Reacher Season 2 Episodes 01-03 – Never Underestimate the Power of ‘Dad TV’: Reacher is the Best in Its Genre!

SERIES REVIEW – Lee Child’s creation, Reacher, is a smart, incredibly strong character who comes out of the military and roams the country without a home or a steady job. A quintessential wandering hero – both in the books and in the Amazon Prime Video series Reacher, which launched its second season on Friday – he uses the skills he honed as a military police investigator in the US Army to help others. Reacher is also an excellent example of a genre that some critics have dubbed ‘dad TV’ – similar to the 1960s term ‘dad movies’.



To me, ‘dad TV’ is one of those pop culture terms that might have been intended as an insult, but actually describes a strong and powerful genre. These are TV shows that cater to and reflect the perspective of middle-aged men – men in their 30s and 40s, who often happen to be fathers – who want to see characters similar to themselves in the films and series they watch.

Examples include the intelligence analyst portrayed by John Krasinski in the Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series on Prime Video. Or Harry Bosch, the jazz-loving cop turned private investigator played with passion by Titus Welliver in Amazon Prime Video’s Bosch: Legacy.



Ritchson is the perfect Reatcher


Alan Ritchson is the perfect embodiment of Reacher. The towering, muscular actor captures the character so well from Child’s books that we quickly forget the weaker films in which a much less convincing and shorter Tom Cruise played the role.

It’s no coincidence that Amazon’s streaming platforms, Prime Video and Freevee, which also operate in our region, are pushing so many dad TV stories and chasing mainstream hits like hounds on the trail of a fox.

It’s a strategy that worked best with Reacher – a hero sharp enough to notice a car tailing him for days, bold enough to set off the airbags of that same car by stepping on the front bumper, and wild enough to pull the equally burly driver out of the car and beat him up in a matter of seconds… before realising that maybe that wasn’t the best idea.



This ‘dad TV’ is not just for dads


In the second series, Reacher is reunited with members of his old army investigative unit; one of their team has been murdered and they fear they’re all on a hit list for unknown reasons.

As the new episodes unfold, the story covers a range of emotions that fathers can relate to. Reacher teams up with a beautiful former colleague – Serinda Swan as Karla Dixon – whom he was attracted to but couldn’t romance while supervising her in the army (fathers often fantasise about reuniting with their old flames). He’s the kind of guy who reacts to pointless obstacles by ploughing through them, using either his sharp mind or his fists like sledgehammers (fathers also often fantasise about beating up those who annoy them or get in their way).

The scene where Reacher takes down a guy who is trying to force a woman to give him all her money from an ATM ticks all the boxes of superhero and crime-fighting fantasies that I think we can all identify with.



The real ‘fantasy’ is living life on your own terms


Reacher is first and foremost a character who has been freed from all the pressures and responsibilities that many fathers face on a daily basis. He has no wife, no steady love interest, no children, no family – not even a mortgage, rent or full-time job. He leads a nomadic life, going where he wants, doing what he wants, funded by his military pension and the kindness of strangers.

And although there are moments in this second season when Reacher wonders why his wandering lifestyle prevented him from knowing anything about the lives of his comrades until they got into serious trouble, the show’s attitude towards Reacher is mostly that he’s a cool guy, living life the best way he knows how and wants to.

This season’s episodes have a few more awkward moments than the first – which mostly worked up to its bombastic, explosive conclusion. Despite the premise of the military comrades reuniting to saddle up again, there are few partnerships as effective as Reacher’s alliance with Willa Fitzgerald’s tough cop and Malcolm Goodwin’s piercing investigator from last season. (His relationship with his former master sergeant, Frances Neagley, played with effortless ease by Maria Sten, comes close).

Still, the new season of Reacher remains an entertaining journey, taking an impressive character on an adventure full of wish-fulfilment, fistfights, a touch of romance and heroes fighting for justice.

And in the end, that’s pretty much the basic mission of successful dad TV.

-Gergely Herpai (BadSector)-


Reacher Season 2 Episodes 01-03

Direction - 8.2
Actors - 8.4
Story - 8.2
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.2
Ambience - 8.2



The second season of the Reacher series: Alan Ritchson's authentic and impressive performance embodies the character created by Lee Child, surpassing previous adaptations. The series, targeting middle-aged men, insightfully and powerfully portrays the world of heroes and justice fighters. The second season is an entertaining journey into the realms of wish fulfillment, fistfights, and romance, maintaining the essence of the 'Dad TV' genre.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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