Jack Ryan (Amazon)

Has anybody started watching this yet on Amazon Prime? Going to dive into it either tonight or tomorrow. Looking forward to it

Was waiting to hear what it was like before I committed.

I’m actually watching the first episode right now. Pretty good so far.

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Watched the whole lot and it is very good.

I must admit to not having read the Jack Ryan books so cannot comment on character migration from book to small screen, but everything seemed to hang together from characterisations to plot structures. Beautifully shot, and everyone’s motivations were efficiently made known without annoying the viewer (as was wont to be with the recent Saint pilot.)

A couple of things stood out as perhaps not CIA worthy.

Summary

Would a CIA Op give a kid in hiding a game capable of communications with the outside world?
Would not the main protagonist have vacated his premises as soon as family members left?

But otherwise, absolutely spot on.

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Ryan is pretty cliche stuff.

It tries to fool us into thinking its as smart as Homeland, but really that’s all just an aesthetic and a series of tropes. It’s true nature is cops’n robber junk tv; far more like 24, but so far (i’m up to ep5 of Ryan) it’s lacking 24’s hard edge, which was ever fleshed out by Jack Bauer’s utter ruthlessness and relentless suffering.

The helicopter pick up - hero moment - at the lawn party in the pilot is great and that’s exactly how this show should be viewed and enjoyed: heroes and villains as opposed to the shades of grey complexity of Homeland. This just isn’t in that show’s league. One could argue that it’s not trying to be, but at times it really is imho.

Nothing wrong with ‘junk tv’, but (so far) it’s little more than that.

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I am interested in how this show turns out as well. I haven’t seen any episodes yet but I did come across the following review which somewhat dampened my expectations: http://www.fortressofsolitude.co.za/tv/tom-clancys-jack-ryan-review-redundant/

What I’m most disappointed in is that there is no sequel in the works for the cinematic Jack Ryan as rebooted with Chris Pyne in the titular role. Aside from the climax where it started to get a bit bombastic with its action I thought it was a pretty smart, slick thriller. Pyne’s portrayal is probably my favourite of all the Jack Ryan actors to-date except for maybe Harrison Ford’s version.

Binged on all 8 episodes over the weekend…

It’s a good ride for us spy story lovers.

It frames the easterners as bad guys, but begs for forgiveness by making Ryan’s boss (Greer) a non-practicing easterner.

Ryan’s budding relationship with Catherine/Cathy is somewhat preordained.

I remember watching Homeland’s first 3 seasons before the producers took it in a political direction. Hopefully, that will not be the fate of this espionage vehicle.

A fun watch if you don’t have too many hangups about previous material. This is new territory, after all.

P.S. …

This show is taking us into young-Ryan before anyone has taken us into young-Bond, right?

The source material starts with ‘young’-ish Ryan, just like the show.

Also ryan is like, 38 in this show. That’s hardly young, and a bit older than Casino Royale Bond, Dr No Bond, etc.

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I’m in the middle of episode three and so far, so good! On a personal note, I’m a bit miffed that Ryan was retconned to a doctor of economics vice history (I thought it was cool that a historian like me was an action hero), and that he went to Boston College vice the Naval Academy (I’m not an academy grad but a lot of my friends are). Overall though, good series so far!

Understood. My mind’s eye centers on the old-guy Harrison Ford versus young-ish Alec Baldwin/Ben Affleck/Chris Pine. Also, the budding relationship with future-wife Catherine/Cathy makes me think more “young” Ryan, lol. Still, good entertainment.

Figured out what makes this Ryan series really suck: the score.

It’s by Ramon Djawadi. He does GoT and Westworld, which are both fantastic scores; well, GoT is fantastic, Westworld is ok.

However, he also did Prison Break. That show is the epitome of melodrama; on the nose schlock turned up to 11. Nothing in that score is subtle. Whatever we see we hear in the broadest, lowest commonplace denominator kind of way.

Ryan’s score is pretty much a rehash of Prison Break. I realised this when a scene played without music and I found my self thinking p, hey, this ain’t so bad. Then the music is back with a bucket load of cheese.

What’s also not working is that Ryan pretty quickly stops using his brains and gets angry a lot with copious shot accentuated his muscles. That ain’t the analyst Ryan. They’ve dumped the character’s USP in favour of cliche.

