The Famous Jett Jackson
|The Famous Jett Jackson|
Lee Thompson Young as Jett and Kerry Duff as Kayla
|Created by||Fracaswell Hyman|
|Starring||Lee Thompson Young
Ryan Sommers Baum
|Country of origin||Canada
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Alliance Atlantis
Everyone Is JP Kids
Disney Channel Original Productions
Buena Vista Television
|Original network||Disney Channel|
|Original release||October 25, 1998– June 22, 2001|
The Famous Jett Jackson is a joint Canadian and American coming-of-age television series for children about a boy named Jett Jackson (Lee Thompson Young) who plays a teenage secret-agent on a fictional TV show-within-a-show called Silverstone.
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 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). 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, Dr. 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 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 Coreta 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.
- Lee Thompson Young as Jett Jackson/Silverstone
- Ryan Sommers Baum as J.B. Halliburton
- Kerry Duff as Kayla West
- Gordon Greene as Woodrick Jackson
- Montrose Hagins as Miz Coretta
- Melanie Nicholls-King as Jules Jackson
- Jeffrey Douglas as Cubby
- Lindy Booth as Riley Grant/Hawk
- Nigel Shawn Williams as Nigel Essex/Artemus
- Robert Bockstael as Mr. Dupree
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.
The series included both young guest stars such as Hayden Christensen, 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.
Although it was well received and regarded as a success, the series ended on June 22, 2001, allegedly due to Disney's unstated policy of making only 65 episodes per series. The series was in re-runs on Disney Channel from June 23, 2001 to June 2004 at 12:30 A.M. E/P.
In August 2013, lead actor Lee Thompson Young was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jett Jackson: The Movie premiered on Disney Channel in 2001.
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".
Awards and nominations
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||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||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||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||The Famous Jett Jackson|
- "Disney Channel's Zoog Disney Pumps Up the Action of "Jett Jackson: The Movie" Both On-Air and Online". Disney press release. LaughingPlace.com. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- Rodil Jr., Neal. "B-Boy the Movie". B-Boy the Movie.com. Neal Rodil Jr. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- Yaffe, Samantha (1999-05-31). "On set: The Famous Jett Jackson". Playback. Brunico Communications Inc. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- Fries, Laura (2001-06-06). "Jett Jackson: The Movie (review)". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "Twenty-first Annual Young Artist Awards, 1998-1999". The Young Artist Awards. Young Artist Foundation. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "Twenty-Second Annual Young Artist Awards, 1999-2000". The Young Artist Awards. Young Artist Foundation. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "Twenty-Third Annual Young Artist Awards, 2000-2001". The Young Artist Awards. Young Artist Foundation. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "The Famous Jett Jackson". 2001 Parents' Choice Awards. Parents' Choice Foundation. Retrieved 2006-12-02.