The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (TV Series 2000– ) Poster

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Excellent premise, mostly successful
grendelkhan6 June 2003
The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne was a fine series that suffered from a lack of network support and a lack of budget. Despite those flaws, it was quite entertaining. Using a favorite steampunk premise, it imagined a world where Phileas Fogg and Passepartout are as real as their creator Jules Verne. In fact, they, along with Fogg's cousin Rebecca, are friends and companions. Together they work to stop the League of Darkness and other foul villains.

Michael Praed was outstanding as Fogg, now a retired secret agent and gentlemen. He is joined by valet and comic relief Passepartout, played with great aplomb by Michael Courtemanche. Courtemanche was adept with both physical and verbal comedy and made a decent adventurer. He gets a chance to shine in "Royalty" where he gets to perform a dual role as King Carl, ala the Prisoner of Zenda. Christopher Demetral is passable as Verne, but he lacks emotional depth and his performance could be wooden. The real standout was Fancesca Hunt as Rebecca Fogg. She was a sort of Victorian Emma Peel, and carried the role off with style and grace.

Despite the limited budget, the series matched the imagination of Verne. Many of the fantastic ideas from Verne's stories found themselves recreated; from the airship Aurora to the League of Darkness' aerial battleship Prometheus, inspired by Robur's Albatross, no doubt. The designs were inventive, while maintaining the Victorian feel.

Although I preferred the scientific plots to the supernatural; both were carried out quite well. Some of the history is a bit incorrect, such as Jesse and Frank James carrying Colt Peacemakers during the Civil War, but it is a fantasy series.

This is a series I wold have liked to have seen continued; but, I fear it was not commercial enough to be successful. It's a shame really, as the series would appeal to fans of the Wild, Wild West and lovers of the works of Jules Verne. Considering that Verne gave birth to speculative fiction (i.e. science fiction) I would think that the audience would be quite large. Definitely worth seeking out.

Some personal favorites from among the episodes: "In the Beginning", "The Cardinal's Design" and "The Cardinal's Revenge", "Lord of Air and Darkness", "Southern Comfort", "Let There Be Light" and "The Ballad of Steely Joe".
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A delightfully different show!
Lagniappe28 April 2001
"The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" is not a show ruled by conventions. It strays far from the formulaic scripts that seem to dominate network television. After all, when was the last time you saw a show that dealt with rocket-powered Victorian vampires, mechanical gunslingers, time travel and the Holy Grail? Is it science fiction? Is it fantasy? Is it action/adventure? Is it historical drama? Is it camp? All of the above? I don't know. What I do know is that it is refreshingly different.

Granted, Jules Verne ain't Shakespeare, and the first few episodes had more than a fair share of "cringe" and "wince" moments. However, the interesting plots, complex characters and fantastical gadgets kept me coming back. Thank goodness, as the show has done nothing but improve. The characters (and actors) really seem to be hitting their stride. What a combination: The angst-ridden Phileas Fogg; his daring, dynamic secret-agent cousin, Rebecca; the erratic genius/ funnyman, Passepartout and the young, idealistic and accident-prone, Jules Verne. Add escapades all over the globe (and through time) and you've got endless possibilities for adventure!

Furthermore, in a medium which too often relies on gratuitous violence and vulgar language for cheap thrills, "Jules Verne" is one television show the whole family can watch and enjoy without having to worry about R-rated content.

So, if you are seeking something outside the mainstream, something alternately brilliant and cheesy, something both humorous and tragic, something clever, cryptic and occasionally outrageous, this may be it!