Cliche with an extra dose of cheese…So it’s a Tom Clancy adaptation then.

Ramin Djawadi having done the score actually makes me more curious to see it. I LOVE his scores, have both the Prison Break soundtracks, his phenomenal Westworld and Person of Interest scores and his classic rock inspired Iron Man score.

You may well enjoy this show, then. Nothing wrong with cheese, but there’s the good cheese of Hunt For Red October and the bad cheese of, well, imo Prison Break and this show. But I don’t mean to be condescending or snobbish, just my personal taste.

Bit of a mixed bag, really. The pacing made it feel more like one of Clancy’s novels (which I very much enjoy) than the films, which were rather swift by comparison. The production values are pretty good, the performances are decent and there’s some attempt at shading in the characters. On the downside, that shading is far from universally successful, the villains are generic, a bit and bog-standard and underdeveloped. The ending in particular felt underwritten and not nearly tense or threatening enough. The danger just wasn’t immediate enough for the characters we’re rooting for. I generally like John Krasinski. He has a nive everyman quality about him, but I wasn’t sure he had the gravitas for the role of Ryan, though given that it’s the young Ryan, maybe he just hasn’t grown into himself yet. So, a definite mixed bag IMHO, and I hope the second season will be tighter and actually do some more interesting and compelling character work.

I really enjoyed watching this show, but one main thing irks me

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

What are the chances that Jack would meet and be interested in the woman who happens to be prominent in the Ebola centre in Washington, which happens to be part of the plan of the terrorist Jack has been after whereby the Terrorist uses Ebola…and long story short the terrorist himself ends up at that very centre…and she gets caught up in it. Not only is this a ‘small world’ but it’s also incredibly coincidental timing. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief about any of that. It’s too ridiculous. I’m sure it’ll eventuall tie in with the girl’s dad being part of the terrorist plot and also the plot of the next season and beyond perhaps…

The love interest was also very bland and I didn’t get why Jack liked her so much. She was quite a bitch to him for most of the show… Whining to her friend about how she only dates alpha men and Jack is a ‘B or even a C’ - wtf really? Then she only wants it ‘casual’ and then gets really mad with him when she finds out he’s CIA and he had to use a cover, with zero understanding of why it’s part of his job.

Potential other plot holes aside, it was an enjoyable 8 episodes. The buddy cop stuff with Greer and Jack was great.

SPOILERS

I have to agree on the relationship stuff. There was inconsistent writing in there, particularly in the characterisation. I am always reluctant to critisise another writer but when a coincidence is important to the plot going where the writer wants it to go I think that’s a problem. I did find myself saying “Oh, come on…”

Having said that, I did enjoy it well enough and the Greer/Ryan stuff was good.

Looking forward to this basically because of Krasinski.

I liked “Homeland” only for its first two seasons and found the Carrie-character very one note. If this “Jack Ryan” is less layered and more hero-villain spy action I am all for it.

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And I managed to watch the first installment… and liked it a lot. Krasinski is great. The writing is up to the task. Sure, the conflict is something we’ve seen before. But the way this Jack Ryan works his way through it is fresh.

What I love: Ryan gets punched in the face and really is numb. This is no macho-superman of the kind we get too much these days and can get pummeled again and again like a videogame-creature without feeling the effect.

Wendell pierce is a good actor and his interactions with krasinski are overall the highlight of this show.

But sometimes the dialogue he’s given is so hackneyed it does make him sound a little like Captain Dobey chastising Starsky and Hutch.

I know this Den of Geek report is now reletively old news (a day or 2), but their editorial makes a lot of sense imo.

Taghmaoui says:

“I literally just received a message saying: 'If they go Middle East, it’s you. If they go Russian, it’s someone else.”

Geek says:

His reference to a production that’s currently split between two radically different storylines does seem to fit with the problem facing the Bond crew at the moment – likely torn between making John Hodge’s new idea work, or scrapping everything and reverting back to the original script that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote.

It is conceivable that the producers are still considering both options and that they might have lined up casting choices for both. Since Boyle’s version already put out a casting call for Russian leads, Taghmaoui’s interview seems to suggest that the new/old script is shifting the focus to the Middle East instead.

In short, they’re saying that the Boyle Hodges script is the Russian one, while P&W is Middle East.