Skip to main content

Reacher Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About Amazon’s Jack Reacher Series

Fans of Lee Child’s beloved Jack Reacher book series have been waiting for years to see how the character will be adapted for the small screen, and that wait is finally over. Critics got a peek at the series ahead of its February 4 release on Amazon's Prime Video, and their reviews are here. What did they have to say about “bigger than Tom Cruise” Alan Ritchson as the beloved title character?

The idea behind Amazon's streaming adaptation of the series is to cover one book per season of Reacher, with the first season bringing to life Lee Child’s 1997 novel Killing Floor. The story follows former U.S. Army military policeman Jack Reacher as he becomes involved in a conspiracy after being arrested in small-town Georgia for a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s see what the reviews have to say about Prime Video’s Reacher

Amon Warmann of Empire gives the new show 3 out of 5 stars, saying the series isn’t without its faults, but adapting the series for streaming allows for character development that the movies lacked. 

Even though the landing isn’t satisfyingly stuck, it’s still worth taking this journey. With 26 (and counting) books, Jack Reacher’s history on the page is long and beloved, but there were only two Tom Cruise films. With Reacher finding time amidst the brawn and the smarts to peel back some of its hero’s layers — both through relationships he forms in the present and various flashbacks to his childhood — it makes a strong case that long-form TV is the best way to adapt Child’s prose.

John Powers of NPR enjoys the series, particularly Alan Ritchson as the ultra-violent vigilante. With “abs the size of Evian bottles,” Ritchson should satisfy all of the fans who don’t like Tom Cruise’s movie portrayal of the 6-foot-5 250-pound book character. 

As for Ritchson, whose deadpan line-readings sometimes made me think of early Clint Eastwood, he gives Reacher the intimidating, man-mountain presence missing from the movie version played by bantam-weight Tom Cruise. Ritchson's Reacher could use Cruise's as a sock puppet.

Scott Von Doviak of AV Club scored the Amazon series a B, saying Reacher the Prime Video series is just like the books — it’s not going to challenge its audience very much, but viewers are likely to still be satisfied when it’s finished. 

Reacher is a solid adaptation, perfectly suited to bingeing on a snow day or stormy winter’s night. It’s as if it was designed to fill the role previously played by Bosch on the Prime Video roster: enjoyable comfort viewing based on a long-running book series, plenty of action, nothing too taxing on the ol’ brain cells.

Richard Trenholm of CNET agrees with that sentiment but thinks Reacher might take it a bit too far. He says the series relies a little too much on tropes that may feel stale rather than comfortably familiar. 

Even if you haven't read the books you may well have a feeling of deja vu, as it repeats well-worn elements you'll have seen everywhere from Banshee to The Dukes of Hazzard: the sleazy mayor, the feisty deputy, the smooth-talking businessman who really runs the show. And the action breaks a lot of bones but little new ground, at least to start with. The first showpiece fight is a prison brawl, which is entertainingly wince-inducing but kinda cliched.

Daniel Fienberg of THR says as a lover of the book series, he enjoys the series more than the movies because of the care given to the source material. However, Lee Child’s books are meant to be exciting, quick reads, and seeing that on screen makes the flaws harder to ignore. 

Series creator Nick Santora’s eight-episode series gives every indication of understanding the things that make Jack Reacher distinctive and entertaining as a character. Somewhat predictably, Santora’s hopelessly devoted approach to medium-jumping presents its own issues, underlining instead of correcting flaws from a franchise I adore even as I understand its myriad imperfections.

Critics agreed all around that the casting of Alan Ritchson rights the wrongs made on the big screen, and it sounds like the series shares a lot of the same qualities that endeared fans to the books. All eight episodes of Reacher Season 1 will be available for streaming on Prime Video on Friday, February 4. Check out some other shows on Amazon Prime, and take a peek at our 2022 TV schedule to see what other shows are premiering soon. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.