Culture

Would You Watch a Jack Ryan Television Show?

If you’re initial response to such a question is to ask who’s Jack Ryan, drop what you’re doing right now and go watch Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Hunt for Red October. Jack Ryan is the protagonist in each of those geopolitical thrillers.

The character has been played on film by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and most recently Chris Pine. The earlier films were more successful than the latter ones, which may be why creatives are contemplating moving the property to television. From Collider:

Deadline reports that Carlton Cuse (Lost) and writer Graham Roland (The Returned), Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and Paramount TV have set off a bidding war with their new take on the character. According to Deadline, this show won’t be a direct adaptation of any of the [Tom Clancy] books, “but a new contemporary take on the character in his prime as a CIA analyst/operative using the novels as source material.

As Collider points out, Jack Ryan is no James Bond. He’s “a glorified desk jockey who’s not common enough to be an everyman but not special enough to be extraordinary.” The appeal of the Tom Clancy franchise has been its scenarios, not its protagonist. If a new show can capture the taut political intrigue and plausible military action of the early Clancy films, it could fit into the space aimed at by shows like Madam Secretary and the recently cancelled State of Affairs.