Jarod is a Pretender-a genius whose exceptional intelligence allows him to assume various identities at will, be it doctor, test pilot or lawyer. Taken from his parents at an early age, Jarod was brought up in the Centr... more »e, a think-tank facility where he believed his computer-like mind was being used to benefit mankind. But when he learned the simulations he solved were being sold to the highest-bidder no matter what their intent, Jarod escaped. Now on the run, Jarod embarks on a search for his true identity while also attempting to balance out any wrong his simulations have caused by helping people who are as powerless as he once was.« less
Jean W. from JORDANVILLE, NY Reviewed on 11/27/2017...
am enjoying this series and have ordered season 2
Rachel M. (Angelsgirl) from WILLOW SPRING, NC Reviewed on 9/8/2015...
I was so excited to rediscover this series. I made it all the way through this first season in a very short time. I cannot wait to get on to the next season. What fun and it is always interesting to see what Jared is going to become next.
One of television's best shows.
Michael A. Brown | Salt Lake City, UT USA | 03/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classified as a drama, "The Pretender" never took itself too seriously. Classified as a science fiction show, "The Pretender" never quite fit the mold. Classified as great television, "The Pretender" lives up to it's billing.
Michael T. Weiss plays Jarod. Taken as a young boy from his family, Jarod is trained by the shadow organization The Centre to be a Pretender. Basically, he plays out scenarios for his captors. Putting himself into the mind of the people he's forced to emulate.
The series begins with the adult Jarod having escaped the Centre. His mission is simple, help those who need help while avoiding being recaptured. All the while, Jarod flashes back to his Centre simulations by means of the extensive video archive they kept on him. At any given time, 3 to 4 actors portray Jarod as he comes of age in these archives.
He is tracked relentlessly by Miss Parker (Andrea Parker). She, along with tech whiz Broots (Jon Gries) and Jarod's Centre father-figure Sydney (Patrick Bauchau), are thwarted by Jarod week-in and week-out. But Parker is driven and focused, even if Sydney is less than enthusiastic about returning his charge to the Centre.
Missing in this first season are many of the great elements which would follow in seasons two through four. But the groundwork is laid here in excellent fashion. It starts here as more of a "Fugitive" type chase. To say much more would spoil the fun of discovering this excellent series.
There is a childlike glee in Weiss' early portrayal of Jarod. His discovery of Pez and ice cream for the first time is priceless. Parker is vicious, driven and sexy as can be right from the start. Broots could easily have been the prototype for "Alias" tech guy Marshall Flinkman. Bauchau gives Sydney a calm in the eye of the storm feel.
Available for the first time on DVD in the US. The series has been available in France for about two years now."
You won't have to pretend to like this show
Robin Orlowski | United States | 12/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series is a new twist on James Bond. Instead of battling the Russians or international terrorists, our secret agent man battles a private corporation who is eager to control others, and wants to begin by regaining control of his mind which they illegally had when he was a youth.
Michael T. Weiss plays Jarod (last name never given), a boy genius who was taken from his parents by the equally mysterious The Centre.
Father-figure Sydney (who had trained Jarod during his time at The Centre) and The Center employee Miss Parker (Catherine Parker) are hot on his trail---or so they think. Somehow, Jarod always manages to escape their clutches, and reminds them of their ultimate inability. Because it is done with playful teasing, he is not trying to be mean.
Weiss is wonderful to look at, and he conveys the right balance of intellect and naiviete which was needed to make this series the smash hit it became. Jarod only discovers wheel of fortune, easy cheese and silly putty as an adult, and has his first sexual encounter in episode 14 "Ranger Jarod" when he poses as a park ranger.
Jarod's childhood exploitation had also robed him of the pop culture experiences which are taken for granted by many `normal' people---including those whom he helps out. In addition to helping people, the series episodes regularly show Jarod's initial interactions with commercial products such as Silly Putty and Cheese Whiz. Weiss convincingly projects this delayed sense of discovery without himself actually appearing ignorant or dense. "
Yes, he's the great pretender...
