The Terminal List, Prime Video’s new military thriller, has taken a critical beating.
The show, which is led by Jurassic World: Dominion star Chris Pratt, premiered July 1 on Prime Video, backed by a massive marketing campaign with a pessimistic Pratt looking into the middle distance.
The Terminal List is based on the novel of the same name by Jack Carr and follows Pratt’s Lieutenant Commander James Reece, a US Navy SEAL who is left helpless after his platoon is ambushed during a secret mission.
Reece is the sole survivor of the mission, and as he tries to uncover the truth about what happened, his version of events doesn’t match the account given by high-ranking Marines. So naturally, the beginnings of a deadly conspiracy begin to form.
Pratt, who was paid $1.4 million for each episode of The Terminal List, takes on the lead role in a cast that also includes Constance Wu of The Hustlers, Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights, Riley Keough and Jai Courtney of The Suicide Squad.
Antoine Fuqua, director of The Equalizer and Oscar-winner Training Day, took over the helm of the first episode, with David DiGilio, who worked on the pirate thriller Crossbones, serving as showrunner.
The show’s eight episodes were released on July 1, but is it worth watching? Well, if you ask the critics, the answer is a firm no.
What did they say?
The program’s ratings aren’t total garbage, but they aren’t good either – The terminal list currently boasts a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab). Interestingly though, the show’s viewership score is much higher at 92%, so it seems to be hitting some.
The general consensus is that the series, which is very much in the mold of the dark, stoic, macho military thriller (similar to Prime Video’s Jack Ryan’s previous show), is good, but not as good as what came before it. It’s also, he whispers, a little boring…
Guardian’s Benjamin Lee (opens in new tab)was among the harshest critics, giving The Terminal List a star and calling the show “… Nick Schager from The Daily Beast (opens in new tab) was just as harsh, describing the series as a “…unbalanced right-wing revenge fantasy”.
Decider’s Joel Keller (opens in new tab) told viewers to jump in, writing that “life is pretty dark right now; we don’t need that monotonous darkness in our entertainment either”. Nick Hilton from The Independent (opens in new tab) called the show “…a constant and exhausting battle against forgetting what the hell 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-mood vehicle”.
Matt Fowler from IGN Films (opens in new tab) was among the few critics with something good to say, but even he criticized the show’s length and lack of light between the relentless shadow.
Doesn’t look good for a second season then?
Not so fast. As we said, audience reactions to The Terminal List have been pretty good so far, and Carr’s series of novels leaves four more to adapt – so there’s plenty of raw material.
Additionally, 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 giant alien-crushing action thriller.
Amazon clearly sees value in military thrillers – it already has Reacher and Jack Ryan, who is expected to get a spin-off, in its repertoire. The terminal list fits this genre perfectly, so if the audience watches it, you can bet the streamer will earn more.
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