‘Alex Rider’ first original offering for streaming service IMDb TV

Rick's Reviews

Otto Farrant stars in the new IMDb TV series “Alex Rider.” (Photo courtesy of IMDb TV)

Anthony Horowitz wrote the first book featuring the young spy Alex Rider two decades ago. Since then, he has written 12 more books (with sales of more than 20 million copies) featuring the exploits of the character and watched as Alex Rider jumped to the big screen in the 2006 release “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker.”

His creation is making another big move as “Alex Rider” has become the first original series from IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service. The entire series will be available for viewing starting Nov. 13.

The Alex Rider in the new coming-of-age spy-thriller series is  different from the one that debuted in the book Stormbreaker.

“I think the character has certainly developed in the course of those books,” Horowitz says. “He’s darkened a little bit. He’s grown a little more adult.

“I made the decision not to age him a year at a time which is just as well because if I had done that he would be 34 and that wouldn’t work.”

The character did go from 14 to 15 ½ through the book series but remains the same accomplished teen who has been dealing in espionage for so many years. Horowitz explains that the first three books in the Alex Rider series were very light as they were aimed at young readers. The later works took on the edgier tone he wanted.

In the new streaming service series, Rider (played by Otto Farrant) is a London based teenager who has unknowingly been trained since childhood for the dangerous world of spies. He gets pressured to help investigate his uncle’s death and how it connects to the assassination of two high-profile billionaires.

He is the perfect person to go undercover at a remote boarding school called Point Blanc that is connected to the case. The story that unfolds against the French Alps is based on Horowitz’s second book in the franchise, Point Blanc.

The Alex Rider series has been the top line of books for Horowitz but the British writer has produced numerous other works. Along with the eight books in his young adult series The Diamond Brothers, Horowitz has written: two Sherlock Holmes novels; two James Bond novels; and the play “Mindgames.”

Horowitz wrote the screenplay for the 2006 feature film based on his book. He was generally happy with the way the 2006 movie turned out  but there was one thing he did not accomplish.

“I had always wanted the film to skew a little bit older. A little bit harder. A little bit edgier,” Horowitz says. “I lost that argument because Harvey Weinstein, who was the producer of the time, would tend to have his own way.

“I am sorry about that because otherwise I thought it was a very good film.”

Horowitz was not the writer on the TV series but kept a close watch on the production often having arguments with the producer and director to make sure the character in the TV show stayed true to the book. He points to being determined to make sure they didn’t have the teen spy doing something he wouldn’t do such as carry a gun.

His efforts proved successful and the author is happy with the series especially because of the edge that the show has been given. He was so determined to make sure the series was as strong as it could be because he wants those who have not read the book (or just now finding them) to be entertained. There’s also the readers who have been with the character for 20 years and Horowitz wants them to be happy with what has been done.

Horowitz explains that taking care of both audiences was easier because the books are being presented as an eight-part production. That opened up the avenues to expand the story including such elements as Rider’s relationship with his friends to his antagonistic dealings with MI-6.

There will be even more opportunities to expand the story as a second season of “Alex Rider” has already been ordered for IMDb TV. The next season will be based on Eagle Strike, the fourth novel in the franchise.

To learn more about IMDb TV, go to www.amazon.com/imdbtv.

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