Alex Rider (TV series)
Alex Rider is a British spy thriller web television programme based on the novel series of the same name by Anthony Horowitz. Adapted by Guy Burt, it stars Otto Farrant as the eponymous character, who is recruited by a subdivision of MI6 as a teenage spy to infiltrate places that others are unable to. The show is jointly produced by Eleventh Hour Films and Sony Pictures Television. The eight-episode first season premiered on Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom on 4 June 2020.
|Created by||Guy Burt|
|Based on||Alex Rider novels|
by Anthony Horowitz
|Opening theme||"The World Is Mine"|
by Samm Henshaw
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Production location(s)||London, England|
Prahova County, Romania
|Running time||43–45 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Eleventh Hour Films|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original network||Prime Video|
|Original release||4 June 2020 –|
London teenager Alex Rider is recruited by the Department of Special Operations, a subdivision of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), to infiltrate a controversial corrective academy for the wayward offspring of the ultra-rich.
- Otto Farrant as Alex Rider, a highly skilled teenager who is recruited by the Department of Special Operations.
- Stephen Dillane as Alan Blunt, the shrewd head of the Department of Special Operations.
- Vicky McClure as Mrs Jones, deputy head of the Department of Special Operations and Alex's handler.
- Andrew Buchan as Ian Rider, an agent of the Department of Special Operations and Alex's uncle.
- Brenock O'Connor as Tom Harris, Alex's best friend.
- Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo as Jack Starbright, a UCL graduate from America, who is Alex's primary carer.
- Liam Garrigan as Martin Wilby, an agent of the Department of Special Operations and a colleague of Ian.
- Ace Bhatti as John Crawley, chief of staff of the Department of Special Operations.
- Thomas Levin as Yassen Gregorovitch, a mysterious assassin.
- Haluk Bilginer as Dr Greif, director of Point Blanc, a mysterious academy.
- Howard Charles as Wolf, the leader of a Special Air Service (SAS) squad.
- Nyasha Hatendi as Smithers, the quartermaster of the Department of Special Operations.
- Ana Ularu as Eva Stellenbosch, Dean of Students at Point Blanc.
- Marli Siu as Kyra Vashenko-Chao, a hacker from Singapore and a student at Point Blanc who keeps to herself.
- George Sear as Parker Roscoe, an American graduate of Point Blanc and the heir to a media empire.
- Andrew Buzzeo as Mr Boswell, Alex and Tom's English teacher.
- Macy Nyman as Steph, a student at Alex's school who is attracted to Tom.
- Shalisha James-Davis as Ayisha, a popular student at Alex's school who has a mutual attraction with him.
- Ky Discala as Eagle, the sniper in Wolf's squad.
- Rebecca Scroggs as Snake, a member of Wolf's squad.
- Ben Peel as Fox, a member of Wolf's squad.
- Talitha Wing as Sasha, a model student at Point Blanc who is attracted to Alex.
- Nathan Clarke as Arrash, a model student at Point Blanc.
- Katrin Vankova as Laura, a student at Point Blanc who befriends Alex.
- Earl Cave as James, the Australian heir to an arms industry corporation and a student at Point Blanc who befriends Alex.
- Steven Brand as Michael Roscoe, the CEO of Roscorp Media and Parker's father.
- Llewella Gideon as Miss Baker, a teacher at Alex's school.
- Simon Shepherd as Sir David Friend, the owner of the Friend Foundation, a multi-billion pound food production and distribution empire.
- Josh Herdman as Stan, a barber.
- Lucy Akhurst as Lady Caroline Friend, Sir David's wife.
- Alana Boden as Fiona Friend, Sir David and Lady Caroline's spoilt daughter.
- Ralph Prosser as Rafe, a friend of Fiona.
- Simon Paisley Day as Dr Baxter, the physician and physical education teacher at Point Blanc.
- James Gracie as Langham, Parker's personal assistant.
- Ali Hadji-Heshmati as Javid, a friend of Tom and Alex.
In July 2018, Variety reported that Eleventh Hour Films would be teaming up with Sony Pictures Television to produce an eight episode adaptation of Point Blanc, the second book in the Alex Rider series. Horowitz will be executive producer for the series. Sony Pictures Television's international and worldwide distribution divisions under Wayne Garvie and Keith Le Goy were attached to the film series. Sony will be responsible for funding and looking for broadcasting or platform distributors.