This show more than deserves a second season… and a third… and a forth…

Keep the Aurora Flying!
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I am recommending this series because I feel it is amazing, creative, and something the whole family can enjoy together.
DanaanM1 May 2001
"The Secret Adventures Of Jules Verne" is the most creative and visually stunning series I have seen....well ever. The actors are Perfect for their roles: Michael Praed as Phileas Fogg is a man tormented by tragedy and betrayal. He would be living the life of a gentleman of means if not for his cousin Rebecca Fogg. Need I mention that Michael Praed is an actor who can play all the complex emotions that Phileas tries to keep under control and can show more feelings with his soulful eyes than most actors can with their whole bodies. Rebecca Fogg is played by Franchesca Hunt. Rebecca is not a shrinking Victorian Violet. She is the British Secret Service's first female agent. Trying to keep her alive keeps pulling Phileas back into danger and adventure. Passepartout is Phileas valet. He is played to perfection by Michel Courtemanche. This includes not only inventing ingenious if sometimes wacky items that he feels Phileas might need but also doing a wicked impersonation of his master from time to time. And last but not least is Jules Verne. He is played with just the right amount of idealism and eagerness by Chris Demetral. But he is growing up and seeing the world through different eyes. Jules is living the adventures he will write about. Chris is careful not to play him overly exciteable like a puppy but as a young man wanting to know everything he can about the world. Phileas has taken Jules under his wing to make sure he doesn't end up as disillusioned as Phileas is himself . If you want to watch a show that combines the very latest in HDTV technology with creative and lively story lines you need look no further than "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne". It is currently showing at sat. night/sunday morning at 1am eastern on Scifi. But it will be going into wide syndication this fall. Look for it!
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8/10
A wonderful idea carried off with style.
captnemo3 March 2001
There are 22 episodes at the moment, making the first season. How many more seasons there will/may be depends on ratings here and elsewhere. SF Channel started with episode #2- "Queen Victoria & the Giant Mole." The first episode is called "In The Beginning." I hope we get to see it. I am enjoying the show a lot. It's not the greatest, but it's getting better each week. It's sort of "Wild, Wild West" plus "The Avengers" with a little "Dr. Who" thrown in. There are four very engaging characters here, all doing fine work. Michael Praed is terrific as Phileas Fogg. Cris Demetral is good as Verne. Michel Courtemanche is funny and clever as Passepartout. However, the real standout in the cast is Francesca Hunt as Rebecca Fogg, Phileas' cousin. She has to be the most interesting woman on television since Mrs. Emma Peel. Sorry, Xena. Rebecca Fogg has all the class, sex appeal and moves of Mrs. Peel, but is a bit less aristocratic. This is not a knock on Emma, but it does make Rebecca a bit more earthy and enticing. I look forward to Miss Hunt having a long career. All in all, this show is better than just about everything currently on the big 3 networks. Let's just hope that it can build an audience and stick around for 5-6 seasons.
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Wonderful!
Lestrade4225 April 2001
Wonderful! This series is a breath of fresh air to this season of TV. Most networks are too inundated with 'Reality TV'. It's wonderful to see something so creative. The show has a very distinctive look to it and is marvelously made. The actors give top rate performances. I hope the Sci Fi channel realizes what a wonderful thing they have in their hands and keep it going.
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Great Character-Driven Science Fiction
ephian21 April 2001
In the genre of science fiction television that is known for lack of well-developed characters, "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" is delightful exception to the rule. The four regular characters, Phileas and Rebecca Fogg, Jules Verne, and Passepartout, wander the world of the 1860's in Phileas' fantastic dirigible the Aurora. Phileas, played by Michael Praed, is an ex-British Secret Service agent, an adventurer and a gambler, out to enjoy his pleasures but forever being diverted to aid his friends. His distant cousin Rebecca, played by Francesca Hunt, is a nineteenth-century Mrs. Peel, an agent extraordinaire who mixes strength and daring with warmth and vulnerability. Chris Demetral's Jules Verne is a young visionary, a blend of innocence and insight that forges a link with these people who recognize his extraordinary gifts. And Michel Courtemanche brings a wonderful blend of humor and intelligence to the inventive valet. It has humor, it has adventure, it has mystery, it has sexual tension (everyone is attracted to Rebecca, including Phileas and Jules), it has angst (watch for Phileas' reasons for quitting the secret service). It is science fiction with a refreshing nineteenth-century twist. There is a weakness in the early episodes in plot lines, but plots get better quickly. Stick with the series and it's a real treat. And kudos to Francesca Hunt's Rebecca, the strongest and most appealing female character on television today.
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The best show on TV
Iame8 December 2001
I am very pleased to say that there is a reason to watch television again. Say hello to The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. The show follows the adventures of Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg, Rebecca Fogg, and Phileas' servant Pasportux(I hope I spelled his name right) as they face danger at every corner. The show is safe for children, and will still amuse their parents. I recommend The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne to everyone.
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Quite a treat to watch
Tamarae27 April 2001
Meet Phileas Fogg, the owner of the Aruora a fantastic flying ship and employer to a mechanical genius and sometimes vocabulary confused valet named Passpartout. Fogg was Great Britian's best secret service agent. A bitter parting of ways with the organization has him wanting nothing more than the opportunity of gambling in Europe's finest casinos. Instead, he keeps on getting dragged into adventures due to the missions of his cousin Rebecca (England's first female secret service agent) and his friendship with (and mentorship of) the young idealistic writer Jules Verne.

