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Amazon's "Jack Ryan" hits more than misses

By Nick Rogers
On September 25, 2018

Amazon Video’s new original series, “Jack Ryan” premiered on Aug. 31 to subscribers.

The TV show is loosely based on Tom Clancy’s series of the same name. “Jack Ryan” features John Krasinski of “The Office“ fame as the title character, a CIA intelligence analyst assigned to investigate suspicious financial transactions around the world.

Ryan chases a terrorist in an international game of cat-and-mouse spanning three continents.

Krasinski plays his role extremely well, as if it was tailor-made for him. Krasinski is no stranger to portraying characters in the military and intelligence fields, portraying Jack Silva in 2016’s “13 Hours:  The secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Alongside Krasinski is Wendell Pierce, from HBO’s “The Wire” and USA Network’s “Suits.” Pierce portrays James Greer, a disgraced field agent and Jack Ryan’s boss. Pierce adds the brooding, gruff and grizzled boss trope to Krasinski’s desk worker role.

Together, Krasinski and Pierce form a duo that keeps you on the edge of your seat as they try to outwit a grave threat to the Western world.

However, Jack and Greer’s story isn’t the only narrative in this series, with the showrunners using smaller storylines often interwoven with the main narrative.

The series is good at never staying on one subplot for too long and boring the viewer. “Jack Ryan” does a great job at taking advantage of these intertwined storylines without making them seem stale.

However, the series sometimes gets in its own way with one subplot in particular about a drone pilot. Although executed very well, this subplot feels out of place.

One thing about the series is it’s highly addictive, with the type of action reserved for classic spy thrillers. If there is a show that I could compare it to, I’d say it’s similar in feel to the FX spy drama “The Americans.”

It’s comparative in that “Jack Ryan” excels at getting you to the edge of your seat and keeping you there without overcomplicating the main narrative. But it balances it by not keeping you in anticipation for too long.

Despite its wonderful twists and turns, the action does not pick up until the second episode. Granted, most shows are like this to establish the narrative and develop their main characters.

Overall, Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” is a wonderful show if you like modern espionage thrillers. It’s a show that’s very easy to binge-watch; I finished it in two days. Watching it feels similar to reading a good book. 

 

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