Jim from The Office has abs now. A proper six-pack. They make an appearance in the first episode of Amazon Prime Video's blockbusting new action series, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan – though not before the series' first gigantic fiery explosion.
John Krasinski might not seem like the most obvious choice to follow Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine as the latest incarnation of the CIA analyst-turned-terrorist fighter in whatever part of the world the United States is at war with at the time of filming.
On closer inspection, though, his casting almost feels a little too obvious. Who better to ram home the fact that Jack Ryan is meant to be an everyman desk jockey than a guy best-known for playing that exact role on a popular sitcom for the best part of a decade?
Then again, there's a lot about Jack Ryan that feels a bit on the nose. That comes with the territory of the super-patriotic-action franchise, but it doesn't necessarily detract from the enjoyment factor. Like the Clancy books dads have been getting en masse for Christmas since the 1980s, the television adaptation ticks quite a lot of undeniably satisfying boxes.
First, and most importantly: the explosions. Michael Bay is listed as an executive producer, and you simply won't find better explosions on any other TV show. There are two major ones in the first episode alone. The first, in the opening scene, signals this as a genuine action series; the second, part of an intensely violent gunfight later in the episode, reinforces the fact this show is seriously not mucking around.
There is also some fantastic action dialogue, particularly in the exposition-heavy first episode. "I can't go to Yemen, I'm an analyst," Ryan tells his boss after receiving orders to fly to Yemen to help catch a terrorist. "I don't interrogate people, I write reports."
His boss makes a compelling argument otherwise: "Get on the [effing] plane." In Yemen, Ryan asks a terror suspect, "Have you ever heard the name Suleiman?" Sort of like asking somebody here if they've ever heard the name Jeremy.
As much as he will always be his character from The Office – sleeves rolled up, shoulders hunched, shrugging at the camera – Krasinski does make Jack Ryan more than just "Jim got really into Crossfit". A proper action hero, he needs a proper love interest – that box is ticked by a fleeting moment with Cathy (Abbie Cornish) at a posh garden party, before being interrupted by a Coastguard helicopter landing on the lawn, the pilot running into the crowd, shouting, "Dr Ryan… I need you to come with me." Explosions aside, it's the coolest part of the first episode.
It's also scenes like this that make you realise what dads on summer holidays have known for years: when it comes to popular geopolitical terrorism action thrillers with a heavy dose of American patriotism, it's hard to beat Jack Ryan.
• Jack Ryan screens on American Prime Video.