The Famous Jett Jackson

The Famous Jett Jackson is a coming-of-age television series for the Disney Channel. The show is about a boy named Jett Jackson (Lee Thompson Young) who plays a teenage secret agent on a fictional show-within-a-show called Silverstone.

The Famous Jett Jackson
GenreAction adventure
Comedy drama
Created byFracaswell Hyman
StarringLee Thompson Young
Ryan Sommers Baum
Kerry Duff
Gordon Greene
Montrose Hagins
Melanie Nicholls-King
ComposerCarlos Lopes
Country of originCanada
United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes65 (list of episodes)
Executive producerShawn Levy
ProducerKevin May
CinematographyYuri Yakubiw
Running time22 minutes
Production companiesAlliance Atlantis
Everyone Is JP Kids
TV-Loonland AG (Season 3)[1]
Original networkDisney Channel
Original releaseOctober 25, 1998 (1998-10-25) –
June 22, 2001 (2001-06-22)

Premise Edit

Jett Jackson previously lived with his actress mother in Los Angeles, but missed his home and his friends. Longing for a relatively normal life, Jett succeeds in getting the production of Silverstone moved to the fictional city of Wilsted, North Carolina, thus providing jobs to townspeople while affording Jett the chance to live with his father, Sheriff Woodrick "Wood" Jackson, and his great-grandmother, Miz Coretta (whom Jett calls Nana).[2] Keeping in touch with his mother Jules by video link on his computer (though by the third season she also moved to Wilsted), Jett now spends part of his time with family, friends and school, and the rest living the life of a working actor and celebrity. In doing so, Jett often ends up in sticky situations, usually aided and abetted by his childhood friend, J.B., his not-quite girlfriend Kayla, and sometimes by Cubby, Silverstone's wacky special effects wizard. In the second half of the series, Jett's new co-star, Riley Grant, is added to the mix.

The show within the show, Silverstone, is about a spy who works for Mission Omega Matrix (the acronym being a pun on the word "Mom") in order to save the world from villains like Dr. Hypnoto and The Rat. In contrast to Jett, Silverstone has no family, only his mentor, Artemus, and eventually his partner "Hawk" (surname Hawkins) ("played" by Riley Grant). From the second season onward, the action sequences and Silverstone subplots became more prominent.

The relative realism of Jett's home life sometimes gave way to fantasy or paranormal elements, such as one episode in which Jett learns about a shameful incident in Wilsted's history with a little prodding from the ghost of a key figure in the buried scandal. Other episodes dealt with issues in a more realistic and contemporary way, such as when J.B.'s father's family-owned store is threatened by the arrival of high-powered, "big box" competition, and another in which Jett's English teacher, Mr. Dupree, runs afoul of local attempts at censorship of a class reading assignment. Other episodes dealt with such topics as bulimia and the question of whether Jett, with his relatively sheltered and pampered home life, can truly understand or cope with the problems of other African Americans.

The series was followed by a Disney Channel original movie in which Jett finds himself trapped in Silverstone's world, and vice versa. In that movie, he takes on Silverstone's role for real and is able to muddle through while Silverstone does the same thing in Jett's world until Miz Coretta finds out the truth and he returns home and sends Jett back as well. The movie ends with Jett returning to Silverstone's world and helping him complete his mission by rescuing Silverstone from Kragg and then defeating Kragg alongside his hero alter-ego.

Episodes Edit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113October 25, 1998March 14, 1999
226August 22, 1999June 3, 2000
326June 17, 2000June 22, 2001
FilmJune 8, 2001 (2001-06-08)

Cast Edit

Main Edit

Recurring Edit

History and related series Edit

Show creator Fracaswell Hyman reportedly devised the character before casting Lee Thompson Young for the role. Like Jett, Young was raised in a single parent home in the South, and decided on an acting career at an early age. Young went on to write one of the episodes produced for the series.[3]

The series included both young guest stars such as Hayden Christensen, Rachel McAdams, Britney Spears, and Destiny's Child and veteran stars such as Eartha Kitt, the latter of whom played the new coach of Wilsted's minor league baseball team in one episode.[4]

The series ended on June 22, 2001, due to Disney's unstated policy of producing 65 episodes per series.

The show's end theme, "It's Not What You Think," was performed by Youngstown in 1999; the full song includes lyrics from Young. The song was used for show credits in seasons 2 and 3.

One of the producers, Jim Steyer of company JP Kids, would go on to found Common Sense Media in 2003.

Film Edit

Jett Jackson: The Movie premiered on Disney Channel on June 8, 2001.

Syndication Edit

After the series ended in 2001, it continued to air in reruns. The Famous Jett Jackson was removed from the Disney Channel schedule in June 2004. The show briefly aired on ABC Family from December 2003 to January 2004. The show was briefly seen again on Disney XD in 2009.

Critical reaction Edit

Response to the show was generally positive. Laura Fries of Variety, the Hollywood trade paper, noted in her review of Jett Jackson: The Movie that "Young serves as an appealing role model, much like Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy the Vampire Slayer --someone who can fulfill young, action craving audiences without the gratuitous violence. There's a sense of empowerment associated with these sort of roles, and handled correctly, they function as an excellent allegory for the confusing teenage years." Although she mentions "contrived plot devices", she also refers to the series as "clever" and "an extremely entertaining concept".[5]

Awards and nominations Edit

The series The Famous Jett Jackson and its young cast were nominated for Young Artist Awards, presented by the nonprofit Young Artist Foundation, in several categories in the course of the show's run:

1999 Nomination The Golden Reel Composer Nominated
1999 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series, Leading Young Actor[6] Lee Thompson Young
1999 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series, Supporting Young Actor Ryan Sommers Baum
1999 Won Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series, Supporting Young Actress Kerry Duff
1999 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Family TV Comedy Series The Famous Jett Jackson
2000 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Drama Series, Leading Young Actor[7] Lee Thompson Young
2000 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Drama Series, Supporting Young Actor Ryan Sommers Baum
2000 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Drama Series, Supporting Young Actress[8] Kerry Duff
2001 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Movie Kerry Duff (Jett Jackson: The Movie)
2001 Won Parents' Choice Awards Silver Honor[9] The Famous Jett Jackson

References Edit

  1. ^ Craig, Susanne (April 7, 2000). "Alliance Atlantis forms alliance with German firm". The Globe and Mail.
  2. ^ "Disney Channel's Zoog Disney Pumps Up the Action of "Jett Jackson: The Movie" Both On-Air and Online". Disney press release. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  3. ^ Rodil Jr., Neal. "B-Boy the Movie". B-Boy the Neal Rodil Jr. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  4. ^ Yaffe, Samantha (May 31, 1999). "On set: The Famous Jett Jackson". Playback. Brunico Communications Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  5. ^ Fries, Laura (June 6, 2001). "Jett Jackson: The Movie (review)". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  6. ^ "Twenty-first Annual Young Artist Awards, 1998-1999". The Young Artist Awards. Young Artist Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  7. ^ "Twenty-Second Annual Young Artist Awards, 1999-2000". The Young Artist Awards. Young Artist Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  8. ^ "Twenty-Third Annual Young Artist Awards, 2000-2001". The Young Artist Awards. Young Artist Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  9. ^ "The Famous Jett Jackson". 2001 Parents' Choice Awards. Parents' Choice Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2006.

External links Edit