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February 3rd, 2007


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04:01 pm - Jake 2.0? More Like The 2.0 Jakes!
In 2003, a year before Veronica Mars hit the scene, UPN aired a show that had nothing to do with Veronica Mars but the fact that it was really good and deserved to be renewed despite low ratings. That show was Jake 2.0. I never saw it, even though I was interested because one of the executive producers was David Greenwalt of Angel fame. But I heard good things from people who did watch. People who, I have discovered upon watching it myself, were left with one hell of a cliffhanger when the show was yanked early. Thanks to SciFi, however, I have made my way through the short-lived series, including three previously unaired episodes.

Is it futile to curse the now-defunct UPN for cancelling a great show, especially when, if they had kept it, they may not have had room to pick up VM?

Jake 2.0 is about Jake Foley, an NSA lab tech who, during a freak accident (aren't they always), becomes infused with nanites. Millions of tiny robots that enhance all his functions. He's the ultimate human upgrade! He has superstrength, supersight, superhearing...I don't think they ever did anything with supersmelling, but he probably has that too. So he's basically the Six Million Dollar Kid, but this is the 21st century, so he has one superpower that gives the show an edge and originality: he can interface wirelessly with all technology. Computers, traffic lights, even espresso machines. If it's controlled by a microchip, he can fuck with it. This is the power that Jake uses most often; sometimes it seems like the show (and Jake) forgets that he can do the other stuff. Which is really okay, since it's a way cool power.

To my surprise, the show reminded me a lot of Alias, what with all the secret spy missions and "hearing things on Echelon" and briefings and undercover, but it makes a lot more sense. Really, once your suspension of disbelief accepts "nanite-infused superdude" into its world, everything else feels pretty darn realistic. You also have to look past the fact that, like, every mission they come up with seems to be tailor-fitted to Jake. "Hey, you're about his/her age! He/she will trust you!" "Hey, could you go in there and disable the security cameras for us? Thanks, buddy!" "Hey, could you go make those guys think you're superstrong?" But that's the way TV works, and I don't care because it's all fun. Besides, it takes 57 muscles to roll your eyes but only 15 to adore Keegan Connor Tracy. And any other hot girl that Jake gets to mack on. There are many! Thank you, television.

The first few episodes are nothing spectacular, but they're just fun. I mean, it's wish fulfillment; who wouldn't want to have all those powers? And the episodes are pretty well written, though sometimes oddly paced, with major twists occurring in the last two minutes, leaving no room for a denoument. It was consistently entertaining and enjoyable, however, and that's worth a lot. Not a bad episode in the bunch. It just made me happy; it was a comfort show.

Plus, the show has a clear visual style, with well-placed slow-motion and fast-motion and an obsession with zooms that makes me think it would have worked better with handhelds. Still, I thought it was notable that the show even had a visual style.

As the show went on, however, it started showing signs of depth, as it explored my pet themes of Finding Out Who You Are and Making the Hard Choices. Jake has to come to terms with his new condition and adjust to being a field agent, and he has to do some questionable things. And he begins to learn that his country does some pretty questionable things. There's a strong arc about the dissolution of Jake's innocence as he struggles with the morals and ethics of what he does.

It's about eight or nine episodes in when Jake 2.0 makes the leap from good to great, and from that point on, the show has a much stronger sense of purpose; it's grown into itself. There are a couple continuing plot arcs that give Jake and Co. some formidable antagonists. And for those of you for whom this is important: there is a classic UST 'ship between Jake and his doctor, Diane, and it's extremely cute and not annoying.

One of the major strengths of the show is a fantastic cast. Christopher Gorham is perfect as Jake, with just the right amount of...well, everything. It's a role that can easily be fucked up if you're too casual or too snarky or too whiny or too clueless, but he's just perfect. Ugly Betty fans should give him a try over here. Keegan Connor Tracy is adorable as Diane, overly protective of her science project/crush. Philip Anthony-Rodriguez is equal mixes tough and kind as Agent Duarte, Jake's partner. And Judith Scott is pretty much tough as nails (yet shows her human side as well) as Jake's boss, Lou Beckett. You grow to love Jake and his team of people who love him, people who will fight the higher-ups when Jake disobeys a direct order for the fifty-thousandth time.

The writers knew the show wasn't going to last more than a season, though, and they had planned out an arc leading to the series finale. An arc that made me say "Holy monkey shit fuck." chaodai explains it here and then OMG POSTS THE OUTLINE FOR THE SERIES FINALE HERE! While I would have loved to see the show go on longer, the plans they had would have made it one hell of a one-season wonder. You couldn't have given them a few more episodes, UPN? Bastards!

