The Checklist: Jean-Claude Van Johnson (S1 Ep1)
What makes a television show great? That is something I was thinking about as I watched Jean-Claude Van Johnson, one of three new half hour comedies that comprise Amazon’s Pilot Season.
1. Does the show have star power?
Sometimes television shows can make people stars, other times stars can make a television show. Jean-Claude Van Damme brings his star power, natural charisma and screen presence in a way fans of his around the world have never seen in Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Van Damme plays the dual role of actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and Black Ops Agent Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Van Damme’s self deprecating portrayal is an example of how the man has reinvented himself in recent years. I loved all the “JCVD” monogrammed items in his home. I also loved all the old school Van Damme movie posters that adorned his walls… it reminded me of the decorating motif I had when I still lived in my parents’ basement years ago. And for those of you still living in your parents’ basement, I highly recommend going with the JCVD look for your living quarters.
If JCVD isn’t enough star power for you, Phylicia Rashad, who at one time was in one of the biggest shows on television, plays the role of Jane. Jane is the agent for actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and the Black Ops boss of Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Rashad is starting to make a habit of co-starring with some of action entertainment’s greatest icons. First Sylvester Stallone in Creed and now JCVD in Jean-Claude Van Johnson. 1/1
2. Does the show have an original premise?
It is rare when a show can be a one of a kind. But I can honestly say Jean-Claude Van Johnson is like nothing I have ever seen before. The blend of action and comedy is done amazingly well. In the first episode, Van Damme is trying to reconnect with a former love interest Vanessa (Kat Foster). When he learns Vanessa will be going on a job in Bulgaria, JCVD decides it is time for Jean-Claude Van Johnson to come out of retirement and he is looking for work in Bulgaria. Van Johnson gets his wish and as a cover, Jean-Claude Van Damme is coming out of retirement too as he’ll play Huck Finn in an action movie re-imagining of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn. The pilot episode was as entertaining as it was ridiculous! 2/2
3. Is the show quotable?
Great shows are almost always quotable. And Jean-Claude Van Johnson had a ton of quotable quotes. I think my favorites would be the one about how Timecop is a million times better than Looper and this gem uttered by JCVD, “No one is going to die, except all the people I’m going to kill.” And I totally agree that Timecop is superior to Looper. 3/3
4. Does it have a great theme song?
Great TV theme songs are a rarity in today’s world but they were once commonplace. Shows like Sanford & Son, The A-Team, Knight Rider and The Equalizer all featured great theme songs. And while Jean-Claude Van Johnson didn’t have a theme song, the first episode was wise in using the theme song from Welcome Back Kotter in the closing credits, which is good enough for me. 4/4
At this point you can probably tell I was a big fan of the pilot episode of Jean-Claude Van Johnson and I certainly hope Amazon Studios moves forward with the show.
But since this is a Jean-Claude Van Damme TV show and not just any TV show, there was one more question that should be asked because it has been a staple of many a JCVD project…
5. Does Jean-Claude Van Johnson feature a bare ass?
The answer to this is yes, and surprisingly it doesn’t belong to Jean-Claude Van Damme himself. 5/5
The pilot episode of Jean-Claude Van Johnson gets a perfect score in my book. Fans of Jean-Claude Van Damme who have been looking for an excuse to sign up for Amazon Prime, you now have that excuse. And if you already have Amazon Prime, do yourself a favor and check out the “Master of the Splits” like you’ve never seen him before!