In late September 2019, the series' first teaser trailer was released. Otto Farrant, Brenock O'Connor, Stephen Dillane, Vicky McClure, Andrew Buchan, Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Ace Bhatti and Nyasha Hatendi were announced as cast members. The series is directed by Andreas Prochaska and Christopher Smith. Filming locations included London and, for the French Alps scenes, around Sinaia in Prahova County, Romania.
|No.||Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||Episode One||Andreas Prochaska||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|Prior to making arrangements to meet the Department of Special Operations' Director Alan Blunt, New York businessman Michael J. Roscoe is assassinated by a professional hitman. Meanwhile in London, Alex Rider lives with his uncle Ian Rider, who is an undercover Department agent posing as a banker, and their American housekeeper Jack Starbright. His best friend at school is Tom. Ian is tasked with investigating the deaths of Roscoe and a Russian man whose children attended a school called Point Blanc. However, Ian is double-crossed by his field agent Martin Wilby and is shot dead by Yassen Gregorovitch. The British authorities claim that Ian was killed during a car accident. Using the Find My Phone function on Tom’s phone, Alex finds his uncle's car and discovers that he was not killed during an accident. However, he encounters Blunt and fellow MI6 agent Mrs Jones, who upon realising Alex's skill would like to recruit him. Initially, Alex refuses, but upon the Department threatening Jack with deportation and Alex with living in a foster home, he decides to help them.|
|2||Episode Two||Andreas Prochaska||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|After learning the true details of Ian’s death from Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones, Alex is visited at school by a man named Geoffrey Daniels, who claims to be a Foreign and Commonwealth Office official trying to get Alan's subdivision shut down for using a teenager in espionage. Realizing it is a test, Alex refuses to provide him with information. He is then kidnapped by a group led by Wolf, who interrogates him about Ian Rider and Point Blanc. Alex refuses and is tortured with loud rock music and water. However, Alex escapes only to discover that his kidnapping was part of a training exercise orchestrated by the Department and that Daniels is an MI6 agent named Smithers. Later, Alex agrees to work for the Department and infiltrate Point Blanc in order to find those who murdered his uncle Ian. Meanwhile, Wilby meets with Yassen and claims that MI6 is unaware that Ian was murdered by a double agent and linked to Point Blanc and Yassen's involvement.|
|3||Episode Three||Andreas Prochaska||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|In order to infiltrate Point Blanc, Alex Rider poses as Alex Friend, the spoiled son of wealthy businessman David Friend his wife Lucy. He is given an MP3 player, disguised as a transmitter to MI6. Prior to his meeting with Point Blanc's Dean Eva Stellenbosch, Alex spends the weekend at the Friends family mansion. Tom struggles to come to terms with Alex's double life as a spy but manages to meet him at the mansion, where Alex appraises him of the situation. Alex also has to contend with the Friends' spoiled daughter Fiona, who attempts to ambush Alex with her friends during a hunting expedition. However, Alex turns the tables on them. Alex later meets with Eva, posing as the Friends’ spoiled wayward son. Fiona, angry from her encounter with Alex, tries to blow Alex's cover but is sedated by an undercover maid. Alex then leaves for Point Blanc and arrives at the school in the French mountains. Meanwhile, Tom begins to put together a YouTube documentary on Alex being a spy.|
|4||Episode Four||Andreas Prochaska||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|Upon arriving at Point Blanc Academy, Alex's belongings are searched but he is allowed to keep Smithers' fake MP3 player, which contains a transmitter. At the academy, Alex befriends James, Kyra, and Laura but find that Sasha and Arrash are estranged from the group. Maintaining his cover as a troublemaker, Alex creates a mess while washing dishes. Alex defies Dr Greif, the head of the academy, and is slapped by Eva. Back in London, MI6 realises that Martin's story about Ian's death being linked to North Korea is false and begins bugging him. Martin visits Jack’s home and obtains a photo of Alex. The Department close in on Martin but he is assassinated by Yassen. Back at the Academy, Laura becomes sick and is admitted to the infirmary. While brushing his teeth, Alex passes out. He wakes up dazed to find he is being prepared for some sort of operation.|