So, basically, Jake 2.0 is pretty awesome, and you should check it out. It is proof, yet again, that America doesn't seem to know good television when it hits them.
Current Mood: grumpygrumpy
Current Music: Jets Overhead - George Harrison

(37 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:horsefacehannah
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
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Omg I didn't know about the series finale. That's totally badass. Especially "the two have a burly brawl in which they destroy all of ther show's standing sets." Save them having to do strike! They couldn't have financed six more freaking episodes??? Stupid UPN.

Um. Yeah. Sad. How awesome were the Jake loses his memory episodes?

It just made me happy; it was a comfort show.
That's pretty much the best description of it ever.

So right now I'm watching Odyssey 5 (you know, continuing Gorham obsession). We'll see how that goes.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
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They couldn't have financed six more freaking episodes???
Worse: that arc was going to be three. Right after the last one filmed.

I think my favorite part is that, like, the entire point of the arc is BLOW A LOT OF SHIT UP.

How awesome were the Jake loses his memory episodes?
So awesome! It was The Bourne Identity meets Fight Club! I can't believe that they yanked the show right after "Blackout." That's just awful.

That's pretty much the best description of it ever.
Heh. I love comfort shows!

So right now I'm watching Odyssey 5 (you know, continuing Gorham obsession). We'll see how that goes.
You have fun with that! I don't think I've heard of that one.
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From:horsefacehannah
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
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I think they actually yanked it after the Double Agent one (at least, that's all TWoP recapped), which is a little less evil.

Odyssey 5 is this bizarre sci-fi show on Showtime in, like, 2003 where a bunch of astronauts see the earth explode and then get sent back in time five years to stop it. I actually kind of like it so far, because there's not as much weird sci-fi stuff as you'd imagine and it's pretty grounded (except for that one scene in the pilot that looks like it's from Yellow Submarine). I'll report back, I guess.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
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I don't know why TWoP didn't recap "Blackout," but it was the last one that aired.

Odyssey 5 sounds pretty cool. Just the one season, I presume? A short Showtime season, even?
[User Picture]
From:horsefacehannah
Date:February 4th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
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That's just mean.

And nope, it's twenty episodes. But yeah, just one season.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 04:56 am (UTC)
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Okay, maybe my friend has a bad memory. I think "Double Agent" may have been the last one after all. IMDb says "Blackout" aired in May, who knows where; "Double Agent" aired in December. And the DVD campaign mentions 4 unaired episodes, not 3. So, okay, that's less mean.

Also, dude.
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From:calendae
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
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The two episode amnesia arc was the most awesome thing ever.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
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Hey, it's you!

The amnesia arc was pretty sweet, and I was impressed that they didn't whitewash it: Jake actually remembered what he did during that time. So much angst!

I loved the hell out of "The Spy Who Really Liked Me," though. That's when the show went from good to great, for me. It kicked a lot of ass, and by the end, I wasn't sure right was right and wrong was wrong.
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From:schnappycat
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
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Goddamn UPN. *cries* The last few episodes were amazing and the planned arc would have kicked ass. Thanks for sharing. And I agree that Chris Gorham was perfect as Jake--the best combination of geeky, suave, adorable, charming, tough, vulnerable, smart, funny, etc. He just made him realistic and believable and someone you wanted to like. I fell in love with the character nearly immediately and now seek out all of Chris' projects. And I love the fact that TPTB realized that the Sara character had nowhere to go (or so I assume) and didn't try to force keeping her around. Good call.

I now mourn all over, but at least have a bit more closure.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
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the best combination of geeky, suave, adorable, charming, tough, vulnerable, smart, funny, etc. He just made him realistic and believable and someone you wanted to like.
Exactly! I was very impressed. It seemed effortless. He had to play a whole lot of different emotions, and he never missed the mark.

And I love the fact that TPTB realized that the Sara character had nowhere to go (or so I assume) and didn't try to force keeping her around. Good call.
Ha, I know! I actually liked her okay and didn't think she was so bad. I think the way they got her out was sort of awkward and annoying, but is it a coincidence that the show suddenly improves a LOT once she's gone? I THINK NOT. If only they would write Lana out of Smallville...

I now mourn all over, but at least have a bit more closure.
Yeah, I really like the fact that Jake gets to be...Jake 1.0, but more like Jake 1.5, because he's happy the way he is. As much as I wanted him to have nanite adventures for much longer.
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From:jeeperstseepers
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)
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To my surprise, the show reminded me a lot of Alias...

