By Dave B.
I’m going to share three widely known facts with you: First, emus are terrifying creatures. Second, Timecop is better than Looper. And third, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s entire acting career was a cover for his secret agent activities. Now you know the premise of Amazon’s Original Series Jean-Claude Van Johnson. It’s wild, wacky, and wonderfully compact. I loved it.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson hit all of the right notes for me. It’s stupid funny, yet endearing. It doesn’t take itself at all seriously , but it addresses some serious issues in a respectful way. And with six 30-minute episodes, it’s the perfect length to binge watch in a day and still have time to do other things. It helps that Van Damme is a likable character who experiences personal growth throughout the show. And the fact that his movies were a major feature of my childhood definitely predisposed me to stick with the show beyond its marginal first episode. Combined with the inclusion of Phylicia Rashad as an integral character, there was little chance that I wouldn’t like this show.
Despite how much I enjoyed it, I definitely see how a lot of people wouldn’t. For starters, viewers who are under 30 years old or so may have little to no knowledge of Van Damme. That would eliminate at least 50% of the humor in the show. People who aren’t fans of any of Van Damme’s movies likewise should steer clear. I also think it would be fair to criticize some of the running jokes for being overly repetitive, however for me, the jokes went through the shadowed valley of repetitiveness and re-emerged into the full light of being ridiculously funny again. But I admit, my sense of humor can tend towards the stupid and absurd at times. If you don’t share that trait, I imagine that Jean-Claude Van Johnson could quickly bore you.
As I‘ve hopefully made clear, I really liked this show, so if you’ve ever read any of my television reviews, you probably can guess what I’ll say next: Jean-Claude Van Johnson was cancelled after only one season so there won’t be any new episodes. Despite that, the show is definitely worth checking out, particularly for fans of Van Damme and 1980s and 90s action movies.