The Pretender (TV Series 1996–2000) Poster

(1996–2000)

User Reviews

Review this title
65 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
an enjoyable action series
MichaelM2412 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.
52 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Extremely Enjoyable
ddenault21 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.
41 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Keeps you glued to the tube
Op_Prime10 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.
28 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Addictive
Blizzy30 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!!
21 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
There are re-runs among us...
tattooedmunky7514 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.
28 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
excellent!!
dex-1213 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.
37 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Great series!
TruPretender18 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!
36 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One of the best shows ever made!
nordwall-114 December 2006
If you haven't seen it, do it! You won't be disappointed until you realize that the show was canceled much to soon.... Just 4 seasons and two movies...:(

But apart from that it is one of the best shows ever made. Good plot, great actors, many unexpected twists to the story, funny episodes, and sad ones too. A show that one get's addicted too very fast. And there are DVD-boxes of all the seasons and a DVD of the movies is coming in March 2007, so you can watch everything over and over again.... Although the show was first aired in the mid nineties it still doesn't feel old. See it soon!
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Best Television Show Ever!
secrets_and_lies318 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!!!
16 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Not a One Man Show!
dedo_girl1 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!
17 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Suspend disbelief
sublevel2725 August 2002
Yeah, the confessions Jarod extracts would never be accepted in a court of law. There are so many things that can cause one to say "That could/would never happen!". You can't tell yourself that when watching. The stories aren't about realism. They are about the people. They are about justice. Not justice in the Law & Order sense. Justice in that you get to see the bad guys get exactly what they deserve if you the viewer can't dispense it yourself.

Personally, I particularly enjoy Sydney's dignity. He carries himself very well. He's very polite. I would do very well to emulate his composure and civility.

Broots personifies my social ineptitude in authoritarian environments. He's a geek. That's me. The guy's like a jittery squirrel when he's around people that can fire him or kill him.

Miss Parker... I love her. She's such a ... you know, but I mean it as praise!

Jarod. I loved this show before the first episode premiered. I couldn't wait till the first episode because I felt it was about people like me. The character of Jarod, however, as he's written, does set the bar a little high, of course; I can't solve a Rubic's Cube during a brief conversation, but I taught myself to read at 4 by the next year I was reading at the 6th grade level before entering kindergarten. This show is about me, and others like me. We weren't isolated by evil corporations, but by a society that doesn't know what to people like us. Jarod was taught to use his gifts by people who understood his gifts. I've met none who could have ever done the same for me but myself. In one sense, it's too late as certain pathways have already set, but THIS SERIES has inspired me to set out and probe the boundaries of my own intellect ... I've yet to run into a wall.

