Those well versed in the high-octane YA spy thriller fare of the early aughts may feel a frisson of excitement at hearing the name Alex Rider after all these years. For the uninitiated, he’s the titular teen protagonist of British writer Anthony Horowitz’s bestselling series, which began with 2000’s Stormbreaker (Philomel), took a hiatus that lasted from 2011–17, and most recently published earlier this year with Nightshade (Philomel). The franchise has spawned numerous graphic novels, short stories, a video game, and a 2006 movie starring Alex Pettyfer—and on November 13, it will expand to include an eight-episode show called Alex Rider, released on Amazon’s free streaming service IMDb TV.
Based on the second novel, Point Blank (2002), and updated with a diverse cast and newer technology, the series follows the eponymous London-based teenager Alex Rider (Otto Farrant), whose Uncle Ian (Andrew Buchan), an MI6 agent, has been subtly training him for the espionage profession since childhood. When investigating his uncle’s death, Alex is approached by agents Alan Blunt (Stephen Dillane, perhaps best known as Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones) and Mrs. Jones (Vicky McClure). The duo hails from the Department of Special Operations, the subdivision of the British Secret Intelligence Service that employed his uncle, and they have a proposition for the teen. Reluctantly, Alex goes undercover to infiltrate Point Blanc, a boarding school in the French Alps for the unmanageable scions of the wealthy, where all is not as it seems.
Directed by Andreas Prochaska and Christopher Smith, the series is produced by British company Eleventh Hour Films and Sony Pictures Television, with executive producers Guy Burt, Jill Green, Eve Gutierrez, and Horowitz himself. BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Burt adapted the series, adding new characters and fleshing out existing ones with Horowitz’s blessing.
“We’re so thrilled that Sony is going to introduce Alex Rider and his adventures to a TV audience,” said Ken Wright, president and publisher of Philomel. “We’ve had the privilege of working with Anthony on this series for years and can’t wait to see our favorite characters on screen.”
This past June, Amazon Prime renewed the series for a second season. While production was scheduled to begin later this year, pandemic-related delays caused shooting to be pushed back until January 2021.