I like Amazon’s ‘Reacher’

With all the post-midterm election negativity here and elsewhere, I feel gratified to give you all some good news, even if it’s only a recommendation for a TV show. The Reacher television series, launched earlier this year on Amazon Prime Video, gets two thumbs up from The Daily Ed.

I’m a longtime fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books; and I would argue that fans of the novels are the ideal audience for the eponymous television series. There are so many little Reacherisms (like the main character’s love of black coffee) that you might miss in the TV format if you aren’t looking for them. But even newcomers to the Jack Reacher character will find much to like here.

This isn’t the first time the Jack Reacher series has been adapted for screen, of course. There have been two movies starring Tom Cruise. While Cruise is the ideal actor for most of his movies, he’s simply too short to credibly play Jack Reacher, for anyone who knows about the character.

Alan Ritchson, the actor chosen for the Amazon series, is a better fit. Ritchson is 6’2” tall—still short of the fictional character’s height, but much closer. I don’t know if Ritchson has read the novels, but he does a fine job of bringing the personality and mannerisms of Reacher to life. He’s believable in the role, in other words.

Amazon Studios made some changes to the books, of course. The Jack Reacher of Lee Child’s novels was born in 1960. The Jack Reacher on Amazon (based on my extrapolation of a few flashback timelines that are presented) would be born around 1985 or 1986. The Amazon Jack Reacher, then, is a full generation younger. 

But I understand why Amazon did this. The first Jack Reacher novel was published in 1997. The TV series is just beginning, and Amazon presumably hopes for a long run.

I hope for a long run, too. We’ll probably get that. Both critics’ and viewers’ reviews have been positive thus far, and Reacher has been renewed for a second season.

Reacher is a pleasant distraction—something we all need in times such as these, when the news has become so disheartening.