The Pretender

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NBC (ended 2000)

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walrus_8463

User Score: 212

SUBMIT REVIEW

The Pretender Fan Reviews (66)

8.7
out of 10
Average
1,798 votes
  • Disappointing.

    1.0
    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.
  • A strong start, before it got too muddled in its own mythology.

    6.5
    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.
  • Starts off well, then loses its way and ends with a disaster of a show.

    7.0
    First off the part of the show following Jarod is great , a top class show.

    But the second part of the show , following the center, is a disaster, going nowhere, and without any reason,

    Then the last movie, they decide to change the whole style of the show, complete pile of rubbish.

    No propper ending and thoughts what could have been.

    God bless Jarod x
  • All in all, The Pretender was a good show that couldn't keep it's potential over the years.

    7.5
    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.
  • Good show in early seasons...went downhill in later seasons.

    7.7
    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.
  • Emmy nominated Pretender Theme Music is on Youtube now

    8.0
    Guess there were 3 theme songs. this was the last one. I like the vocal sounds
  • I loved that!

    8.0
    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.

    8.0
    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.
  • There r pretenders among us...

    8.0
    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.
  • A decent show.

    8.1
    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 always one of my moms favorite to watch. Why isnt it on anymore?

    8.3
    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 ...

    8.3
    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 !
  • jarod is a very handsome man

    8.5
    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.

    8.5
    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.
  • 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.

    9.0
    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.
  • absolute brilliant premise, superb directing and characters and a unique style of storytelling.

    9.0
    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.
  • 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

    9.0
    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.
  • 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

    9.0
    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.
  • An inteligent, entertaining hour of television. This should be brought back, at least to a cable channel.

    9.1
    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.

    9.1
    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

    9.2
    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.

    9.2
    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

    9.2
    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 program had it all. Great character development, ongoing mystery plot lines, good over evil scenarios completed in one sometimes two epsisodes.

    9.5
    I somehow missed this show in its original run in the mid/late 90's. But as luck would have it, I've recently discovered this show in re-runs and was so interested by it that I even bought Season 1 & 2 on DVD, ( 3 & 4 for Christmas ). The show consisted of a hero (Jarod) who was a genius capable of insinuating himself into any profession or situation. Kidnapped as a child and exploited by "The Centre", Jarod escapes and sets out to find his long-lost parents. During his search, Jarod useed his abilities to seek justice for strangers he read about in newspaper articles. Part of what made this series great was the relationship between Jarod and Centre psychologist/instructor Sydney who has raised Jarod from childhood and become the closest thing Jarod had ever known to a father. Additionally, Centre Hench-woman "Miss Parker" tracks Jarod relentlessly, while discovering more and more that the Centre has manipulated her own life almost as much as they have Jarod's. The only negative thing I have to say about this show is that it was canceled prior to its conclusion. They was however two made for TV movies The Pretender 2001 & The Pretender Island of the Haunted, The Pretender 2001 tried to answer some unanswered question relating to the series.

    I wished they had'nt cancelled this show and hope that some TV station picks up a remake ( would it be as good without the original cast ) but atleast we have the DVD's.
  • 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.

    9.6
    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).
  • 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

    9.7
    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.
  • The Pretender. This show was mainly about a young boy named Jarod who was stolen from his family and used for the Centres evil ways. While growing up in the Centre there he was getting smarter only to escape eventually.

    9.8
    I started watching this show from the first episode to almost the last. I only missed like less then a handful when it was on. This tv show had it all from our hero Jarod trying to become anyone he put his smart mind to someone that was evil and relentless like Dr. William Raines. Id like to say first off since this is my review. This tv show had some interesting characters. That made it something to really enjoy each week it was on. Looking into the characters alittle more. I really liked Miss Parker. Her character was put together well. She was everything from tall and leggy to very combustible at times. A take no nonsense type of gal if you know what I mean. Sydney is jarods docter of choice or his project if you wanna say that. He on one hand wants Jarod to return but I think hes glad Jarod is away from that place. Broots is a cool computer guy who seems to know as much as Jarod does on some things but Jarod seems to be one step ahead of him. Angelo is pretender completely gone wrong. In so many words hes smart but he doesnt wanna let the Centre know that. For Jarods enemys the one that most stands out to me is Dr. William Raines I so cannot stand him. He looks like an old broke down skeletor with an oxygen tank from He-man. Brigitte is a close second. She fits the total blonde thing. But very crafty and smart. Mr. Lyle was just that someone with good intentions but his character seemed to be lacking the right judement calls on several situations. Last but not least are the sweepers which I thought were cool. Sam and Willie were always doing there job just not fast enough. I always wanted to be a sweeper myself. If I had the job Jarod would of been caught by now but im not that bad of a guy. I hope there is a last tv-movie to sum up everything and put the whole Pretender thing to an end. Hopefully will see all Jarods questions get answered.
  • This series was cancelled before it could reach its full potential.

    9.9
    This series was a very unique creation which spotlighted the horrific occurrences surrounding the “Centre”; more specifically surrounding the “Pretender Program” and a one-of-a-kind-genius named Jarod. Though Jarod was always the main character, the story line allowed the viewer to see (and feel) that in actuality the “Centre” stole from everyone. It was a proverbial black hole; no emotion; faceless; darkness! It was the epitome of despair. The highlight of each episode was Jarod’s calling card, which was dispensing “like justice” for “like crime“. One example of this dispensation was in Season 2 Episode 14 “Amnesia (a.k.a. Unforgotten), when Jarod tied the drug running- murderous-truck driver to the front end of his own Semi-Truck. It was nice to see the episode end with Jarod smiling (behind the wheel of the big rig) and the “jerk-du-jour” tied to the front…screaming into the night. What was hard to watch about the show was the constant agony that Jarod was put through. The actor portrayed the character’s compassion to a fault. His facial expressions imbued the tortured state of the character’s soul; from his constant search for his family to his endless fight for all others in need.
  • A genuine tv classic-full of fascinating writing,excellent stories and compelling performances.This is surely one series from the 90s which should endure.

    9.9
    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).
  • One of the best concepts for a tv show ever.

    10
    Sadly I did not discover this series until TNT was running reruns after the show had ended, but I was instantly hooked. The idea of a super-intelligent human being alone wouldn't make the show that interesting, but they added a mysterious and dramatic past to the star character which made you not only want to watch more, but drew you more into Jarrod's heart. It was easy to feel for the star character and share his emotions.

    With that they added great supporting characters. There was Miss Parker, whose only true annoyance was that she apparantly had no first name, which perhaps matched her up well with Jarrod who had no last name. Then there was Sydney, who sometimes made you wonder whose side he was on until you realized he was on Jarrod's side for better or worse. He simply lacked the understanding of what the Centre had done to bring the boy there. And then there was Broots, the lovable comic-relief who was always good for a chuckle.


    Then you had the villains, and what evil villains they were. There was Mr. Lyle, who seemed to have a taste for cannibalism. He was a man whom you wanted to love because of his handsome good looks but knew at his heart he was pure evil and simply no good. Then when he turned out to be Miss Parker's brother, which never seemed to be proven, it only added a new dark twis on the series.

    Dr. Raines and Mr. Parker were evil as well, though they didn't seem as bad as their evilness seemed to stem from a desire for power. They were still a dangerous threat, however.

    The show continued to grow darker as Jarrod learned more and more about his past, but it only got better as it went. And then it ended when Jarrod got so close to finally finding his mother.

    It's a shame the show ended as quickly as it did. Here's hoping they'll bring it back. Great show with an absolutely fabulous cast.
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