Jack of All Trades (TV series)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
There ain't a French or pirate rogue who don't... know Jack!

Jack of All Trades was a short-running action/comedy show that ran for one-and-a-half seasons in 2000, paired with Cleopatra 2525. Set in 1801, it is a spiritual relative of Steampunk series like The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and The Wild Wild West, starring Bruce Campbell as Jack Stiles, an American secret agent sent to the fictional French-controlled island of Palau-Palau. Once there, he meets his British contact and Slap Slap Kiss love interest, fellow spy Emelia Rothschild, and together the two work to stop Napoleon Bonaparte and other threats to the United States. To the public, Jack serves as Emelia's mild-mannered manservant, but when trouble strikes, he transforms into a masked hero, the Daring Dragoon.

A fun little series with a truly great (and, to the crew's surprise, Emmy Nominated) theme song.

Tropes used in Jack of All Trades (TV series) include:
  • Anachronism Stew: The theme song clearly establishes that the show is set in 1801. And yet New France hasn't fallen yet and Blackbeard and Ben Franklin are still alive.
  • Better the Devil You Know: The reason why Jack and Emilia often help Governor Croque keep his job.
  • The Cavalier Years: The show takes place long after this time period, but Jack's "Daring Dragoon" character invokes tropes from the era.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If an episode starts with Emilia demonstrating a new invention to Jack, you can bet that it will be just what's needed at some point in the episode.
  • Clark Kenting: Jack wears a hat and mask to obscure his identity as the Daring Dragoon. He's the only American on the whole frelling island.
    • In one gag (Featured in the opening) someone rips the Dragoon's mask off... only to find another, identical, mask under it.
  • Curtain Clothing: How Jack first got his Dragoon disguise.
  • Dancing Theme: Best intro sequence ever.
  • Double Entendre: Pretty much the whole point.
  • The Dragon: Capitaine Brogard
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Fufu" Also subverted in that the way she got it was pretty Badass.
  • Expository Theme Tune: A classic (and Emmy-nominated) example.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Feather boas are part of the outfits in the Marquis de Sade's island.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Avoided in the Marquis de Sade episode. Bondage =/= evil.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Nardo da Vinci (Leonardo's great, great, great, great grandson) used to be Iolaus.
    • Catherine the Great, meanwhile, was Ephiny.
  • Historical Domain Character: All over the place, from Napoleon to Ben Franklin to the Marquis de Sade to Catherine the Great. Pretty much anyone who could even vaguely be expected to show up in the early 1800s give or take a decade or three (Franklin and Catherine had already been dead for years by the time of the show, for example.)
  • Ignore the Disability: Spoofed: Having been admonished not to comment on Napoleon's height, Jack comes right out and calls him shorty (it is notable that Napoleon was played by Verne Troyer).
  • Improvised Parachute: Used by Jack (and President Jefferson's niece!) to escape the French in Canada.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: How could anyone not like Governor Croque?
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: ... as played by a talking parrot.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: "A scoundrel with a heart" according to the theme song.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The show takes place on a French colony, but French characters inevitably just speak English with a silly accent. One could conceivably justify this as characters speaking English for Jack and Emelia's benefit, but the trope is in force even during scenes where every character is French.
  • Lad-ette: Kentucky Sue is a fairly exaggerated example, close to a female Boisterous Bruiser.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jack, of course.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Emelia (Angela Dotchin) is fairly attractive.
  • The Napoleon: The man himself. Played by Verne Troyer.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: King George, to throw off Napoleon.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: The Marquis de Sade's island.
  • Pirate: Blackbeard, even though he should be long dead by the time the show is set.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone
  • Reality Retcon: Most people don't realize that "The Louisiana Purchase" was actually Napoleon losing Louisiana in a poker game.
  • Riding the Bomb: Blackbeard, of all people.
  • Selective Magnetism: Applied to the Governor's armor to avert an execution.
  • Shout-Out: one episode revolves around France's gift of the Statue of Liberty to the USA. It ends with a re-creation of one of cinema's best known examples of the Twist Ending.
  • Shown Their Work: You would think the US and France would have good relations in 1801, except for an undeclared, seldom remembered war between the US and France, called the Quasi-War. The US hated both Britain and France at the time, and many Americans even hated the French much more. The 1801 setting is also surprisingly appropriate for the Cold War-esque nature of the Britain vs. France conflict in the show. It takes place during (technically, just prior to) the Peace of Amiens, a brief period when Britain and France were not actually at war with each other.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Blackbeard, of course!
  • The Un-Reveal: Captain Brogard once had the opportunity to rip off the mask of "the Daring Dragoon" and reveal his secret identity... except that Jack was wearing a second mask underneath the one Brogard ripped off!