Sunday, April 01, 2007

Jake 2.0

Thanks to the miracle of TiVo (yes, I finally got one), I was able to leisurely make my way through the 16 episodes of forgotten 2003 UPN series Jake 2.0 when Sci Fi aired them in chunks over a series of Fridays a few months ago. This isn't a show that would have caught my interest normally, but it got surprisingly positive response when it initially aired, and a couple of the main writers, David Greenwalt and Javier Grillo-Marxuach, went on to work on stuff that I liked. It had the reputation of being a fun sci-fi/action show with some clever humor and intelligent writing.

So I actually had somewhat high expectations for this neglected show, and at first I was a bit disappointed. Christopher Gorham is pleasant as Jake, a tech nerd accidentally injected with nanites that give him superpowers. He goes to work for the government, and many of the early episodes are fairly formulaic spy stories, with a superhero twist. Jake's got an annoying unrequited love interest who was thankfully dropped about halfway through the show's short run, and the agents who work with him are kind of bland. But I liked Keegan Connor Tracy as the geek-hot doctor with whom Jake has sexual tension, and there is indeed some humor that shines through the predictable plots.

It wasn't until near the end of the run, and especially in the final four episodes, which never aired on UPN, that the show actually grabbed my attention and seemed like it had real potential and even some depth. Once the writers got away from the self-contained stories and started focusing more on the ramifications of Jake's powers, building up ongoing villains and some serialized elements, things got a lot more interesting, and I felt like I had more of an investment in the characters. Jake's burgeoning relationship with Tracy's scientist, Diane, was handled well, and there were even some good character moments for Jake's boring partner and boss. I don't think the show was ever quite as good as I'd been led to believe (mainly by Television Without Pity, I think), but if it had been a Sci Fi original rather than an old network cast-off (which, really, it probably should have been), I would have kept watching to see what developed.

No comments: