TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN. “Pilot.” Season 1, Episode 1. Streaming on Amazon Video, beginning on August 31, 2018. (All eight episodes were available on the same date.) Based on a character created by Tom Clancy. John Krasinski (Jack Ryan), Wendell Pierce (James Greer, Ryan’s boss at the CIA), Ali Suliman (Mousa Bin Suleiman), Dina Shihabi (Hanin Ali, Suleiman’s wife), Abbie Cornish (Cathy Mueller, Ryan’s girl friend). Director: Morten Tyldum.

   The place to see action thrillers such as this has definitely shifted from the movies to cable and streaming TV, no doubt about it. Previous versions of Jack Ryan stories have starred Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine, but the point to emphasize is that they appeared in movies made for the big screen. This latest version is a solid indicator as to which way the future is going, if indeed it isn’t already there.

   I’ve seen only this first episode, but if anyone wanted to, all eight could have been watched in one long evening from the very beginning — all were available at the same time, which is just another way series TV is changing. Before our eyes, so to speak!

   If this were a comic book, this first episode would be considered Jack Ryan’s “origin story,” for it goes back to his early days at the CIA, where he’s a financial transactions analyst covering the Middle East. Boring, yes, but when he uncovers millions of dollars in funds accumulated covertly over a short period of time, it tells him him that another Osama bin Laden may be on his way — an Islamic terrorist named Suleiman — his life is, as they say, turned upside down.

   At first his new boss at the CIA, James Greer, disparages Ryan’s conclusions, but soon enough Ryan is hustled off to Yemen to help interrogate two suspects that have been picked up there on the basis of ordinary surveillance. At which point all hell, in terms of guns, bombs and every other kind of firepower you can think of, breaks loose.

   There is more to the story, of course, but I can’t tell you anything more, since this all I’ve seen. I’m sure most of the primary threads of the story line to come have already been planted, but no more than that. Everything is extremely well done. The locations look authentic, the acting is top notch, and the explosions and all are impressive as anything I’ve seen in the past, big screen or small.

   Maybe I have to sign up with Amazon. I’ll definitely start sampling more of their various series while I can, and see if I can’t finish this one. You might say I’m hooked, and all they need to do is reel me in.

      The Jack Ryan series —

The Hunt for Red October. Alec Baldwin. 1990.
Patriot Games. Harrison Ford. 1992.
Clear and Present Danger. Harrison Ford. 1994.
The Sum of All Fears. Ben Affleck. 2002.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Chris Pine. 2014.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. John Krasinski. 2018.