Reacher’s Success Reveals What Streaming Audiences Want

Prime Video’s Reacher is pulling big numbers for the streamer, proving that simple, fun TV is as popular as ever.

Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) sits at a desk combing through files in Prime Video's Reacher
Photo: Brooke Palmer | Prime Video

Season 2 of Prime Video’s Reacher didn’t premiere until the last month of 2023, Dec. 15 to be exact, but that didn’t stop the show from becoming the streaming platform’s most-watched series of the year. While the official Nielsen data hasn’t been released for season 2 yet, Amazon revealed (via Deadline) that the three-episode premiere surpassed all of season 1’s viewership by 50%. At first glance, this seems odd for a show that appears to fly under so many people’s radar, but the numbers don’t lie – Reacher is a hit.

While Reacher is unfortunately beholden to the 10 episode-or-less season limits imposed by most streaming services, it still manages to capture the thrill of a weekly drama that audiences are clearly craving. Reacher also isn’t a series that requires a lot of past knowledge to follow. Of course there are fans coming in who have read the books by Lee Child that the series is based on, but there are plenty of others, myself included, who really just enjoy watching Alan Ritchson and his massive muscles beat up a bunch of dudes every week.

Reacher is a simple show, and I don’t mean that as an insult. It’s a show that the viewer can easily get lost in for an hour every week to forget about their problems. It’s a show where the good guy wins by taking down corrupt institutions with his bare hands (and fists). The characters are well-developed, but not overly complicated. Reacher is just good, simple, fun, and that seems to be what audiences want.

Netflix already proved this with the success of The Night Agent last year. Over 812 million hours of The Night Agent were watched in the first half of 2023, according to Netflix’s viewership data report. It’s clear that people want addictive action-thrillers and TV reminiscent of the detective shows that used to fill hours of time on broadcast and cable channels. Shows like Reacher and The Night Agent aren’t “mystery of the week” dramas by any means, but they still capture the basic rush of uncovering clues and chasing down the bad guy.


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