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Herc Assassinates The New WB DramaJACK & BOBBY!!

I am – Hercules!!

I’d like to declare “Jack & Bobby” the season’s most overrated new Sunday night drama, but ABC’s horrible “Desperate Housewives” is still slouching toward its Oct. 3 premiere!

“Jack & Bobby” is a contemporary drama about two brothers, one of whom is destined to become president of the United States in 2041. (Surprisingly, it’s revealed at the end of the pilot which of the two brothers achieves high office.) As with “Everwood,” we must indulge an elderly black man’s leisurely narration, but this time around he speaks from the year 2049, at which point “Jack & Bobby” creator Greg Berlanti will almost certainly (and mercifully) be food for the worms. (It would have been much cooler had one of the show’s 2049 narrators been an alien or a robot.)

What we get with “Jack & Bobby,” I believe, is poor drama and bad television. This show lost me when the Christine Lahti character began disparaging her new boss to a complete stranger – who (surprise!) turned out to be that very new boss! Whoa whoa whoa! It didn’t occur to her that she met the stranger at a party in the new boss’ honor? And that this stranger was the only guy she didn’t recognize? That’s the kind of fresh storytelling for which we’ve been holding out! Thanks again for canceling “Angel,” WB!!

But what matters Herc’s opinion?

The Los Angeles Times says:

What makes this family drama different from other family dramas, and it does not make it all that different, is its framing device … mostly old stuff and situations: a school bully, a new girl in town (different, deep), an eccentric mom, an oddball child. … it is impossible not to regard Bobby as special, because we are told continually by the talking heads of 2049 that he is special …as President McAllister, Bobby will be called "The Great Believer." (I would prefer a Great Reasoner, frankly; the Believers scare the pants off me.) …

Variety says:

the idea behind "Jack & Bobby" is more intriguing than the actual premiere … Buoyed by Christine Lahti's knockout performance … stumbles in only a few places, but the missteps are enough to throw off the delicate balancing act … the idea of getting to know the great man as a boy doesn't fully congeal. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… promising … both dramatically fulfilling and thought-provoking … Christine Lahti, who portrays their mother, Grace McCallister, again demonstrates her ability to find nuance and texture in every character she plays. …

TV Guide, clearly forgetting that “Angel” and “Gilmore Girls” aired on the WB after “Felicity,” says:

… beautifully acted and evocative … we haven’t been so captivated by a WB drama since “Felicity.”

9 p.m. Sunday. The WB.

I am – Hercules!!

Looking for bumper stickers, plush toys and girls’ underwear covered with cartoon double-amputees? Visit The Herc Store!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 12, 2004, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Herc- what the hell?

    by ryLRci

    Everyone and their mother has seen this pilot and I've seen Desperate Housewives as well. What the hell is wrong with you? These are two of the best shows of the fall season. And if you're going to "assasinate" the pilot, why don't you tell us why you hated it (no, a scene you didn't care for with Lahti doesn't count). Jack is great because it's intriguing and not typical teen slosh. It has depth and emotion, and besides- it's a freakin' pilot- there are supposed to be kinks. Obviously JJ has obstructed your knowledge of good TV. Not that Lost isn't great (it is), but it's not the only show out there.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 2:46 a.m. CST

    If this was a sci-fi show, then I could understand narration by

    by Grabthars_Hammer

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Sheesh, someone's bitter at the WB

    by chrth

    LET IT GO, DUDE. Just because Angel is no longer there doesn't mean every single show that follows is going to be crap.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 10:06 a.m. CST

    I agree with Herc

    by somethingreal81

    I've seen both Jack & Bobby and Desperate Housewives and agree that they're really overrated. But at least DH is kind of fun; J&B is just boring and pretentious. Enjoy.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Does anyone really listen to TV Guide reviews?

    by RenoNevada2000

    They're a bunch of gladhanding askiss-o-ramas as they don't want to piss off the industry that provides them with filler for their little mag. If JJ Abrams were to air a show that featured nothing but an hour long shot of a turd floating in a bowl they would praise the "the long, slow, masterful build up of suspense to the climactic flush." TV GUIDE is the STARLOG of television journalism.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Welp, there is always Angel. Oh wait! Nevermind. What about Ch

    by Judge Briggs

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 12:50 p.m. CST

    At least they didn't name it "George and Jeb"

    by Voice O. Reason

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 1:55 p.m. CST


    by hebrokeaway

    Everwood is better than people give it credit for. I understand people not liking Greg Berlanti for Dawson's Creek and this Jack and Bobby (I didn't like the pilot). But Everwood's showrunner (Rona Mitra, I believe) found the right balance between drama and comedy in the second season. All of the characters grew past their cliche first season stories. The voice-over narration is a bit much, but they're losing it next year. I can't wait for the new season.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 3:26 p.m. CST


    by slicksean36

    Okay...Herc I agree with you on a few of your raitings for things, I mean your liking for Alias and Lost is what really makes me like your stuff here but I watched The Jack & Bobby pilot on the AOL On Demand thing and its actually pretty damn good I don't see any overrated-ness about its from Greg Berlanti who already has/had two hit shows on The WB (Dawson's Creek & Everwood) I can see this one working too...As for Desperate Housewives, I don't like the fact its on Sundays at 9 (its like its invading Alias' territory) but i saw a preview for that and it doesn't look half bad either but I can see J&B doing 10x better

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 4:16 p.m. CST

    off topic

    by joe brady

    What the fuck do people find attractive about Naomi Watts? All I see is ribcage and pelvic bones. Ow! How does Heath Ledger manage not to lacerate himself on her sharp angles?

