Writer: Silvio Horta
Director: Rob Lieberman
Air Date: 09/10/03
Owing an obvious debt to Sam Raimi's blockbuster film adaptation of Marvel Comics Spider-Man, the pilot follows a similar pattern: shy geek who worships girl from afar is granted amazing powers in a lab accident, and must hide them from the object of his affections, while still learning how they work and fending off attacks from new enemies, while still trying to live his life. Considering that actor Christopher Gorham read for the part which ultimately went to Tobey Maguire, obviously Silvio Horta and partners Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo saw the similarities as well. However, what sets Jake 2.0 apart is the espionage (instead of becoming a costumed super-hero, Jake becomes an NSA field agent) which puts the series up there with recent hit spy-fi series such as USA Network's Nikita and ABC's much higher budget Nikita-clone, Alias. And lastly, unlike Peter Parkerwho only had eyes for pretty next door neighbour Mary Jane Watsonwhile Jake puts Grace-Kelly-like congressional aide Sarah Carter up on a pedestal, NSA nanotechnology expert Dr. Diane Hughes seems to grasp what Sarah can't: chicks dig geeks.
The pilot suffers slightly from the too-familiar "superhero origin" premise, however individual performances pull it above average into solidly entertaining. Christopher Gorham is immediately likeable and sympathetic as Jake, and Judith Scott stands out as (initially slightly ruthless) NSA Director Louise Beckett. Keegan Connor Tracy immediate strikes sparks with Gorham, and seems comfortable in the role of Diane from her very first scene. Marina Scott does her best to make Sarah likeable, and Philip Anthony Rodriguez gives Kyle as much personality as he can, given the limitations of the script. Despite all the Spider-Man references, the flavour and tone of the series is much closer to The Invisible Man and Now & Again, and this entertaining action/adventure series plays like an update of The Greatest American Hero meets Scarecrow & Mrs King with a Third Millennium sensibility.
Quotes of the Week:
DIANE: "Um, can I get you anything? Do you want some water or some aspirin or ... valium?"
VAUGHN: "What are you suggesting, Jake? A little bit of show and tell?"
JAKE: "Yeah, yeah. I could do some jumping and some cool strength stuff. I can bend some ... or-or I have great vision. I can see, like, Texas. And I can do stuff you don't even know about. I can interface with computers, totally wireless."
LOU: "Can I offer you a glass of water, a cup of coffee?"
JAKE: "Are you joking? I have millions of these little things running around in my body that might kill me at any moment. I have spent the last couple of days running for my life, getting shot at because of these little things that might kill me at any moment. So do I want a cup of coffee? No, I don't want a cup of coffee. You know what I want? I want my life back."
© Tara O'Shea 2003