Set in the middle of the 19th century `The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne' operates on the assumption that the events Mr. Verne wrote about in his 50 plus works were actually experienced by him. This is quite a fantastic notion if you think about it. It is also quite a daunting task for anyone who attempts to translate this type of Science Fiction tale on screen. Fortunately, the right people are involved and they give the viewer a unique and different take on the genre.

`Jules Verne' is part Western with a European slant, a historical drama with an undercurrent of Science Fiction, and an adventurous journey into the realm of imagination with some comedic elements as well. This is also a world devoid of computers and modern technology. Even though fantastic machines are present the characters still have to rely on themselves and each other to get out of the situations they find themselves in.

The characters are very well developed and three-dimensional. It is exciting to watch how well they interact with each other. At the core of the show is the meaning of friendship. These people truly care about each other. When one of their members gets into a tight corner the others come to their aid. They are also comfortable enough in each other's company to confide and enjoy a bit of humor at a member's expense.

As for the actors themselves, their display of friendship is genuine. You actually believe that they are friends. One also gets to see how the parts are well played and well thought out. There is such attention to detail from Phileas Fogg's immaculate appearing gentleman, to Passpartout's devoted servant, to Rebecca Fogg's espionage tactics to Jules Verne's sometimes-headstrong hopeful optimism. Each displays their own view on the tales that they participate in.

And what tales they are. There is some genuine storytelling going on here, which is rare in this particular era of television. The viewer finds himself or herself caught up in the episode wondering what is coming up next. Each story is different. Some of the episodes are a bit darker in tone, others a bit lighter and others use a combination of both.

There is also the pleasure of watching the characters interact with real life figures of the times. We get to see Queen Victoria (who is Rebecca Fogg's unofficial godmother), `Three Musketeers' author Alexandre Dumas (a personal friend of the real life Jules Verne) and burgeoning outlaw Jesse James during an adventure out West. This is great for those who like history and enjoy historical novels. It also creates a lot of what ifs and is a great opportunity to create an enthusiasm for history during the adventure that is taking place.

Along with the history aspect we are treated to other elements and some fine action. Phileas Fogg, when necessary, uses a sword and his fists (sometimes his head as well). Rebecca Fogg has a nice arsenal hidden about her petticoats and isn't above hand to hand combat either. Jules Verne doesn't participate in the action as much. He tries to use his intellect to solve the problems. Passpartout, on the other hand, provides some comic relief and gets to invent/create machines that help our heroes out in certain situations.

