Jack Ryan: Johnny K Goes Back to the Office

Alexander Yagoda, Opinion Editor

Release Date: August 31, 2018

Director: Patricia Riggen

Starring: John Krasinski (Jack Ryan), Abbie Cornish (Cathy Mueller), Wendell Pierce (James Greer), Ali Suliman (Mousa Bin Suleiman) and Dina Shihabi (Hanin Ali)

Our Rating: B

Classic Jim

With a few exceptions, top-notch television series have become incredibly rare. So rare in fact, that while other shows might be good, there are only two great shows from this decade, one being the HBO giant “Game of Thrones” and the other being the classic office sitcom “The Office.” In the shadow of these cultural giants, does Jack Ryan hold up? Not really.

“The new Jack Ryan seems like ‘Criminal Minds’ with higher production value and more action,” junior Bridget Babani said.

While Krasinski’s comedic skills are criminally underused, the show still manages to scrape by with a passable plot and some decent action. The series almost seems mislabeled, as it focuses less on the action and mystery surrounding an unorthodox terrorist organization in the Middle East, and more on a buddy cop/office drama theme. In fact, while the buddy cop label works well and certainly sticks, the office theme wears thin past the first couple of minutes of the first episode or up to where Jack runs off to Yemen to fight terrorism. On the other hand, the show could be looked at as the story of a traveling salesman, except the salesman is selling freedom and democracy to people that don’t want it.

Aside from the poor labeling of the show, “Jack Ryan” easily still fits into the genre of “Crime Drama,” a genre already saturated by shows like “Criminal Minds,” “NCIS” and “CSI: [Large City with Crime Problems].” Thankfully, “Jack Ryan” strays away from the preconception that crime dramas have to be cheesy shows filled with bad one-liners, mediocre acting and poor special effects. While the special effects don’t have much range (mostly explosions and fires), they are nonetheless quite realistic, and with the exception of some cheesy moments, the acting and script hold up as a serious series. Sadly, there isn’t much that can be done to address the issue of John Krasinski’s typecasting as a good-nature, funny guy as he was in his most popular role in “The Office.” Despite the solid acting in this series and the wide range of acting ability shown elsewhere, his goofy look into the camera just isn’t something that can be outgrown.

“I guess you can say that this is a buddy cop show, except they aren’t technically cops and they don’t seem to be buddies,” junior Kevin Monjarrez said.

Jimmy’s faithfulness to Pam has apparently wavered quite a bit in the last six years.

Overall, the show certainly strays from the strengths of its cast, but still manages to pull itself into a category significantly above the average television series of the modern times. When compared to the top shows, like “Game of Thrones” which has a budget larger than NASA, or “The Office,” “Jack Ryan” doesn’t exactly hold up as well. Despite that, “Jack Ryan” has nestled itself comfortably in an ambiguous safe-zone of television, with effects good enough to look realistic and a plot good enough to hold in viewers and attract the label of a “good show.” But, at its core, that Jack Ryan fellow just doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that gets revived, let alone mentioned, thirty years after his creation.