It's Time To Declassify Jake 2.0

The Show: Jake 2.0 (2003-4)

The Concept: A typical superhero origin story where the skinny, lowly nobody is accidentally infected by material that gives him superpowers. In this case, said nobody is Christopher Gorham as Jake Foley, who works IT for the NSA, and the infectious materials are nanobots which endow Jake with physical and mental superpowers (superhuman strength, enhanced vision and hearing, the ability to fix computers with his brain, etc). Infectious Jake is quickly made a special agent, giving the NSA full access to his abilities while they also try to figure out how to remove the nanobots from his body.

Opening Credits Cast: All secret assets within the intelligence community require an entire team to maintain, train, and generally exploit every aspect of their lives, and Jake's team is helmed by Judith Scott as Louise "Lou" Beckett (you know she means business because they gave her a male nickname, yo!). As the NSA Head of Field Ops, Lou commands her Jake 2.0 team with an even hand and an understanding heart that runs her afoul of the NSA meanies at the top. Next in rank is eye-candelicious Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as Kyle Duarte, the NSA agent-cum-Jake-mentor-slash-friend. The medical representative of the Jake 2.0 team is NSA doc Diane Hughes (Keegan Connor Tracy), the ubiquitously bespectacled geek scientist who crushes on Jake while she monitors his body's reaction to his recent upgrade. Rounding out the main cast is congressional aide Sarah Carter (Marina Black) who, as Jake's extended and unrequited object of pine-fulness, also serves as the shapely blonde fly in the romantic ointment between Dr. Diane and Jake.

Notable Guest Stars: Pre-BSG Grace Park as Fran Yoshida, Dr. Diane's assistant; Tyler Labine, who would later showcase his lycanthropic features on Invasion, Boston Legal, Reaper, and Animal Practice, plays Seymour Lafortunata a NSA human intelligence ("humint") phenom; and Lee Majors has a stellar spot as an aging, legendary former spy who belongs to the passé secret agent world of hangovers and Mata Haris.

Why It's In TV Jail: It premiered on Wednesdays in the fall of 2003, and 19 episodes were planned for this UPN show, but only 12 aired in the U.S. (though four additional episodes made it to Sky1 in the UK, lucky bastards!) before it was cancelled in January 2004 due to low ratings. At the time of cancellation, The Futon Critic reported that Jake 2.0 was the least watched drama on any network that season, and also noted that "it held a less than spectacular 68.50% of lead-in Star Trek: Enterprise" on average. Right, because it's Jake 2.0's fault for not snagging ALL THOSE OH SO MANY Enterprise watchers. Regardless, the plug was pulled on Nanobot Boy and, other than irregular syndication play on Sci-Fi and HDNet, not much has been heard from the show since.

Why It Deserves Parole: Because Christopher Gorham is boiling over with geek heat, and I am the Patrick Swayze of not putting such hotness in a corner. Admittedly, Jake 2.0 wasn't the best sci-fi/secret-agent show dealing with superpowers, and it is true that the show's portrayal of the secret workings of the NSA was laughable (OR SO WE HAVE BEEN TOLD), but it was laughable in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Jake 2.0 was a fun show with solid acting, pretty decent special effects, and good stories. In fact, it was such a great concept for a show that Chuck came along four years after Jake 2.0's cancellation, making Jake 2.0 the progenitor of the "nerdly IT guy gets special powers and becomes a special-ops agent" show. Or to put it in geeky Mac-user terms: Chuck is the Snow Leopard to Jake's Jaguar.

Recommendation: Don't waste the time and plastic pressing out DVDs; just release Gorham's special agent hotness onto streaming Netflix and/or Hulu for all the Covert Affairs, Ugly Betty, and Popular loyalists.


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