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Thank God for Herc

    by AllHailASP

    Many thanks to Herc for rightfully eviscerating this overrated dung heap. How frightening that the WB (and many foolish critics) actually consider J&B the Frog's first step towards "maturity" (apparently read: stifling, overblown tripe). Guess the overwhelming brilliance of GILMORE GIRLS is doomed to wear the scarlet For Teenage Girls Only letter on its chest forever, even though its marvelous storytelling is always catering to an infinitely more sophisticated audience than Berlanti could ever dream of. The saddest thing to me is that J&B pilot co-scripter Vanessa Taylor actually has a few very strong S1 ALIAS' to her name.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Everwood losing its narration?

    by Captain Comet

    The naration at the begining (and sometimes end) is the best part. Like the Valentines day episode? or the episode where Irv had his heart attack?? there was some nice forshadowing by the fact that he didn't do the narration-- it made you wonder. I personally feel it adds a depth to the show, which i personally like.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Fred And Barney- The Early Years

    by Uncapie

    Yabba, dabba doo.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 8:17 p.m. CST


    by Spaz Medicine

    Very good writer (wrote novels THE MILLIONAIRES, THE ZERO GAME, etc.) who created this show and apparently wrote some episodes(s) of this, but yeah... this looks very interesting.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Angel is Gone. Get Over It

    by The Funketeer

    I might respect your opinions a little bit more if you stopped whining about Angel every damn time you reviewed something.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Oh boy...

    by Aeon X

    Maybe if the show had actually been President McCallister in the future, a sort of sci-fi West Wing, then maybe the show might have been interesting.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 10:20 p.m. CST


    by Zulithe

    I saw it tonight and I liked it. Moan all you want about Angel, I thought it was crap just like Buffy. I never liked the acting, plots OR the portrayal of Vampires. Oh, and the jokes were cheesy. Jack & Bobby did use SOME recycled material, but it's nearly unheard of to find a show that hasn't. The characters and events were believable and entertaining. I liked the format and will be checking it out in the future.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 10:37 p.m. CST

    Wow, Herc...did you even watch it?

    by The Llama

    Or did you just watch the one clip? Must have, or you wouldn't have made the revealing comment that the whole movie is narrated by an elderly black man. Not to mention the ignorance in assuming that every professor who works at a college or university is somehow magically aware of who all of his/her colleagues are. What a stupid assumption.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Jack and Bobby: A noble effort, but predictable none the less

    by Electric_Monk

    The pilot had some good'm thinking...well, there Anyway, it was nicely acted by the young Logan, but there was two over wrought performances from Matt Long and Christine Lahti, who I must admit, have never liked. And she was an idiot not realize the guy she was talking to was the Whore she had been bitching about before going to the party (ooh, and are we going to get a predictable love/hate relationship from them? Raise your hands here). I also kind of figured out who all the people were talking about in 2049, so it was no shock, no revelation. The only thing it proves is that girls go for the geeky guys. Jack may have won the genetic lottery in looks, but it was obvious he was too way into himself. Jack is like all guys who know they are good looking, and he's going to end up with some blond bimbo who thinks the same way. Anyway, while I was sort of disappointed at its predictability -heaven forbid someone attempt to deliver something original - I did like the kid playing Bobby. His performance -and I've read some where that the actor is so smart he is considered a prodigy- is worth a look. However, the show is going to need to get beyond the conventional and is going to need more humor if I'm going to watch. Besides, don't trust any family that does not have a TV. That just screams freaks.

  • Sept. 12, 2004, 11:34 p.m. CST

    "I never liked the acting, plots OR the portrayal of Vampires."

    by Voice O. Reason

    Because, you know, vampires in real life act nothing like they did on those shows.

  • Sept. 13, 2004, 12:52 a.m. CST

    J&B: A dewey-eyed schmaltzarama

    by Jim Jam Bongs


  • Sept. 13, 2004, 1:09 a.m. CST

    The West Wing did it better

    by Fantomex

    The few flashbacks of Barlet as a young man in the Season 2 finale were better than this entire show (and those young bartlet scenes weren't even that good). And the fact you didn't know which brother became president was one of the few things this show had going for it...

