Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan delivers white-knuckle levels of excitement and heart-pounding action sequences easily making it the best new TV series to debut this fall.
Rather than relying on the iconic characters past, show creators Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland forged a different path examining the metamorphosis one undergoes when you go from being CIA desk jockey to a field agent.
How does an idealistic ex-marine and Doctor of Economics become our nations greatest asset? John Krasinski is cast in the title role and brings a refreshing dose of duality to the character. On one side, we see the all-American boy with devilish good looks. Ryan is the type of guy which any daughter would want to bring home to meet the family. On the other side, we have a naive genius who wants to save the world but isn’t sure how exactly to go about it. It’s the confliction Krasinski bring to the role which makes this show unique.
The narrative in season one centers around the word ascension. Ryan’s knowledge of Economics allows him to track down suspicious terrorist activity occurring in Yemen, which draws praise from CIA brass. His boss James Greer (Wendell Pierce) begins to see what the young Dr. Ryan has been alluding to and aides in their pursuit of the terrorist suspects. The show also focuses on the rise of Suleiman (Ali Suliman) and his wife Hanin (Dina Shalibi). Suleiman is initially scarred for life by the bombing of his home in Beruit by American fighter jets. Over the years, his anger grew more and more causing a family man to become a zealot wanting to act on his rage. Hanin grew up in a word where women in her country were often silent and told not to utter a sound. During the show. She’s forced to take on a new role which is quite invigorating but scary as hell.
Jack Ryan stays from many of the tropes associated with the character’s past allowing this show to blaze its own trail. Cuse and Roland keep the writing tight so even though the narrative is intricate, the show is fast-paced. Amazon’s latest hit contains some of the best action sequences that I’ve seen on television in 2018. There’s a closing sequence in the show’s first episode that will have people jumping out of their seats with excitement. Jack Ryan has brought some very experienced directors to help with the development of these first few episodes. At times you forget that this is meant for television and not a feature-length film.
Krasinski and Pierce are indeed outstanding in their respective roles. Krasinski can outwardly project to audiences just how conflicted Mr. Ryan is about what has transpired. The chemistry between these two agents evoked images of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. However, the performance the stood out the most in this series came from Dina Shihabi. Shihabi was so commanding on screen and provides the emotional backbone for Jack Ryan’s first season.
Overall, Jack Ryan is a roaring success and is set up rather nicely for a lengthy run on Amazon. There’s much more to Ryan’s eventual evolution into a full-time field agency left to explore, and it appears that’s what is on the horizon. Anyone who is on the fence about watching this series needs to watch the pilot, and I’ll guarantee that you’ll be hooked.