Alex Rider has arrived on Amazon Prime. Read to find out what Courageous Nerd thought of the series.
Anthony Horowitz’s teen spy Alex Rider has existed for two decades. Amazon Prime have adapted the novels into a television series. The streaming service released the show in its entirety on June 4, 2020.
Relative newcomer Otto Farrant plays the title character. Alex is an ordinary teenager who discovers that his uncle, who has died, was a spy. Farrant is 23 and convincingly plays the school-age character.
This is the second adaptation of Horowitz’s novels. The first was 2006’s Stormbreaker, starring Alex Pettyfer, Mickey Rourke, Ewan McGregor and Robbie Coltrane. One of the show’s smartest decisions was not retreading the same story, for the simple reason that it had been done.
However, there are many differences between the two. Namely, the tone in Amazon Prime’s series is much darker and grittier. Thus, it is more comparable to Horowitz’s novels.
With only eight episodes, the series executes its fast-pace story. Objectively speaking, some scenes are ‘filler’. However, the overall plot stays on track throughout.
Additionally, Brenock O’Connor (Game of Thrones) has a co-starring role. The actor plays Tom Harris, Alex’s best friend. The character’s function from the novels is significantly expanded upon into more of Alex’s confidant.
One of the series’ great strengths is balancing the tone. Farrant and O’Connor have strong chemistry for the scenes between Alex and Tom. On the other hand, there is a stark contrast of Alex and the spies. As a result, these scenes are very interesting.
Each of the core actors in Alex Rider capture the essence of their literary counterpart. Particularly, Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones) and Vicky McClure (Line of Duty) give largely detached performances. The duo play spymasters Alan Blunt and Mrs Jones, key characters from the novels and bring their coldness to the screen.
Danish actor Thomas Levin plays another important character, the assassin Yassen Gregorovich. Yassen and Alex do not appear together a lot. Although, seeds are planted for their complicated relationship.
Actress Ronke Adekoluejo takes on Jack Starbright, Alex’s American housekeeper turned guardian.
In addition to Farrant, O’Connor, Dillane and McClure, Alex Rider features a talented cast of newcomers or lesser-known actors. Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch) plays Ian Rider, Alex’s uncle and legal guardian at the start of the series. While this is a brief role for obvious reasons, the loving dynamic between uncle and nephew is shown.
There’s also George Sear (Love, Victor) in a dual role as American socialite Parker Roscoe and a clone impersonation. Sear and the other ‘Point Blanc’ students – Marli Siu, Earl Cave and Katrin Vankova, effectively characterise both characters that they portray.
Furthermore, a number of successful British actors play spies at ‘The Department’. This includes Ace Bhatti (EastEnders) as John Crawley, Nyasha Hatendi (Casual) as Smithers and Liam Garrigan (Once Upon A Time) as Martin Wilby.
Overall, Alex Rider was very enjoyable to watch. The plot jumped from location to location – London, Surrey, The French Alps. This helped make Alex’s journey into the spy life more interesting.
Will Alex Rider get a season two? It certainly has the potential. In addition, the built-in fanbase and already written stories (via the novels) also work in its favour.
If you were a fan of the Point Blanc novel, then give this a watch. For the most part, it is very faithful. Even so, changes mean that the story plays out differently.
Alex Rider is streaming on Amazon Prime.