trying to find his parents, I know they are putting Pretender onto DVD I hope that includes the specials they made after the series ended.
The basic premise is that "The Center" has been training geniuses over the years to do "simulations" of military and other situations to find optimal solutions. Only a small number of children have survived the training, Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) and a couple of others. Jarod escapes in order to find his family, causing much mayhem in "The Center" where a team of experts (Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots) is setup to try and catch him, narrowly missing at every corner.
It sounds fairly formulaic, but the episodes are varied enough to keep things going, and unlike the X-Files the "searching for the family history" thread does not spin too wildly out of control. The acting is perhaps not the best (has Patrick Bauchau ever taken an acting class???), but its good enough, and there is a selection of weird characters to keep things moving where needed (Angelo the remote viewer, Mr Raines - head of The Center, Mr Lyle etc.)
Although it ran 4 seasons, a 5th season would have been nice with the way the family thread was developing in the final few episodes.
We all know how it goes, Jarod is a genius, a pretender who can become anyone he wants to be. He helps those in need while searching for his past. Searching for his family. Taken from his family at a young age, Jarod grew up in a place called The Centre. And then one day, Jarod runs away.... and The Centre are after him, always one step behind, right where they belong.
This show was definitely brilliant! There are plenty of mysteries to keep you guessing... and lots of (still) unanswered questions! And if that wasn't enough, there are lots of twists and shocks along the way to always keep you entertained! Jarod's past is as much a mystery to us as it is to him. And so is Miss Parker and her past! Does anyone really know very much about her past? Will we ever get answers for this great show? Will the answers be solved in possibly a third movie? Or is that asking to much? Whatever the case, I say bring back The Pretender! Bring back Jarod!!
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?
This show was so good that it had the potential to be the Alias of its time, or even of today. Unfortunately it seems the TV world wasn't ready to fully embrace it as it has done with Alias. This show had everything that makes Alias great, such as suspense, action, and more twists than a bag of pretzels. It had great acting, and I'm talking about grade A quality here. Plus, it was always interesting to see what role the main character would be pretending to be in each episode. On that note, it was much like the movie "Catch Me if You Can". On another note, this show too had the suspense of a government cover up like Alias does so often. That is something that makes Alias so great and to be honest it worked to great lengths in the Pretender as well. All in all, this was the predecessor to Alias. It was a fantastic show that paved the way for many of the twisty action shows of today, unfortunately not enough people knew about it in its own time.
My final review: A great show that had the potential to be as popular as Alias back then and today.
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.
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.
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.
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