Prime Video’s new military thriller, The Terminal List, has had a bit of a critical beating.
The show, which is headed by Jurassic World: Dominion star Chris Pratt, premiered on Prime Video on July 1, propped up by a major marketing campaign featuring a downbeat Pratt staring at the mid-range.
Based on Jack Carr’s novel of the same name, The Terminal List follows Pratt’s Lieutenant Commander James Reece, a US Navy SEAL who is left behind after his platoon is ambushed during a covert mission.
Reece is the lone survivor of the mission, and as he tries to uncover the truth about what happened, his version of events doesn’t match the Navy’s top man’s account. So, of course, the beginning of a deadly conspiracy begins to form.
Pratt, who reportedly received $1.4 million for each episode of The Terminal List, stars in a cast that also includes Hustlers’ Constance Wu, Friday Night Lights’ Taylor Kitsch, Riley Keough and The Suicide Squad’s Jai Courtney.
Antoine Fuqua, director of The Equalizer and Oscar winner Training Day, took charge of the first episode, with David DiGilio, who worked on pirate thriller Crossbones, as showrunner.
The show’s eight episodes were all released on July 1, but is it worth watching? Well, if you ask the critics, the answer is a definite no.
What did they say?
The show’s ratings aren’t total bullshit, but they aren’t good either – The Terminal List currently has a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab)† Interestingly, though, the show’s audience rating is much higher at 92%, so it seems it strikes a chord with some.
The general consensus is that the series, which is very much in the macho, grim, stoic military thriller form (similar to Prime Video’s previous Jack Ryan show), is fine, but not quite as good as what came before it. It’s also, whisper it, a bit boring…
Benjamin Lee of The Guardian (opens in new tab)was one of the harshest critics, giving The Terminal List one star, calling the show a “…low-stakes post-barbecue watch, a slice of barely heated red meat all of which is extremely hard-to-chew cartilage,” while The Daily Nick Schager of the beast (opens in new tab) went into it just as hard, describing the series as a “…unhinged right-wing revenge fantasy.”
Decision makers Joel Keller (opens in new tab) told viewers to skip it, writing, “Life right now is pretty grim as it is; we don’t need so much monotonous darkness in our entertainment either”. Nick Hilton of The Independent (opens in new tab) called the show “…a constant, attrition battle against forgetting what the heck is going on,” while Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) summed up his review by calling The Terminal List a “…zero-fat, zero-humor vehicle.”
Matt Fowler from IGN Movies (opens in new tab) was one of the few reviewers to have anything good to say, but even he criticized the show’s length and lack of light in the unforgiving shadow.
Doesn’t it look good for a second season?
Not so fast. As we mentioned, the public response to The Terminal List has been pretty good so far, and Carr’s series of novels leaves four more to adapt – so there’s plenty of raw material.
In addition, Pratt and Prime Video currently have a great working relationship. He made The Tomorrow War for Amazon and is expected to make a sequel to that massive alien action thriller.
Amazon clearly sees value in military thrillers – it already has Reacher and Jack Ryan, which is expected to get a spin-off, in its repertoire. The Terminal List fits right into that genre, so if the audience is watching it, you can be sure that the streamer will earn more.
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