Streaming Sunday features TV series or movies adapted from books I’ve read, offered on at least one streaming service and I’ve watched.
The series is based on the Jack Reacher book series by author Lee Child. It stars Alan Ritchson who is a dead ringer for the book character. Jack Reacher. The first season is based on the first book in the series, Killing Floor.
Jack Reacher is a former Army policeman who seems to be drifting when he lands in the fictional town of Margrave, Georgia and almost immediately gets arrested for murder. Everything goes sideways from there.
I’ve read the book this is based on and was absolutely surprised at how closely it follows the story. One of the things fans of the book series all agree on is how Reacher’s physicality is an important element of the stories and character. That leads me straight to the controversy involving the movies based on the books starring Tom Cruise.
The first movie, Jack Reacher (2012), is based on the book One Shot. The second, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016), is based on the book of the same name. The outcry from the book community in casting Cruise as the beloved character was loud and swift. In the novels, Reacher is about 6’5” and physically imposing. That is a major aspect of the stories that Child continually emphasizes as he uses his physical skills to escape from really dicey situations. The 5’7” Cruise just didn’t “measure up” to the image created in the book series. But, Cruise is a guaranteed box office draw and both films were minor successes. I watched the first one years later and it was entertaining if you separated the film from the books.
However, in a 2018 interview with the BBC, Child agreed that the readers were correct in their criticism, stating:
“I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He’s a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is…So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead we’re going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long-form streaming television, with a completely new actor. We’re rebooting and starting over and we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.”
Now, back to the series! I planned to watch a couple of episodes to see if it would be one hubby and I could watch together. I looked up hours later only to realize it was nighttime and I’d binge watched the entire season. Ritchson is not only Reacher through and through, he’s quite mesmerizing in his performance and I couldn’t stop watching him and anticipating his next moves. He’s a perfect casting decision and my small community of book friends who assembled to discuss the TV series was thrilled (they all binge watched the first season, too).
There’s a fine supporting cast, too, including Malcolm Goodwin as Oscar Finlay and Willa Fitzgerald as Roscoe Connor. I loved their chemistry with the main character who is imposing on every frame but they found a way to make their roles distinctive.
This was an absolute win for me and a great book adaptation. Reacher airs on Amazon Prime Video and a second season has been ordered, based on the book Bad Luck and Trouble.