American spy Jack Stiles is sent by Thomas Jefferson to the tiny East Indies island of Palau Palau, where he teams up with British agent and inventor Emilia Rothschild to thwart the efforts of Napoleon and France in that region of the world. While acting as Emilia's man servant, Jack dons the mask garb of the legendary Daring Dragoon and fights the local French governor as well as thwarting various other schemes against America.
Jack of All Trades
, starring Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead
) as Jack Stiles, and Angela Dotchin as his supervisor, Emilia Rothschild, is a campy, post-Revolutionary War-era comedy series that's fun because it's so bizarre. In each of the twenty-two episodes, Jack and Emilia, hired by Thomas Jefferson as undercover spies, fight French Imperialism while encountering history's greatest political celebrities. In a dynamic reminiscent of Moonlighting
, Emilia's feminist savvy for espionage is repeatedly undermined by Jack's dumb-but-sweet naïvete. Their brains and brawn combo is unbeatable, as they continuously foil conquest plans hatched by French Governor Croque (Stuart Devenie) and his cousin, Napolean Bonaparte (Verne Troyer, a.k.a Mini Me). No one is sacred in this series: French plans for takeover are always obviously revealed in one idiotic swoop, as if the Governor and Napolean are The Joker and The Penguin in vintage Batman
episodes. Jack, master of one-liners like, "Beat it turkey, Im having Thanksgiving," pokes fun at America's love of corny jokes. Plots, too, are ridiculous. In "X Marquis the Spot," Jack and Emilia visit Marquis de Sade's "Agony Island" in search of King George's crown. De Sade, clad in absurd red and black leathers, forces everyone to wear leashes and engage in S&M master/slave tactics. In "Shark Bait," Jack and Emilia enjoy a submarine ride in a machine that looks like a giant, Victorian fish, when their sub is swallowed by Leonardo da Vinci's great, great, great, great grandson, Captain Nardo's bigger sub. Scripted fantasy elements commingle with slapstick humor, satire, and physical comedy in this odd show destined for cult classic status. With Sam Raimi as executive producer and Eric Gruendemann and Josh Becker, of Hercules
fame, as directors, Jack of All Trades
got that extra dose of twisted, off-color humor needed to make it a truly original show. --Trinie Dalton