|5||Episode Five||Christopher Smith||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|After being operated, the following day, Alex relates his strange dream to Kyra and James, who tell him they had similar experiences. Laura returns to the group only to have changed, and sits with Arrash and Sasha instead of Alex, Kyra and James, making James angry and confused. James tells Kyra and Alex they have to escape before they become like Laura. Meanwhile, Yassen investigates Alex and encounters Tom in the process. The Department attempts to contact a code on Martin’s phone but his superiors realize that it is a security breach and disconnect it. While visiting Point Blanc to brief Dr Greif about the new security protocols following the breach, Yassen has a brief encounter with Alex. Seeking to escape the academy Alex, Kyra, and James break into Greif's office and reset all doors in Point Blanc. During the escape attempt, James is caught by Eva and taken into her office where he disappears. Meanwhile, Michael’s son Parker Roscoe assumes control of his father's media company Roscorp, drawing the Department attention. At night, Alex and Kyra attempt to track down James and Eva in the Academy’s second floor. They find rooms which match their current rooms perfectly. Shortly later, they witness plastic surgeon Dr. Baxter being murdered by Eva under Dr Greif's orders and Eva revealing that she intends to "deal with Kyra" the next day.|
|6||Episode Six||Christopher Smith||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|At breakfast, James returns to the group, now changed just like Laura. He joins Arrash, Sasha and Laura, outnumbering Alex and Kyra. Kyra, knowing she's next, tells Alex they need to escape now, but Alex still needs answers to his uncle's death. Continuing his investigation, he goes to the basement and discovers that the original Point Blanc students have been imprisoned and that they have been replaced by both male and female clones of Dr Greif's. Meanwhile in London, Tom's YouTube video draws the attention of the "Parker Roscoe" impostor, who wants to find out about Alex Friend. Parker and his minder Mr. Langham interrogate Tom, who is rescued by the Department after Jack alerts them to Tom’s whereabouts. Parker’s clone impostor is arrested. Alex is soon captured by Greif, who reveals his plans to reshape the global order using his clones to control key industries. Alex is then tortured but manages to escape with the help of Kyra and escapes the academy in an improvised snowboard, promising to come back for Kyra. Despite escaping from the school guards, who ride snowmobiles, he is knocked down by a truck on a road at the bottom of the mountain.|
|7||Episode Seven||Christopher Smith||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|The truck driver calls an ambulance for Alex who is taken to a hospital, which is reported to Dr. Greif and Eva. Eva travels to the hospital to make certain of Alex's demise, however, MI6 in disguise fake Alex’s death. Alex convinces the rest of the Department's team including Mrs. Jones and Wolf to help him rescue the other students. Back in London, Blunt and Smithers learn that "Parker" is a clone of Dr. Greif who has undergone extensive surgery and bone restructure in order to look and sound like the real Parker. They use a voiceprint of Parker’s modulated voice to convince Dr. Greif that Tom has been eliminated. MI6 storm the academy, subdue the guards, and capture the clones. Alex is lured by the Kyra clone into a trap with Eva but manages to kill her in a laboratory explosion. Wolf and his team find the real Kyra, who has freed the other students. Dr. Greif is taken prisoner (but refuses to cooperate), the clones are killed and Alex returns home. However, back at an empty Point Blanc, Alex's clone imposter emerges.|
|8||Episode Eight||Christopher Smith||Guy Burt||4 June 2020|
|Seeking revenge against Alex, the Clone Alex travels to London. Meanwhile Kyra learns that her parents are dead and escapes the Department's safehouse. She visits Alex's school where they talk about Point Blanc before parting ways. Putting his plan into action, the Clone Alex ruins Alex's relationships with Tom and a girl named Ayisha. Meanwhile, Dr. Greif is assassinated by Yassen to conceal his true employers. Still troubled by his recent adventure and frayed friendship with Tom, Alex tells Mrs Jones about his encounter with a man with a scar. Mrs. Jones realises Yassen Gregorovitch, whom the Department thought dead, is still alive and that SCORPIA, known for causing terrorist incidents, has come out of hiding. The Department also realizes that one of Dr Greif's eight clones is missing. At the school prom, the Clone Alex beats up and apprehends Tom, demanding that Alex meet him. Alex fights his Clone imposter on school grounds as the Department arrives. Tom manages to subdue the Clone Alex, who is arrested by the Department but breaks free. Yassen assassinates the Clone imposter, saving Alex’s life. While Alex wants to return to a normal life, Blunt appears to have other plans for him.|
The official trailer was released in late October 2019. While promoting the series, lead star Otto Farrant praised the show for addressing societal shifts which allowed men to talk about their feelings, sensitivities, and vulnerabilities. He also stated that the series would appeal to a new teenage audience that was discovering the Alex Rider novel series for the first time by avoiding darker themes.
The eight-episode first season was released on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Ireland on 4 June 2020, and is scheduled to be released on Amazon Prime Video in Latin America, Australia, Germany, and Austria. In New Zealand, the television series is distributed by TVNZ On Demand.