There is a lot to see and hear with each episode and many layers to unfold. A second viewing allows a person to see the show from another vantage. It is quite a treat to watch.
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10/10
Why I Love This Show
ToneeRhianRose22 July 2007
This show is a really great action/adventure about the Jules Verne stories. I miss it very much and would love to see it on DVD for other people to enjoy. It has a stunning cast which includes Chris Demetral as Jules Verne, Michael Praed as Phileas Fogg, Francesca Hunt as Rebecca Fogg, and Michel Courtemanche as Passepartout. I wish it had gone on for more than just 1 season cause it was a truly great show. If you love Sci-fi shows, you'll definitely love this show. Chris is simply brilliant as the character of Jules Verne. He really brought him to life. There are quite a few clips of this show on YouTube if you'd like to see it, input The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne into the search box. If you like what you see, vote for it at http://tvshowsondvd.com/showinfo.cfm?showID=5491 so that future generations can see this show too.
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Good production let down by poor writing.
wgray-324 April 2001
This is a show I really wanted to succeed. I've been a fan of shows like The Wild Wild West, The Avengers and Doctor Who all my life. And since this show is, in essence, an amalgam of all three, I eagerly looked forward to seeing it. I really wanted it to work.

And most of it does.

The production design, photography and visual effects are very good, especially for a rather modestly budgeted production. And although Chris Demetral is a little wan as Jules Verne, the rest of the cast is top-notch, particularly Francesca Hunt as British secret agent Rebecca Fogg. Hunt's is one of the best-realized performances I have ever seen, an absolutely perfect match of actor and role. As good as they are, though, it's hard for them to get past the cliché-ridden, haphazardly plotted, predictable scripting (particularly by series creator Gavin Scott, who was, as I understand it, deposed halfway through the series' 22 episode run).

This is a show that would probably benefit from getting a few more episodes under its belt. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Despite initially getting a great timeslot on the Sci-Fi channel (right after their most popular show, Farscape) the show failed to garner much of an audience and is now banished to the middle of the night graveyard shift , where no one will see it.
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A journey leagues below the imagination of Jules Verne
briantaves7 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE offers a potentially rewarding premise which remains sadly unfulfilled. Introducing Verne as a young, aspiring writer and inventor in the 1860s (when in fact he was married and becoming a successful author), who meets the actual Phileas Fogg and Passepartout. He shares various adventures with them around the world, transported aboard the lighter-than-air giant balloon Aurora (of course Verne must again be saddled on the screen with a technology he decried), won by Fogg in a wager. They are accompanied by the added character of Fogg's cousin, Rebecca (Franceska Hunt), the first female secret service agent, for whom Phileas has more than platonic feelings. (Unfortunately, Rebecca is too derivative of Emma Peel in THE AVENGERS, and lacks the necessary looks or charisma to provide her own appeal; indeed she looks so masculine that she might be Peel on steroids.) Fogg remains much as the Verne imagined him, with an already mysterious past, intrepid but phlegmatic and reserved, without going to the point imagined by Philip José Farmer in his The Other Log of Phileas Fogg. Phileas is the hero and romantic lead, in a somewhat uneven but appropriate performance by Michael Praed. Fogg initiates Verne (Chris Dematral) into a strange world, where he is short, inexperienced, and frequently naive and in need of rescue. Passepartout continues as comic relief, but is also portrayed as an inventor, which seems an odd combination. The players also evidence a multinational production, with a mix of British accents (the Foggs), with French (Passepartout), and American (Verne). The series was independently produced in an unusually low-key style, and freely mixes fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Unfortunately, despite the myriad of possible links with characters and incidents from Verne's stories, none of these are used, except in an isolated episode on a space gun. The characters are first united in stopping an underground mole moving through the sewers of Paris, operated by a "League of Darkness" determined to preserve the aristocracy and stop the advance of democracy in Europe--goals Verne, and Fogg, naturally oppose. Otherwise, Verne goes to the wild west (where he meets Thomas Edison, Jesse James, and Samuel Clemens), meets a mummy, a castle full of vampires, and a golem. He travels through time in a device created by Leonardo da Vinci, found by Alexandre Dumas, to visit Francis at the time of Cardinal Richelieu. Actual contemporaries besides Dumas do appear, including Nadar and Napoleon III. Unfortunately, little is made of the potential of this historical characters. In no sense is THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE an adaptation, or even an attempt to utilize the possibilities of Verne as an individual. Instead, like another series filmed simultaneously, SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE'S THE LOST WORLD, it is a new variation on the name and its mythic connotations to fit the exigencies of a modern series. Verne's purported exploits in THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE are consonant more with the world of the science fiction genre today, rather than Verne's own imagination. Filmed in widescreen High Definition Television, the clarity of the image is noticeable even in ordinary broadcast, although the special effects themselves are more variable in quality.

