No need for a split decision; Amazon’s Pilot Season has a clear winner.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson opens with this inner monologue from JCVD as an armed guard runs at him in slow motion:
“My name is Jean-Claude Van Damme. I used to be super famous. Perhaps you remember my first starring role in Bloodsport. It is on television… all the time. Or maybe you’ve seen Time Cop, which is like Looper, starring Bruce Willis, but like a million times better.
But this is not a movie and that man is not an actor. He’s trying to kill me, but I’m not worried because I have a gift… I am the master of the splits… or at least I used to be. Fuck.” As he is hit square in the face with a baton after not being able to do his famed split.
I was sold.
I still had no idea what Jean-Claude Van Johnson was about, but after seeing the teaser (and honestly just because it’s Jean-Claude Van Damme) I knew that I would watch the pilot as soon as possible. These first few seconds had me convinced it was already worth it. I didn’t think it possible that I would think that repeatedly over the course of a half hour, but I did.
I won’t spoil the reveal for you and urge you to just jump over to Amazon and watch it for yourselves the same way. Go in without any preconceived notions and just enjoy. Jean-Claude Van Johnson is a genius pilot. This is unique, funny, smart, and well made television. JCVJ looks great throughout its pilot episode too. I cannot convey how much fun this was to watch. I’m not going to ruin the payoffs for you here because that would be a disservice.
I’ve watched the other two Amazon Pilots (I Love Dick and another live-action The Tick), but neither stuck with me. They surely weren’t nearly as entertaining as JCVJ. We’re in a Jean-Claude Van Damme renaissance here people.
Take the survey here and let’s get a full season of this!