  • Sept. 13, 2004, 4:40 a.m. CST

    too soon to tell

    by Dr Farragammo

    I don't think I have ever enjoyed the 1st episode of a show,with one notable exception :Twin Peaks, and after one season, it went to hell in a handbasket. I definately enjoy Meltzer's work on DC's Identity Crisis, so I checked it out on that reason alone. Wasn't great ,didn't suck, and not really my kind of drama anyways, but by no means awful. But many of my fave shows (24,Seinfeld,6 Ft ,Sopranos,Curb,Ali G,Shield) all had pilots that didn't get me going. It takes time to get aquainted to the characters, and a rhythm going, before I'm hooked. but compared to the only other new show I saw this year (Entourage), Jack&Bobby are champagne to that show's shit. But neither have the genius of MXC!!

  • Sept. 13, 2004, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Two reasons to watch Jack and Bobby

    by thebigcrazy

    Jessica Pare's mind boggling bigger then Lindsay Lohan's boobs...

  • Sept. 13, 2004, 4:32 p.m. CST

    i just wanna know...

    by Gengar

    now that we all know that lil' bro bobby becomes president, i just want to find out how jack boy dies

  • Sept. 13, 2004, 7:47 p.m. CST


    by cooper2000

    I watched it last night and there were just too many contrived moments to keep me watching even with the hunky lead boy. I am sure Teen girls will flock to this but, yes, it is overrated. I want Angel back.

  • Sept. 14, 2004, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Voice O. Reason

    by Zulithe

    "Because, you know, vampires in real life act nothing like they did on those shows." Voice of reason indeed! *snore* The entire Buffy mythos is a spinoff of one of the worst vampire movies in history. THAT is what I'm talking about. Vampires done RIGHT in mass media are what you see in Blade or Interview with the Vampire. Ya know, some ex roomates of mine thought Buffy and Angel were great shows too. But they also watched professional wrestling religiously. I think that is very telling. I think Jack & Bobby is a decent show and should not be compared to the likes of Angel. Instead, compare it to One Tree Hill or shows in similar categories. Even The West Wing.

  • Sept. 14, 2004, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Well, maybe it's a black robot or a black alien...

    by Christopher3

    But no matter, because in 2049, the president will still be an "upper" middle-class white man. Will we get to see a whoring/coke-snorting phase?

  • Sept. 14, 2004, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Friggin awful

    by LyranFan

    Way too over dramatic. And to spoil the surprise - that would probably been the only hook to watch for all season - which one becomes president.

  • Sept. 14, 2004, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Lots Of Potential

    by cryptmagic

    I brisked through the show the first time. I decided to watch it again, on my tivo with out skipping anything. It could of been a good show, but they really blew it. 1. So there half Mexican, no big deal. 2. Jack dies later wtf? Ah come on it killed the movie. Some people like jack more, then to know jack dies in his 20's? 3. Then bobby marries courtney later on, and her future self is ugly. I thought some opinions were to negative, but after finding out jack dies, and the whole thing revolves around bobby, some nerdy kid.

  • Sept. 14, 2004, 9:32 p.m. CST

    In all fairness, Herc, the woman is stoned off her ass ...

    by Lou C.

    ... so you must forgive her if she can't connect the tired plot device. I wanted to like this show more than I did. It was trying too hard and laying everything on too thick. Almost completely humorless, too, and the older brother isn't a very good actor. All in all, a huge disappointment with an intriguing premise. BTW, Christine Lahti is still kinda hot years - and I mean YEARS - removed from that cinematic masterpiece "Gross Anatomy."

  • Sept. 15, 2004, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Devilcat, you crack me up somethin' fierce

    by Almost Sexy

    The "average viewer of the WB" is more likely to think that Jack and Bobby is some spin-off bastard hybrid featuring Jack Tripper from "Three's Company" and Bobby Ewing from "Dallas" than even knowing there was a President Kennedy. It's nice to see someone being so optimistic though. The only thing I liked about the show was that they let the other shoe drop (so to speak) regarding which of the brothers would become President, as it was so blisteringly obvious from about ten minutes in that it would have been quite embarrassing for both the makers of the show and the viewing audience to sit through more than one episode's worth of "suspense" regarding that issue....

  • Sept. 16, 2004, 12:22 a.m. CST

    So in the 2040s we'll still be electing WASPy, male-model lookin

    by truthseekr1488

  • Sept. 16, 2004, 5:33 p.m. CST

    go to the WB bio page

    by PlantBoy!

    and tell them how much you love Jessica Pare's tits.

  • Sept. 17, 2004, 1:27 a.m. CST

    Please stop with the Angel angle!

    by Cheif Brody

    Look...J & B isn't even in the same ball park as Angel. But it's also not "replacing" Angel, either. That comes next WB Wednesday with the premiere of "The Mountain" at the old Angel time slot. "The Mountain" comes via McG and is "The OC" on ice. It's actually more "Melrose Mountain" than "OC" but you get my drift. THIS is the show The WB traded Angel for. The Sunday 9pm J & B actually replaces "Tarzan", and before that "Black Sash", and before that...oh yeah..."Angel". Welp, I guess you got me there!!

  • Sept. 17, 2004, 11:07 a.m. CST

    oh please

    by demian

    it seriously wasn't that bad. i think herc is just bitter that angel is no longer on. the show's got a great premise, and the acting was a lot better than average.