The Pretender

NBC (ended 2000)





The Pretender Fan Reviews (66)

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out of 10
1,812 votes
  • This is the best show that I ever have seen. The story lines from episode to episode work on each other to reveal mystery after mystery about Jarod, his family, and "the Centre". The writing in this series is supurb and I would recommend this show to an

    This is the best show that I ever have seen. Even though it only lasted 4 seasons, plus 2 T.V. movies, it was worth every episode. The story lines from episode to episode work on each other to reveal mystery after mystery about Jarod, his family, and "the Centre". The writing in this series is supurb and I would recommend this show to anyone. The show has done of actions and remains exciting at all times.

    The best part of the show is how intelligent the writing is. It really makes you think about all of the characters and everything that is happening.

    I didn't watch this show until it was on re-runs on TNT, but the show will convince you to watch within minutes. It is really the best show especially for a gifted mind.

    By far, the best show ever created. Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Jon Gries, Jamie Denton, and all the other actors (especially the actors that play Sydney, Mr. Parker, and Mr. Raines) are excellent in these roles.

    The only down side of watching is that you will be hooked and have to see every episode before and after the one that you saw, plus the 2 movies, to truly figure everything out.
  • A boy genius, who can assume any type of job without anyone suspecting, in search of his past, helps others along the way.

    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.
  • When I first saw this program thought it was original and i was totally hooked,and had more twists and turns than an episode of Alias

    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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 ...

    This was a great show ... until "they" decide to unbroadcast it in my country !

    I don't know the end ! i'm so frustrated. I was watching it with passion everyday.

    The stories of each episode where so well-made, you couldn't look away from your TV before the end.

    I want it back ... please !
  • A complex cat and mouse game with heart.

    It's difficult to talk about this series. The show is a complex web of puzzles that plays out over all four seasons and two made for tv movies. Without knowing the stories and truths we learn later in the series, the first episode seems quite confusing, but makes us want to learn more.

    A man and a woman are following a man who is actively helping other people. We learn that Jarod, the runaway, is fleeing a brain bin called The Centre. The Centre collects highly intelligent children and sells their useful talents to the highest bidder. Jarod's genius allows him to be a "pretender" one who doesn't act a part, but becomes the part. Because of The Centre, his gift has destroyed many innocent lives, all the while he thought he was saving them. Now he helps the innocent and the powerless while trying to stay one step ahead of The Centre's minions.

    Complex? Yes. But following Jarod's journey of redemption was worth tuning in each week. Over four seasons we see how the lies are sorted from the truth for Jarod and the people following him. While the ratings were good, the show ended so NBC could replace it with the now defunct XFL ("wrestling football" as Michael T. Weiss once called it).

    Two made for tv movies were developed with plans for a third. As of yet, there has been no word on the final movie and properly ending the series. Until then, all we can do is relive it on DVD.
  • 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.....
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ...

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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