Aaaand you've lost me.

...but it makes a lot more sense.

Aaaaand you've got me back again.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
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Heee. You should watch it! Christopher Gorham is so dreamy.
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From:jeeperstseepers
Date:February 4th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
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Isn't he, like, 12? For some reason I'm thinking the show's about a guy who doesn't seem much older than late teens/early 20s.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
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He's probably early 20s, yeah. A couple years out of college.
From:mangopickle
Date:February 4th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
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Sunil, isn't it a trifle hypocritical for you ask Ugly Betty fans to get more Chris Gorham in Jake 2.0 when you yourself have been reluctant to try Ugly Betty (which dare I say has been outshining Veronica Mars by leagues, miles and light years in balancing so many delicate plot threads with grace and humility etc.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
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Yes, yes it is. I am shamed.
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From:gymble
Date:February 4th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
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Christopher Gorham? I love him! Maybe I'll check it out.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
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If you love him, you'll love the show, because he's great in it. What do you know him from? I know he's been in Popular and Ugly Betty, and I know you watch the latter.
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From:gymble
Date:February 4th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
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I know him from Ugly Betty and I adore him in it.
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From:schnappycat
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
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He also had an arc on Felicity that was good. I adore Chris Gorham.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
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Ha! I think it's the episode with Laura Harris, myself. But I now feel for all the original fans. This was good stuff.
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From:loopychew
Date:February 5th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
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Although I didn't particularly care for that episode, it has one of the most awesomely kickass moments ever: Jake deliberately not zapping open the gates, specifically so he could crash through it. I think a pulled a muscle at that.
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From:miniglik
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
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And for those of you for whom this is important: there is a classic UST 'ship [...]


*Looks around in bewilderment*

What, really? I don't know what you're talking about. Ships ... important?




You know, I think my parents watched this show. Sometimes they're so cool
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
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Good for them! You can be cool too.
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From:chaodai
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)

thanks!

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for the kind write up - those of use who worked on the show loved the heck out of it, and i thinlk that it shows in the episodes - your appreciation is much...well, appreciated!

i'm putting up a little some-some up on my chaodai by way of thanks...
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)

Re: thanks!

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You're welcome! I was pretty impressed with what I saw. You don't usually find such consistent quality episode to episode. It's very lovable, and it is my sworn duty to make sure others know that such lovable television is out there.

I look forward to this some-some! Is it a mock-up of a satellite crashing into a house? Because just thinking of that makes me awesomed.
[User Picture]
From:peri_peteia
Date:February 4th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
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OH JAKE 2.0

I LOVED YOU SO HARD. And still do.

I have been trying to get Tris to watch this SINCE I WAS IN CALIFORNIA but we keep...NOT DOING SO.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
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I didn't know you were a fan! It is so good! I have been trying to get her to watch it too!
[User Picture]
From:peri_peteia
Date:February 4th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
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Well clearly you never clicked on my Jake 2.0 tag!

I was one of the like 12 people who watched it back in the day. It was like me, taraljc and uhm...10 other people!

But it was good times regardless.
From:bostonben
Date:February 4th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
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Christopher Gorham was great in Popular, so I buy that he's totally great in Jake 2.0. I'm not sure I'll add it to my list, though, since it's currently too long and my stupid firm's 2200 hour requirement is kicking my ass . . . .
[User Picture]
From:boundaid
Date:February 4th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
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I love how now in the back of my mind is......JAKE 2.0 for another season versus me never meeting Veronica Mars. If me never meeting Veronica Mars etched out season 2 and how I gave up on the 6th episode of season three, then I would take Jake.

I love Jake/Diane! I love when they watch TV (it's the pilot I think) and he's all like 'Want to stay a little while?'.

I NEED TO GO MAKE ICONS.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 4th, 2007 06:05 am (UTC)
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I love when she's all "Can you take me?" and he's all THIS IS SO HOT and she's like I MEANT IN BOGGLE.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 4th, 2007 08:14 pm (UTC)
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You can watch episodes of Jake 2.0 on youtube.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:imwalde
Date:February 5th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
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Thanks for posting what the plan was for after it ended, I always wondered! It was such a good show. I miss it.
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From:dahliam
Date:February 6th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
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Sigh...I have a huge crush on Christopher Gorham. And Ugly Betty has only increased it. Who doesn't love a guy who is so willingly plays dorky and it so adorable doing it?

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