I also recommend The Profiler, and Good Will Hunting.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The show I thought there never was
vntage_retro14 August 2001
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.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
In spite of its flaws, I wish I could have seen the rest of the episodes.
Victor Field15 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).
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
The Best TV series ever made in television history
ivo-cobra819 July 2007
The Pretender is the best TV series ever made.I love Jarod,he was a pretender who was on the run from The Center,Miss.Parker,Broots,Sidney,Mr.Parker,Mr.Raines,Brigitte,Mr.Lyle and Sidney,he was stolen from his parents and now he is on the run,he search from his past and he helped people,he use his knowledge as the pretender,he use other identity's to help people who were a victims and nobody cares,he investigates on his own to find the truth,to bring back family's who veer separated,he is hunted from his past,from The Center,from Miss Parker,Sidney and Broots,he is looking for his mother,he find his brother but he was shoot and killed from Mr.Lyle and only Sidney helped him,but nobody knows that,except Angelo a boy who Mr.Raines destroyed his mind.I love Jarod he was the only who cares for people,that was the best and great show,i didn't like the other characters,but i love Jarod his journey i love him,how he helped people,this is the best show ever made it deserts legendary status.I'don't know why the last only for season's why it was canceled,why,it was the best TV show,the characters,were great and the show was great,the show get more and more fans and was the most watching TV show,but why did not stand more years on TV,was because the actor's,Baywatch stand eleven years,but this show who was cool and stand only four years,only eighty six episodes were made and two movies,were Baywatch get two hundred episodes,hoe they stand so long i won't to know?I'won't know what happened wit Jarod he ever find his mother,he was ever whit hi's father and the girl Zoe who rescue her and stopped her to make suicide,what happened with Miss Parker she ever get her love of her life,what happened with Sidney and Broots and what happened with Mr.Raines and Mr.Lyle,and what happened with The Center,can somebody explained it's just like it was in the Nowhere Man when Thomas Veil get's the answers they cancel the show and was never explained what happened wit him,or in Two what happened with Gus McClain he ever clear his name and he proved that he gate a twin brother,every that show was great,they canceled why is that,why they did not made a fifth season that's not fair,some boring show's made two hundred episodes and the they stand for ten or eleven years and the best and the cool shows don't.I don't know why they doing that but is too bad for The Pretender it was the best show that it was created,i'watch every episodes and both movies and i'was never bored,every episode was exciting,but why they not filming the third movie of The Pratender and explained the end.I'can say only one thing i'love Jarod and The Pretender.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
best show ever
montana_diane30 January 2007
This program had it all....great character development (not to mention great actors with chemistry, ongoing mystery plot lines, wholesome good over evil scenarios completed in one(occasionally 2)epsisode. Would love to see this one resurrected. We need more TV/Movies like this. There are enough soaps on during the day. Lets get rid of the night time soaps/boob watch stuff. I am surprised that I didn't catch this show when it originally aired. I found it by accident (design?) at Costco when it came out on DVD. After reading the back I though I'd take a chance...it sounded pretty good. 20 minutes into the first episode, I was hooked. When I finally finished season 4 I was a Pretender Junkie. I went looking for more online and found 2 more virtual seasons on FanFic. I'm almost through season 6 and have 2 virtual movies to read. That should get me almost to the DVD release of the 2 real Pretender movies' release on DVD in March. Can't wait. I WANT MORE!!!!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Pretender-the best show I have ever seen
VoyagerSamfan8720 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
By far The Pretender is my favorite television show. Others have come close to it but not quite. One thing I love about this series is its originality. I have never seen a show quite like this one. Jarred is the focus on the show. He is a Pretender " A genius who can become anyone he wants to be" One day he might be a doctor, the next a lawyer. While he was a boy he was raised by a place called the Center and helped projects and went through simulations where he could feel exactly what the person felt and why they would do what they are doing. When he learned that his simulations were given to evil hands-as long as they payed the price-he escaped and began a journey of finding out who he really his and where his family is. While he searches for the truth he helps other people by becoming a doctor or a lawyer. People who were as defenseless as he once was. And while he is helping and searching he is being chased by the center which focuses around three people mainly-Miss. Parker who while searching for Jarred she keeps on digging up her own skeletons as well as the centers skeletons and finding out that she is more connected to Jarred then she realizes. Even though she plays ice queen so well you see different sides to her and realize that she is also human with a harsh path. A human people might even be able to relate to. Then there's Sydney who is Jarreds mentor/teacher. The one who raises Jarred. He cares for Jarred and is protective of him but at the same time he wants him back at the center so he is torn sometimes between his moral feelings and what is the center wants. Then last but not least there's Broots, the ordinary average Joe who gets sucked into the crazy plot after he helps not only track Jarred but dig up dirt from that center that helps Miss. Parker as well as Jarred and Sydney. Through these series there are heartbreaking stories and lines that you just burst out laughing. Each character gets a chance to grow and develop as you learn more about who they are. There are not only those three thats in the show but very important characters like Angelo the impath and Centers "gerbel" who has more depth and more of a story then one might think when first seeing him. Then there's Mr. Parker the weasel that can lie very convincingly, Mr. Raines-my favorite bad guy for both TV and movie. I love his voice and his oxygen tank just adds to the charm. Last but not least there's Mr. Lyles who is also a perfect bad guy- a person you love to hate, and then there is Bridget who sucks one to many lollypops :) overall I love the plot line and the characters development is awesome. I'm only sorry it had to leave so early. There hasn't been another show quite like that one and I don't think there ever well be.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Simply the best!
Stibbert13 June 2005
The Pretender is simply the best show there is! M.T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bachau and all the others makes great actors and their characters is interesting and the plot is full of suspense, mysteries and even some romance and rather touching scenes. The show got it all without being a total mess. You got the stereotypes like Raines. The always evil one. On the other side you got Jarod, the constantly good one. The you got everyone like Miss Parker and Sydney in between, switching from side to side. This makes the show unpredictable and interesting. Some say it's boring because every episode is built up in much the same way every time (you know what I mean when you see it), but I say that gives the show a unique theme or design that makes sure you never get's disappointed, and I don't really notice it that much because you focus much more on the story and the characters then the technical stuff around the production.

