John Krasinski is going where a lot of actors have gone before — into the lead role in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.”
A buffed-up Krasinski, complete with six-pack abs but retaining the likability and charm he exuded as Jim on “The Office,” is stepping into the shoes worn by Alec Baldwin in “The Hunt for Red October,” Harrison Ford in “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger,” Ben Affleck in “The Sum of All Fears” and Chris Pine in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.” And he fills them very well.
This new eight-part series — which starts streaming Friday on Amazon Prime — casts Krasinski as a young version of Ryan. He’s been through some tough times, but he’s working as a CIA analyst when we first meet him. (Or … meet him for the first time for the fifth time?)
Anyway, Jack comes across some financial information that he believes is tied to one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists (Ali Suliman). His boss (Wendell Pierce) doesn’t see it that way, but guess who’s right?
And, after spending the majority of the pilot setting the story up, Jack is thrown into the middle of some major excitement. Amazon spent a ton of money on this, and it’s there — rather spectacularly — on the screen. Heck, it’s already been renewed for a second season.
(This is an original story; it’s not based on one of Clancy’s two dozen Jack Ryan or Jack Ryan Jr. novels.)
Television has long looked to movies for inspiration. Not everything has worked out, but some of the best TV shows in history have come from these adaptations.
That’s not exaggeration. Here are the Top 11 on that list. “Jack Ryan” at least has a chance to make it 12.
1. “M*A*S*H” (1972-83) • The series lasted eight years longer than the Korean War, which it fictionalized, and the finale remains the most-watched episode of any scripted show ever. It stands as a TV masterpiece.
2. “Friday Night Lights” (2006-11) • This is not just the best sports-themed TV show ever, it’s one of the best dramas. Period.
3. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) • The 1992 movie on which it was based sucked, so it was more than a bit surprising that this turned out to be fantastic TV.
4. “Parenthood” (2010-15) • The 1989 movie was good; this series was great — one of TV's best-ever family dramas.
5. “The Paper Chase” (1979-80; 1983-86) • The best thing about the movie and the series was John Houseman as the imposing law professor — he won an Oscar for the 1973 film. And this was a superior series.
6. “Fargo” (2014-) • Season 1 of this anthology was the best, but the other two seasons have also been good.
7. “Fame” (1982-87) • Far less dark than the 1980 movie, this was a better version of “Glee” nearly three decades earlier.
8. “The Odd Couple” (1970-75) • It seemed blasphemous to believe anyone could step into the roles played by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the 1968 film, but Tony Randall and Jack Klugman were great.
9. “Westworld” (2016-) • The jury is still out on this one, but Season 1 was great and Season 2 was good … so we'll see where it ends up.
10. “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003-05), “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008-14) and “Star Wars Rebels” (2014-18) • All were welcome entries in the “Star Wars” saga.
11. “Teen Wolf” (2011-17) • The series didn’t share much with the 1985 movie other than the title, and it went on at least a couple of seasons too long — but when it was good, it was really good.