The series secured a devoted following of fans, who regarded it not so much as a prequel to Around the World in 80 Days, but as an example of the growing "steampunk" subgenre of science fiction, placing modern science in the context of the past. The show was most often compared to the 1960s television series THE WILD, WILD WEST, with the period detail of THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE was a key part of this appeal. The performers were admired, especially Hunt and Praed, who was especially appreciated by female fans. Fans also expressed the paradoxical perspective that the show's scripts and story lines were its weakest aspect, especially the trite villainy of Count Gregory and the League of Darkness. (Indeed, the whole series is profoundly unoriginal.) Lauding the portions actually derived from Verne's youth, and yearning to instead see more motifs taken from the Verne oeuvre, these sentiments reveal that the decision to take the show away from its ostensible source may have in fact hampered its appeal. Ironically, in disregarding what Verne regarded as essential to storytelling while positing as essential all those elements he eschewed, THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE is a creation that operates as an anti-Verne.
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A Fantastic World of Wonder
vicciv27 April 2001
If you have given up on series television (I know I had), The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne has the power to draw you back to the small screen. It builds a Victorian Era universe that is a delight to the eye and populates it with characters that interact with each other and the world on many interesting levels. You must be prepared to suspend your disbelief upon entry as some of the gadgetry and plot devices will put a strain on it, but it is so much fun inside that you won't miss that silly old reality anyway.

The series is currently broadcast on the SciFi channel at the very peculiar time of 1:00 AM Eastern on Sunday mornings, but come this fall, it can be seen on the WB100+ group of stations, as well as many other syndicated stations. Watch for it. Watch it with your kids. Watch it with your friends. Drag strangers in off the street to show it to them. They will thank you for it.
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a diamond in the rough!
idleslov24 April 2001
I recently became a fan of the Secret Adventures of Jules Verne and although I have only seen 3 episodes so far, I think that the show is one of the best shows out there! In a world of copycat shows, Jules Verne shines like a diamond in the rough! The characters are played exceptionally well. The chemistry between them is electric and the way they play off of one another makes the show fascinating to watch! The plotlines may be out there every once in awhile, but i have never been bored. If you're looking for a show that contains drama, comedy, action, and science fiction, then this is the show for you! I highly recommend it to everyone!
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Excellent
R_Roquelaure23 April 2001
The best series on television today. The minute they put it on video and/or DVD, I'm buying it. It's fantasy, adventure, comedy and drama all in one show and you won't be sorry your children watch it.
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Spectacular Steampunk camp
Mariane5 June 1999
This looks good. High production values pay off, the effects are great, and the cinematography is top-notch. The actors are decent enough, and Courtemanche gets to show off his funny side, to balance with physical humour the camp laugh value of some quite preposterous situations. The main problem here is that the action looks rushed. On the one hand the characters are rather flat, and act in predictable ways, according to type. On the other hand, the story runs from one plot point or set-up to another and there's barely enough of 46 minutes to tell the story. I really don't know which is the cause of which, but I think that this problem might get resolved later on in the series. I've only seen episodes two and three, so I'm still hopeful. However, I think that this is a programme which would benefit tremendously from changing to a serial format akin to that of season 22 of Doctor Who. This would allow for breathing space in the plots and fuller characterisation, while not diminishing the impact and inventiveness of stories.

Still, from what I heard the whole first season is now ready, and if the show remains at least as good as the two sample episodes which I saw, it will definitely be worth-while entertainment.

I only hope that the guest-stars won't overwhelm it.
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