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) can pretend to be anything; doctor, lawyer, tinker, tailor, solider, spy it doesn't matter. His superior intellect and chameleon like ability to inhabit any role he wants. What drives Jarod is the search for his past and wanting to escape his present. As a child Jarod was abducted by a mysterious organization called "The Centre" which uses people like Jarod for their own insidious means. Jarod escapes but is pursued by Sydney (Patrick Bauchau of "Carnivale") and Miss Parker (Andre Parker from "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." and "ER"). While on the run Jarod helps those less fortunate than himself as he takes on new identities in every episode. Michael T. Weiss' droll performance and the multiple storylines keep "The Pretender" entertaining and involving.
Fox does another stellar job with a sharp transfer. The stereo sound comes across with nice clarity. Since this series was produced before many shows were done in the surround format, there's no opportunity to take advantage of the format. The economic decision to put this out on four dual sided dual layered discs may have brought the price down so that the Fox could include a featurette and commentary tracks but it also makes these discs highly more likely to become damaged with wear and tear over time. The discs are packed with two each in a single container facing each other. While both are slightly recessed in the slimline packaging, it's very likely that the discs will come into contact with each other and become scratched. I'd suggest purchasing 2 additional slimline cases so that you only have one disc in each slimline holder. It'll better protect the set. Given the care in the transfers, extras and commentary tracks, I'm disappointed and surprised that Fox would take such a short cut as it doesn't reduce the overall production cost all that much nor does it increase the price significantly either.
The three part "Making of" featurette is the highlight of the extras included here. Spread over four dual sided dual layered discs, the three part featurette focuses on the creation of the series, casting and performers that ultimately inhabited the roles adding and expanding on them. Featuring lots of interviews with the writers/producers/creators and many of the actors from the series, it's a nice trio of featurettes. My only complaint is that you can't watch them all as one featurette because they are spread out over all the discs. We also get the original TV spots advertising the show as part of the extras.
A number of episodes feature commentary tracks but the best is on the season finale two-part episode. "Dragon House" features creator/writer/producer Craig W. Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell, director Fred Keller and actor Jon Gries. We discover, for example, that actor Weiss was the only choice for the show because he could embody both the child-like wonder of the character and the darker elements that haunt him from his past.
A marvelous series that, despite it's dark tone, kept audiences guessing "The Pretender" looks marvelous on DVD and appears intact. I didn't notice any editing or music changes like I've seen with other popular series. The packaging is another matter entirely and, although it's likely it won't be changed for later seasons, it should be. While I didn't mind the slim line sets all that much to begin with I do mind the dual sided dual layered discs packaged this way. It increases the likelihood of damage to the set.
T. Dugan | Oklahoma City, OK | 03/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, The pretender has hit the DVD section. I have every episode copied on VHS but it is nice not to have to fast forward through commericals. The only down side is the double doing of the DVDs. They use both sides and the extras suck royaly. I am hoping that as the DVDs and the story progress, the extras will get better. I am personally hoping for a walk through Centre and even a map of Jarod's journeys. They used to have a lot on the website and the DVDs would be the perfect place for all that great knowledge."
A most underrated but highly thrilling series
sinisterLemon | Edmonton, AB Canada | 01/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the brilliant gems that came on the heels of the X-Files in the mid-nineties but never seemed to get the respect it deserved. Essentially about a man on the run, the concept of this series is deceptively straightforward. The fun of it all, however, is that you get to see a new situation every week as our hero, Jarod, takes on a new identity every week in his attempts to outwit his pursuers as well as help those he meets. Intensely plot driven, the excitement builds as Jarod is constantly fleeing his hunters but also needs them in order to solve the mystery of his missing family, as well as the purpose of his childhood abduction. Great entertainment all around."