When I was a kid, I avoided Harry Potter. I still cannot say why but for whatever reason, I read the Alex Rider books instead and I absolutely loved them. I found Alex’s world and pressure he dealt with from the adults around him relatable, and I loved reading about how he could solve almost any problem. However, there has thus far been no good adaptations to introduce other to the world of Alex Rider. Stormbreaker, which came out in 2006 and was based off of the first book of the same name, was unsuccessful. While the movie got the plot mostly correct, it failed to understand who Alex was. It resulted in poor reviews and a seeming death knell for the Alex Rider movie franchise.
However, Alex has been given new life in 2020. The new Alex Rider TV series on IMDb TV and Amazon Prime finally understand Alex Rider. This series finally took him seriously, creating a better character and a better adaptation in the process. It also makes smart decisions about how to adapt the story for TV.
The adaptation combines the beginning of the first book Stormbreaker with the second book Point Blank. This is the first smart decision that the show makes. Point Blank is one of the best books in the series and one of the ones best set for TV. The Point Blanc school is a terrific setting for any spy novel and the show-runners did a phenomenal job.
The show also does an excellent job at establishing who Alex is from the moment he steps on screen. When Tom loses his phone Alex goes and climbs his school building to retrieve it. It is a small scene but it is effective in showing just how capable he is. It’s much better than the scenes in the movie that attempt to tell you why Alex is ready to be a spy. In this, they show.
I also really enjoyed watching how the explains why Alex ultimately became a spy. It is not something he decided to do randomly, just like the books, the decision is organic and forced. At first he is reluctant, but then his sense of duty comes through. He struggles with his own grief and uses that to help those around him. It is part of what makes him a great character, and it is so nice to see a show finally understand who he is.
While the show is a bit too slow at points, it really does everything else well. The show has now been renewed for a second season, which means you can invest in the characters. After years of waiting for Alex Rider to return to the screen. Now, it looks like Alex is here to stay.