A Few Thoughts Regarding Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Series

By now you’ve probably heard about Amazon’s original series titled Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.  You know Jack Ryan.  You might think you don’t know him, but you do.  If you’ve seen The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, or Shadow Recruit, then you know this character.  He’s been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine.  The character has also been featured in twenty-one novels, the first of which debuted in 1984.  In other words, this guy has been around for awhile.

I liked those movies, but I didn’t love them.  Actually, I never saw the last two.  I also have to admit I haven’t read a single Jack Ryan novel–ever.  (Keep in mind that I’m a a fairly avid reader.)

The truth is, when I heard about this new series, I wasn’t particularly excited to watch it.  It looked exciting, don’t get me wrong, and I like John Krasinski well enough.  I didn’t have any qualms about Krasinski playing Jack Ryan.  Even though he’ll always be Jim to many of us, we’ve seen him do enough since The Office to realize he’s multifaceted and more than capable of playing almost any role.  This is the guy who turned down Captain America, after all.

However, a lot of people kept telling me that I needed to watch it.  A few added that it had a few plot holes, but most were very enthusiastic about the show.  So at long last, my wife and I decided to give it a try.

In short, we really enjoyed it.  The show is so fast-paced that it will make your heart race.  It’s got lots and lots of action, and has a habit of ending each episode with a cliffhanger.  John Krasinski got in very good shape for this role, and they made a point to let you see his abs at every opportunity.  However, Krasinski also brought a certain level of humanity and humility to the part that I personally appreciated.  He convinced me that he’s both new to the CIA, but also a seasoned veteran of war.  Of course, he’s also extremely likable.  He is John Krasinski, after all.

Be aware, though, that there are definitely a few plot holes that, if you think too hard about them, will leave you scratching your head.  There’s also some flat-out unbelievable moments, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.  I mean that as in, “this is impossible.”

It’s easy to ignore these things, though, because the show moves at a red hot clip.  It also knows exactly how to manipulate your emotions.  It reminds me a little of the early ER shows in that regard.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is fast, intense, and visceral.  It will push aside your rationale and latch onto your pathos.  It’s a thrilling ride, and I honestly am looking forward to the next season.  John Krasinski has made me a Jack Ryan fan.

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(Did you enjoy this review?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

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My Reaction To the First Episode Of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

My wife and I have been meaning to watch this Amazon original for several weeks now, and last night we finally got around to the first episode.

In a word, we would describe it as “charming.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, an upper-class Jewish housewife becomes a stand-up comic after her would-be comedian husband leaves her and the kids.

At first, I wasn’t too sure about it.  Midge Maisel seemed a little too perfect, a little too flamboyant, a little too entitled.  The dialogue struck me as a little too fanciful, and the characters’ circumstances were just a bit too ideal.

However, before too long, her husband began to grate on the nerves and disaster lurked in the shadows.  When he finally revealed himself as the shallow jerk we suspected, the show took on a new angle — a far more satisfying angle.

It sounds terrible to say the show didn’t get interesting until Midge got the rug pulled out from under her, but it’s the truth.  I would not have continued watching the perfect wife living the perfect life, but watching Midge fall apart while inadvertently excelling at something on a whim (stand-up comedy) that her husband couldn’t do on his best day — that was so gratifying.

By the time the first episode ended, my wife and I were won over and excited for the next installment.

Rachel Brosnahan plays Midge Maisel, and I found myself enamored by her performance.  At times she came dangerously close to being annoying, but somehow she always managed to reign her character in enough to make her instead charming.  Best of all?  Brosnahan is actually really funny.  She’s got great timing, fun facial expressions, and fantastic inflection.  If the actress seems familiar to you, she played Rachel on House of Cards, which makes Brosnhan’s performance all the more amazing.   Midge is as different from Rachel as you can possibly imagine, especially in general body language and mood.  What a testament to Brosnahan’s range!

If you’re looking for a charming new show with a bit of drama but mostly comedy, this is the one for you.  Be aware, though, that it’s aimed at adults.  While the first episode is mostly light and fun, there are occasional swear words and flashes of nudity.

 

(Did you enjoy this review?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)