the pretender : An Australian Tribute

Jarod, Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots
Articles

The Age Green Guide
The Pretender
Channel 9, 8.30pm

Jarod, the chameleon-like genius pursued by forces good, evil and indifferent, is detained in Dry River, Arizona, without an explanation. After getting him there, the towns female deputy recieves word that her son has collapsed. Jarod saves the boy's life with a lozenge of Pez, an unusual feat that, understandably, earns him her loyalty and respect, something he needs in abundance as one of the evil forces, believed dead, resurfaces. The drama plods along to a fatal finale, which Jarod's Pez is unable to prevent.
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The Border Mail TV Guide
The Pretender
Channel 9, 8.30pm

While waiting to board a plane Jarod befriends Daniel Falk, 18, an All-American about to begin his first year at university. When Falk laments that he has been dropped from the flight and will miss registration, Jarod offers him his seat. Falk's plane crashes and Jarod assumes the identity of an investigator. Meanwhile at the centre, Miss Parker, Broots and Sydney puzzle over a new delivery from Jarod. The package contains high school lockers and tickets for a school reunion. The three conclude that Jarod wants them to attend and that he thinks their lives are in imminent danger.
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The Age Green Guide
The Pretender
Channel 9, 8.30pm

Cartoonish characters deal with deception and intrigue in this cardboard world of good versus evil, Jarod, the sinister Centre's lethal weapon -- a Pretender who can adopt any guise and profession in a crash course -- becomes a member of the T-14 SWAT team this week to solve the suspicious death of one of it's members. Fans will be more than gratified by the second story line. Miss Parker, the Centre's Modesty Blaise, follows Sydney as he tracks down a former collegue and lover to confront a devastating personal revelation.
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The Age Green Guide
The Pretender: Unforgotten Amnesia Clip Show
Channel 9, 8.30pm

The Centre continues it's ham-fisted chase of Jarod (Michael T. Weiss), the chamelon-like genius on the run from his creators. Something called "the Triumvirate" is conducting a sort of internal inquiry in tonight's episode. Led by a blonde interrogator, likened to a female dog and a persistant cough by one of the agents, it can't work out why Jarod is still free. Neither can we.
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Sunday Age TV Guide
The Highlight The Pretender
8.30pm, Nine

With a decent script and developed characters, The Pretender could be quite involving in a Kafka-esque sort of way. After all, The Centre is as maddenly enigmatic as The Castle and although the leading character, a centre escapee called Jarod (Michael T. Weiss), had not yet awoken to discover metamorphosis is turning him into a cockroach, he does have this natty little trick of transforming himself into any person he wants to be. Tonight, Miss Parker continues her search for Jarod. While he goes undercover with the mob to help a cop clear his name and a good-hearted barmaid make a fresh start, she becomes embroiled in a plot to assassinate the mysterious Mr Lyle, who has stolen computer equipment vital to The Centre's work -- whatever that is. American drama is usually burdened with exposition. Not so The Pretender. The only non-mystery in this show is the way it always ends -- with Jarod standing off in the middle distance, twinkling smugly at the wrongs he's righted. Next week, let's tell Miss Parker where he is.
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TV ZONE Issue 84
November 1996
The Pretender

Status: New from 21/9/96 Network: NBC - Saturdays 9pm Duration: 45 minutes Cast: Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker and Patrick Bachau. Scenario: Former child prodigy Jarod Russell (Weiss) goes on the run from the mysterious Centre having discovered he has been exploited. His empathic abilities allow him to assume various identities and professions as he seeks to keep one step ahead of his pursuers. In the interim he also finds time to right wrongs. Comments: Despite sounding like The Fugitive, indications are that this tries very hard to be original despite a high corn factor (e.g. the pilot has Russell perform a tracheotomy, cure constipation and eat ice-cream for the very first time). Could do well.
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The Age Green Guide
The Pretender
Channel 9, 8:30 pm

Parental guidance is recommended for the first five minutes of this episode. There's no violence or sex or course language. But Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) does put a disturbingly credible case for eating icecream for breakfast and, if the little blighters are watching, it may come back to haunt you. But, after the first five minutes, you only have to worry about their minds. The Pretender is like The Equaliser, Vengeance Unlimited or any of those vigilante, eye-for-an-eye shows, but with childhood baggage. Taken from his family, enslaved by The Centre and force to put his genius to malevolent use, Jarod escaped and now wanders the streets of America, eating icecream, speaking like a man who learnt everything about life from books, and using his gifts to set wrongs to rights. Tonight, Jarod goes Gothic in his search for a teenager who disappeared after the death of her mother. Succeeding where the entire San Francisco Police Department has failed, he follows the trail to the Gates of Hell. It is a nightclub but, given the noise level, is also a place of eternal punishment. Jarod meets a charismatic young magician, Hawk, who exorcises the hidden demons among his following of abused and disenfranchised young street people. But is he a demon in disguise himself? Back at The Centre, Miss Parker looks as she always does, like she's had a humanity bypass. Her sole mission in life is to bring Jarod back. Pretty boring mission, but she eats, sleeps and breathes it. Personally, I'd rather a double-dip vanilla cone with granola sprinkles -- anytime
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