In the United States, IMDb TV will broadcast the series, starting on November 13. In Sweden, Denmark and Norway, the series is distributed by the Nordic Entertainment Group's streaming service Viaplay. In the Middle East and North Africa, the series is distributed by Lionsgate's streaming service Starzplay. In sub-Saharan Africa including South Africa, the series is distributed by the South African Showmax streaming service. The series airs on Movistar+ in Spain, KinoPoisk HD in Russia, Nova Cinema in Greece, D-Smart in Turkey, and AXN across multiple European territories including Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
The series airs on Sony Liv in India, KT Corporation in South Korea, and U-Next in Japan. In the United States, the series will premiere on IMDb TV on 13 November. Sony also plans to find distributors for the series in Spain, China, and Australia.
The Guardian's reviewer Lucy Mangan gave the series three out of five stars, describing it as an "improbable, action-packed romp for all your escapism needs." She described Alex Rider as a teenage James Bond, praising the lead star Otto Farrant for bringing more to the role than was written into what she described as a "serviceable script." She described the series as a blend of Jason Bourne and Spooks.
NME's Will Richards gave the series three out of five stars, describing it as a second-chance for the Alex Rider series following the failure of the 2006 Stormbreaker movie adaptation. Richards observed that the series avoided the clichéd James Bond gadgets for the first two episodes. Richards praised Farrant's performance as Alex Rider but opined that the series needed tinkering to identify its target audience. Richards also described co-star Brenock O'Connor's performance as Alex's best friend Tom Harris as charismatic. While praising Marli Siu's character Kyra as a worthy addition to the male-centric world of the series, he expressed disappointment that Vicky McClure and Stephen Dillane's characters were under-utilised.
The Independent's Ed Cumming awarded the series three out of five stars, describing it as "stylish but not sanitised, catching more of the books' momentum and bringing them up to speed with the 21st century." He regarded Alex Rider as more faithful to the series than the 2006 Stormbreaker film. He also praised Farrant's version of Alex Rider as more plausible than Alex Pettyfer's version of the character, describing the "former as a teenage schoolboy with a footballer haircut but less of a male-model energy." Cumming also praised the series for aiming at both young adults and adults, inclusion of modern communications technologies like smartphones and social media, and more diverse cast.
The Spinoff's reviewer Sam Brooks praised the TV series for capturing the spirit of the original novel series and appealing to both teenagers and adult fans who had grown up reading the novel series. Brooks also praised Farrant's performance as Alex Rider, opining that he nailed the soul of the teenage protagonist by capturing his strengths, moods, and fears.
The Telegraph's Anita Singh gave the series four out of five stars, describing it as "slick and stylish, bringing the stories up-to-date with smartphones and cybertechnology while sticking to the spirit of Boy’s Own adventures". She regarded it as far superior to the 2006 film and praised the series for its unique cinematography of London. Singh also positively compared it to the Bourne franchise and praised the series for being able to entertain adults and teenagers alike.
Emmy Griffiths of Hello! magazine compared the television series favourably to the 2006 film, praising the show's pacing, worldbuilding, and family-oriented audience. She described the series as both a "coming-of-age tale" for Alex Rider with a police-procedural subplot focusing on MI6's efforts to track down Alex's uncle Ian's killer. Griffiths also praised Farrant, McClure, and O'Connor's performances.
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Alex gets chummy with a pupil named James in both versions, but the book one is German and the TV one is Australian, played by Earl Cave.
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- Llewellyn, Tom (4 June 2020). "Amazon Prime: Where was Alex Rider filmed? Spy drama fakes the French Alps!". HITC. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- on YouTube
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- Kanter, Jake; Kanter, Jake (2020-07-14). "'Alex Rider': Amazon Streamer IMDb TV Takes U.S. Rights To Sony Spy Series". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
- Dams, Tim (20 May 2020). "Sony Sells Teen Spy Series 'Alex Rider' to Viaplay, Starzplay and Showmax in Slate of Deals". Variety. Archived from the original on 13 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
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- Cuming, Ed (3 June 2020). "Alex Rider review: Buckle up for polished yet safe spy thriller that leaves 2006's Stormbreaker in the dust". The Independent. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
- Singh, Anita (4 June 2020). "Alex Rider, review: Jason Bourne Jr will keep the whole family entertained". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
- Griffiths, Emmy (4 June 2020). "Alex Rider Amazon show is the adaptation fans have been waiting for". Hello!. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.