Sometimes, all you want is a nice comforting show like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan where you can relax in the comfort of international disputes, terrorist attacks, and wild shootouts in the back alleys of some third-world country. Amazon Prime Video's political thriller knows what you want: a threat against America and an American to save the day. USA! USA! USA!
The series debuted in 2018 on Amazon Prime Video and stars John Krasinski as the titular hero, Tom Clancy's most famous character. This version of Jack shows his transformation from intelligence specialist behind a desk to valued asset in the field, while taking on terrorists in the Middle East and volatile dictators in South America.
We're still waiting for information on a third season of the show, including its premiere date and where it takes place, but in the meantime, if you're looking for more political thrillers to watch while you wait, take a look at the shows below that feature action and political intrigue.
Following the success of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Amazon Prime Video scooped up the rights to Without Remorse, a new action film set in the Tom Clancy universe that was supposed to get a theatrical release, but came straight home because of the pandemic. All the better for you, who can pop it on right now and watch Michael B. Jordan play John Kelly/John Clark, Clancy's most famous character not named Jack Ryan as he embarks on a rampage of revenge after Russian operatives kill his family while trying to take him out. Kelly's not the intellectual Ryan is, preferring physical action over calculation, which leads to more explosions and sweat. Is there a potential crossover brewing in the future? How can there not be? [Watch on Amazon Prime Video]
Jack Ryan uses Amazon's deep pockets to deliver some of the best action sequences in foreign locations on TV, but few shows eclipse the action in Cinemax's Strike Back. The series, which ran for eight seasons from 2010 to 2020, underwent several facelifts with different stars -- including The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln and Blindspot's Sullivan Stapleton -- but always kept things basic: members of Britain's super-secret Section 20 team go on dangerous missions and blow things up. That meat-and-potatoes formula works well for the true draw of the series, which is letting the guns do the talking. If you like Jack Ryan but prefer Action Jack rather than Desk Jockey Jack, Strike Back is waiting. [Watch on Cinemax Go (also available through Amazon Prime Video)]
"High octane thrills" is one of those buzz phrases thrown around to get a quote on a DVD box, but I'll be damned if Netflix's Bodyguard doesn't live up to that hype. The British series was a massive hit across the pond, big enough to send ripples to our shores in the form of a Golden Globe win (Best Actor, Richard Madden) and an Emmy nomination for Best Drama, yet it's still one of those overlooked gems for anyone looking for action-packed political intrigue. Madden, Game of Thrones' Robb Stark, plays a war vet assigned to protect England's Home Secretary (Keeley Hawes), resulting in some of the tensest shootouts and pursuits on TV in a long time. Bodyguard was created by Line of Duty's Jed Mercurio, who dials the intensity up to one billion -- just watch the opening scene to see it in action. And at a tidy six episodes, Bodyguard is an easy weekend binge... but it's so addictive you will probably finish it in one sitting. [Watch on Netflix]
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is filled with political turbulence and insurgent groups threatening the stability of the globe, as well as America's interests -- both good and bad -- in foreign territories. If that kind of political quagmire is what you're looking for more of, Showtime's Homeland will be perfect for you. Claire Danes stars as Carrie Mathison, a CIA agent specializing in squashing terrorism. But whereas Jack Ryan is calm, cool, and collected, Carrie's history with bipolar disorder interferes with her incredible talent and ability to make appropriate decisions, making Homeland much more of a character drama, especially in the first three seasons in which she's involved with a potential prisoner-of-war-turned-terrorist played by Damian Lewis. Later seasons mellow out and focus more on the CIA business, making it much more like the Jack Ryan you recognize, especially Season 1's involvement in the Middle East. [Watch on Hulu, Showtime]
Like most shows about U.S. government, Jack Ryan is unabashedly pro-American in its stance while also recognizing the messiness (understatement) of our current political wasteland. At the end of each season, though, you can rest assured that you'll be able to wave your Stars and Stripes proudly while singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the good guys win, keeping America's moral compass squeaky clean. Designated Survivor, which ran on ABC and Netflix from 2016 to 2019, throws Kiefer Sutherland's Tom Kirkman right into that mix when he's promoted from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to POTUS after the rest of the government officials are blown up in a terrorist attack. Kirkman, a self-described independent, must then keep both sides of the aisle from killing each other as a centrist president for the people who always does the right thing even when it's a tough call. like Jack Ryan, it's a show about complicated politics without being too political and it won't talk down to you. [Watch on Netflix]
If you think John Krasinski makes a better muscly action hero than a smirking office drone, then don't miss him in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, a 2016 action film from discharge daddy Michael Bay. Before he shattered our mold of him in Jack Ryan and A Quiet Place, Krasinski flushed his good-guy Jim Halpert image down the toilet and bulked up as a private military contractor who defended the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, against local militants. There's lots of shooting and lots of explosions. [Watch on Amazon (for rent or purchase)]
Maybe you liked most of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, but you especially liked the parts of Season 2 that followed the black ops trouncing through the Venezuelan jungle and could have done with less of the political maneuvering and jibber-jabber. Roll with Six, History Channel's military drama that ran for two seasons from 2017 to 2018. The highly serialized series follows the day-to-day lives of SEAL Team Six as they track down a former member of the team who was captured by terrorists in Nigeria, and stars Walton Goggins, Barry Sloane, and Olivia Munn. [Watch on Hulu]
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.