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The Pretender (1996-2000) - how was the directing improved? (5 Viewers)


Feb 10, 2020
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This post is mainly meant for people who own The Pretender's season 3 and season 4 on DVD. Of course, I welcome all friendly people who may be able to help me out. :)

According to epguides.com (http://www.epguides.com/Pretender/), The Pretender aired from September of the year 1996 to May of the year 2000. Sometime after airing in the USA, it was aired in Finland. I was able to check out several episodes from various seasons. I remember liking the TV show a lot. I don't think I found much to fault; maybe just the writing a little. I remember watching and listening to the first episode of season 4. I don't remember anything that happened in it. I don't remember what it was about. However, what I do remember is the start of the episode 2 of season 4: several parts of the intro were redone. I was really impressed. However, at the time, I didn't think much else of it. Only later on did I become curious about how exactly those scenes were able to be made better. Also, to be noted, the intro was already different in the first episode of season 4; I merely was not able to tell until the second airing.

Comparing the third and fourth seasons' intros to each other, I am able to tell the following differences. They are in chronological order.

There are at least four parts that have been remade for season 4: When Jarod says ''I was taken from my family''; when he asks ''How many people died because of what I thought up?''; when Miss Parker says ''He defends the weak and abused''; and finally when some female patient and Jarod are in a hospital, and she asks ''You a doctor?'' to which Jarod replies ''I am today''.

In the season 3 intro, the first part doesn't have much emotion nor confidence. Same for the second part. For the third part - I don't know any of the circumstances nor the episode where Miss Parker says that, but from the third season intro, it is obvious that she stretches the end of the word 'abused'. For the final part, pretty similar as the first two parts: not much emotion and not really much confidence, either.

On to season 4 intro. Part one has a good amount of emotion and a very good amount of confidence. The second part is equally good as part one. Andrea Parker's line is not stretched in this version. For the final part, I can't quite explain it, but it is better. I notice a very good amount of confidence there.

I know of several productions where the quality of acting has somehow changed over the course of them. In these two The Pretender intros, the differences are the most clear. The differences are not only visible and hearable in the intros, but also in the episodes themselves. I believe these differences are because of improved directing, going from season 3 to season 4. However, I have not been able to find any note of this anywhere on the Internet. Probably at least the producers of The Pretender knew about this improvement. Why not let the general public know about it as well? Also, what does 'improved directing' mean in this case? How was it able to be improved? What did the directors of the episodes' do differently on season 4 than on the previous seasons? Why did it take three full seasons before someone noticed the subpar directing and/or was able to improve upon it? (Yes, the directing was the same way for all the first three seasons.)


Jan 2, 2015
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I was a big fan of The Pretender when it first aired. I think the stories improved as the series moved on in the the latter years. I think the changes in the main titles you refer to are more from editing than direction. There was less need to fully explain the premise of the show after the first year. They were able to "tighten it up" and use shorter sound bites with a faster tempo title music. ( I still smile whenever I hear, "You a doctor?" - "I am today" :))

The directors for all 4 seasons stayed mostly the same. With James Whitmore Jr., Chuck Bowman and Fred Keller doing a large majority of the episodes.

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