I never read the books but I was a massive Anthony Horowitz fan as a teen (I read one of his other series and loved it). I thought the film was fun, but a bit silly, so I was really intrigued when I heard about this one and had to give it a go. Here’s my Alex Rider, Series 1 review – I hope you enjoy!
Show: Alex Rider, Series 1 | Company: Sony Pictures Television, Eleventh Hour Films | Date: 2020
Synopsis: Alex Rider is an ordinary teenager enlisted to work on behalf of MI6, where he uses skills he didn’t know he had to become an extraordinary spy.
Alex Rider Review – Series 1
I can’t remember if I read the Alex Rider books as a teen or not. I think I followed some of them, although it was Anthony Horowitz’ Power of Five series that made me a fan of his writing – something that has continued as an adult.
When I heard there was a new adaption, it intrigued me how it would be handled. I liked Stormbreaker – it’s a film full of nostalgic memories for me – but there’s a levity to it that isn’t present in the books. Half-curious, half-dubious, I gave it a go…
…and was pleasantly surprised!
The tone of the Alex Rider series is much darker than the previous movie. It starts with the second book, although uses that storyline to introduce Alex to the world of spies, secrets and lies. There’s a tense undercurrent that underlies the entire season and each episode has moments that leave you holding your breath.
Otto Farrant (Alex Rider) was a perfect casting choice. He balances the carefree teenager whose only concern is asking a girl out with a young man determined to find answers. He shows the relaxed-Alex before switching to the scared-Alex. No false bravado: this is a kid who’s terrified but knows he has the resources to deal with the problem.
Alex is the type of character you root for from the beginning. You want to protect him while knowing he can deal with it himself. He’s resourceful but vulnerable and it makes him a well-rounded and believable character rather than a superhero.
His friendship with Tom (Brenock O’Connor, grown up from his Game of Thrones days) feels genuine. These are two best mates stumbling through high school, before stumbling through something much bigger. It seems rare in shows with young characters given them such strong friendships and it makes Alex more accessible.
The rest of the characters also feel well-cast: Vicky McClure as Mrs Jones makes us hopeful not all spies will cross the line while Stephen Dillane’s Alan Blunt leaves that line on the horizon. Smithers and Crawley made the department feel complete, compared to the gizmos and gadgets of Stormbreaker hidden in a toy shop.
There are some beautiful settings scattered throughout: different parts of London, the countryside and the French Alps. This show certainly makes its scenes atmospheric and it works. Whether it’s crashing through a forest on an ironing-board-turned-snow-boa,rd in the Alps or hiding under foliage in the English countryside, the scenery adds an extra dose of tension.
The camera work also boosts the darker tones. There are some extended shots at unusual angles. The lingering view leaves you waiting for something that may or may not be coming, lulling you into a false-sense of ease when not every shot results in something untoward. An effective way of increasing the suspense.
I enjoyed this season, and am pleased there will be a second. It’s only eight episodes long, so if you’re looking for an action-packed, tense and engaging watch, I recommend this!
Alex Rider is available on Amazon Prime.
Were you a fan of the books? Have you given this new series a go?
You may also like:
- Television Review: New Amsterdam, Series 1 Review
- Television Review: Thunderbirds Are Go
16 thoughts on “Alex Rider Review | Series 1”
This sounds great! I need a new TV show to watch with my fiance and he prefers darker, moody shows!
This definitely has a tone to it but it’s not too dark!
I was going to say this doesn’t really sound like my sort of show but neither did New Amsterdam and look how that turned out (I’m on the last episode of season 2 already!!!) So I’ll be sticking this on my to-watch list as well, thank you 🙂
Aha nothing is as good as New Amsterdam! I know people this didn’t work for but I personally quite liked it – but I’m a fan of the author even. I didn’t read these books so maybe I’m biased?
Thanks for the recommendation! I love shows that are filmed in multiple locations and the premise of the show sounds intriguing.
It certainly had some stunning looking locations for sure!
I’ll have to see if this is on tv where I live – I haven’t heard of it but it sounds good!
I watched it on amazon prime but I’m not sure if that helps or not!
Sounds good! I’m actually looking for new things to watch. Thank you so much for sharing.
I hope you enjoy it!
Oooh this sounds like an amazing watch, definitely going to give it a go!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
I hope you enjoy it if you do get that chance. Thank you so much!
It was fun for sure! I hope you like it.
This looks so interesting! I haven’t read the book so I might check out the books first.
I watched it without remembering if I’d read the books or not so I don’t think it’s necessarily needed but always fun to have more books on the list!
This sounds so interesting, thanks for this review. I have heard of the Alex Rider series but never got to reading the books. I would love to try this series… but sadly no Amazon Prime. 😦 I guess it is time to see if I can find the books! 🙂