Bottom line is: You just got to see it for your self!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
I 'luv' this show
jarodsangel3329 June 2002
I first started watching this when I was in 5th grade and now obviously i am going into 8th and I love this show, I am completely obsessed and b/cause TNT is thinking about canceling the beloved show I have managed to tape and watch almost every episode ever aired and may I say the two movies are exceptional!! My fav character has to be Miss Parker and i also have to say Jarod b/cause he is sooo hot. If anyone wants to talk about this subject, send me a hey on my aol sname jarodsangel33 thanx ppl I luv the pretender as Bridgette would say. srry 4 any typos
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Completely great!!!!
MrLyle17 February 2002
This show is the best I've ever seen and no other show will change my opinion! The Pretender has everything: thrills, action, suspense, horror, comedy ... I wouldn't change anything on it! Unfortunately the show is cancelled. I LOVE IT!!!!! Got every episode on VHS. And I won't miss the movies.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Best Show on Television
DKgamer6421 January 2003
The Pretender was one of the greatest shows on television before canceled by NBC(NoBody Cares). It had more subplots and twists than any of the others. It had higher test ratings than any show since Bonanza and hopefully will continue to live on on TNT. Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of The Pretender 2001's premiere and there are no known plans to make a third movie. Let us Hope & Prey for more movies.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Did you ever see that episode where Jarod made the bad guy confess by pretending to threaten his life?
milliesdad8 November 2001
Hey! Did you ever see that episode of "The Pretender" where Jarod left cryptic clues for Miss Parker, and she ALMOST caught him? Meanwhile, Sidney provided him with information to help that week's victim of circumstances. Then, at the episode's climax, Jarod tricked a confession out of that episode's bad guy by making him think that he was going to kill him. . . .Oh, wait. That's EVERY episode.

Oh, well. Episodic television is nothing, if not formulaic. (Did I mention the episode where Jarod becomes obsessed with some element of pop culture and/or junk food?. . .Or, the one with the "Kung Fu"-inspired flashbacks?)
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Pretender is one of the best tv series I have ever seen!
daygirl6 March 1999
I really love the Pretender. Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bauchau and the rest of the cast are perfect for their characters. The mindgames and the dialogues are very well written. A special salute goes to Michael T. Weiss for his interpretation of Jarod. Michael T. Weiss is one of the best actors I have ever seen and I really feel for Jarod when I watch the show and at the same time I'm impressed by his Pretender skills. Don't change anything guys! You are great!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
One of THE best dramas on TV, well, it was!
helen_carter117 August 2000
Unfortunately, this excellent show has been axed, like many other well written and acted shows on television. Michael T Weiss and Andrea Parker give strong performances with well written scripts that entertain the viewer every week. The premise was that Jarod (Weiss) was a child genius who escaped 'The Centre', an organisation who kidnapped him from his parents and exploited his talents for their purposes. Every episode shows Jarod trying to find his parents while helping people in trouble. A very enjoyable show, The Pretender was one of the best dramas made in recent years with such a great cast.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Intelligent and inventive series.
jerpe13 June 2000
How do you create a series where any story is possible ? Hospital dramas run out of hospital themes, police dramas run out of police themes. Well The Pretender has the unique advantage of being able to have a common thread between it's episodes, the 'Centre's' hunt for Jarod, and a side (or second) theme, Jarod's intervention in some wrong doing. The main characters are so likeable because you feel you know each one of them so well.

I have never found a series addictive before I stumbled upon the Pretender.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
This is the best show ever!!!!
hp-920 February 1999
I totally love this show!!! I have to see every episode and never missed one! I think that it is the BEST show I have ever watched. I hope that they NEVER take it off the air. You have to see it!!!!!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed