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"The Pretender"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"The Pretender" More at IMDbPro »

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41 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

an enjoyable action series

Author: MichaelM24 from California
12 April 2002

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.

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32 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Extremely Enjoyable

Author: ddenault from Sterling Heights, Michigan
21 January 2003

I did not catch this series when it first aired. My brother constantly spoke its praises, but I believed it would be the usual boring weekly drama.

I was wrong.

On my brother's recommendation, I taped every episode of the show when it ran in syndication on various channels. I have been slowly watching them during the Year 2002 (and now 2003), and after the first 40 or so episodes, I am here to tell you that this show is nothing short of amazing. The characters are interesting, the premise is, if not unique, at least enjoyable, and the subplots make you yearn for more. Just when you think it can't get any better, it does. It's difficult to believe that this show debuted in 1996. Not only has it stood the test of time, but it is better than most of the fare that has been aired in 2000 and beyond.

I am looking forward to the next 40 episodes and the TV Movies, which I hope will be equally engaging. I recommend that, if you haven't watched this program, start from the beginning and give it 6 episodes or so. You'll be hooked.

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33 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Great series!

Author: TruPretender from Sundance, Utah
18 August 2004

The talented Michael T. Weiss is Jarod, a man who can become anyone he

wants to be, in order to save lives, or prevent disaster. In the first season, he escapes from the Centre and three workers, Miss Parker, Sydney, and Broots

are after him all through the series and he keeps going. The series was meant for adults and thus was a success for people over the age of eighteen. Great

action sequences and Michael T. Weiss was very very good as the title

character, coming a long way from "Days of Our Lives" while Andrea Parker was hot and sizzled as Miss Parker, a dark but light hearted female lead. But my

favorite was Patrick Bauchau as Sydney, whom would always be in contact with

Jarod and not let the Centre know about it! Too bad there was never a fifth

season as I would have like to see more!

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30 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

excellent!!

Author: dex-12 from California
13 June 2000

A great series that was axed too soon (though the fourth season was rather weak). Jarod was the type of character we all wish we could be: super-intelligent and the kind who gets the bad guys all the time and does hilarious things to them in order to them to confess to just how bad they are. Man - I wish I could do stuff like that. Too bad Pretender's aren't real (or are they?). We could sure use some of them in the real world (doing good, of course). Let's hope TNT decides to pick up the series and continue it. One of the best shows of the 90s.

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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Keeps you glued to the tube

Author: SpideyTerry from Ardmore, PA
10 June 2001

The Pretender is brilliance, sheer brilliance. Without a doubt one of my favorite shows, The Pretender had a great premise and excellent actors / characters to match. The series is filled with all kinds of questions regarding Jarod's past or whatever else there might be. But each time one question is answered, more are always brought up. That's the really cool thing about this show, it always keeps you guessing.

Taking all this into account, it makes me wonder why NBC canceled it. Ratings weren't to bad, considering the time slot it was in. Oh well, at least TNT picked up the reruns and produced a follow up television movie.

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

There are re-runs among us...

Author: tattooedmunky75 from United States
14 July 2005

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 the Season 1 DVD set. The show consists of a hero (Jarod) who is 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 uses his abilities to seek justice for strangers he reads about in newspaper articles. Part of what makes this series great is the relationship between Jarod and Centre psychologist/instructor Sydney who has raised Jarod from childhood and become the closest thing Jarod has 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. An attempt at a TV Movie "Pretender 2001" was made to give us the answers about Jarod's family but I have yet to find a copy to see how it ends. It's too bad there aren't quality shows like this on today to save us from Reality-TV.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Addictive

Author: Katie from Seattle, WA, USA
30 January 2002

I remember watching this show when it first started (I was in 7th grade) and completely loving it. Then, I stopped watching, I assume, because I couldn't fit it into my schedule. I got hooked again when I saw "Pretender: Island of the Haunted" last December, and now I watch the show everyday on TNT. I just can't get enough of it! Something about it makes you just seem glued to the TV. I don't know why this show was cancelled as it was so great (even its final season), but I am glad that they made a few movies. Hopefully that will continue! New and old Jarod fans appreciate it!!

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The Best Television Show Ever!

Author: (secrets_and_lies3@hotmail.com)
18 January 2003

The Pretender displayed a great many rare qualities which made it GOOD! they are

A) The Pretender was one of the few mystery shows on television B)Unlike the majority of Drama shows, the characters of the Pretender rarely changed their opinions or personalities. C)despite the fact that "the Centre" is the constant evil force in the show, one can never really tell whether the characters (with the exception of jarod) are good guys or bad guys. D)the music is unusual and brilliant

Angelo is the greatest character!!!

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Not a One Man Show!

Author: dedo_girl (w0225418@selu.edu) from Louisisana, USA
1 April 2003

I was so impressed by this show and I only caught it in reruns! Weiss is amazing. He plays so many sides of his character. Parker is wonderfully cast as Catherine. Personally, my favorites were Angelo and Broots. They made wonderful characters.

One thing I especially liked was the fact that 1) There was the definatly good guy, Jarod 2) There was the sometimes good sometimes bad, Miss Parker, Broots, and

Sidney 3) There was the always bad, Mr. Raines

I haven't seen the movies yet, but I bet they are just as good!

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

In spite of its flaws, I wish I could have seen the rest of the episodes.

Author: Victor Field from London, England
15 January 2003

"I'm chasing the Pretender," Andrea Parker assured us the viewers in an advertisement for Sky's new shows some years ago. "I'm going to catch him on Sky One."

Unfortunately for fans of "The Pretender," she never did - Sky ended up dropping it before the fourth and final season (and forget the TV movies), and it's unlikely some other station will get it a la "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Late Night With David Letterman" or other shows binned in favour of "Kirsty's Home Videos" or "Fear Factor." Curses.

Anyway, though this series could be formulaic - this show used to be run back-to-back with "Early Edition," and it always amazed me that the latter could get more inventive plotlines out of its own equally constrictive premise - the show avoided being dire because of its characters and performers. As Jarod, Michael T. Weiss projected a smugness that was off-putting but appropriate for someone who could pretend to be anybody (the air of self-satisfation was in tune with someone who knew he was brighter than just about everyone else), and his mentor Sydney and chief pursuer Miss Parker - what WAS her first name? - were refreshingly free of black-and-white characterisations; this made the show more interesting than it otherwise might have been, though the writing was decent all round.

Thanks to other comments for filling in a few of the blanks (they'll do until I manage to see the final season and the movies). And to Andrea Parker for giving us a character simultaneously ice-cold and red-hot; apologies to Catherine Bell fans, but she was Harm's sexiest partner (too bad she was only in the "JAG" pilot and one other episode).

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