Slow Pacing May Be Fatal for Terminal List

The Terminal List is an eight-episode Prime Video series based off the popular book. It stars Chris Pratt and while it is a whole lot of fun for action fans, that is about all this show has going for it. Having not read the book, it is hard to compare the two, but it can be assumed the book is much more entertaining than the series.

As someone who enjoys a good conspiracy theory, the description sounded like a series that would have my attention from the start. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Each of these episodes is about an hour long, but they feel much longer.

The story follows a Navy SEAL who is one of two survivors of a horrific accident. So why did the federal government tell him that he's the sole survivor? It quickly becomes one of those shows that has the audience doubting they even know the truth, which is the best part about the story itself. There are twists and turns. Although most of them are predictable, it is a lot of fun to watch Pratt take on another action role.

Setting the Stage

The Terminal List has several massive action sequences, which will have fans of this sort of thing thrilled. Even though the story is lacking at times, each episode is good for some all-out brawls, chases, or something action related.

Slow Pacing May Be Fatal for Terminal List
Image Courtesy of Prime Video

There is a lot of drama mixed in with the action, and while it isn’t completely unpredictable, it does add to the depth of the show. Pratt excels at the dramatic and heroic roles, which is exactly who his character, James Reece, is in this show. The problem is that the rest of this cast, aside from Taylor Kitsch, is far overshadowed by Pratt, making their characters feel unbelievable and unrelatable. Pratt is clearly the star here.

For those who enjoy a dark story, The Terminal List delivers on that aspect as well. Even with knowing how it is going to all shake out in the end (without having read the book, remember), it is entertaining enough to power through to the end.

Slow Pacing May Be Fatal for Terminal List
Image Courtesy of Prime Video

The biggest issue is the long episodes that seem to drag out the story and add in unnecessary drama and twists. Because of this, chances are many viewers will fall off the show, or maybe even skip forward to the ending just to see if they were right.

What A Twist!

The story itself is a little bit confusing at times, likely because of the twists they throw in to keep audiences guessing. The Terminal List would have worked much better as a movie, but it is clear the intention is to set up for a James Reece-led series with multiple seasons.

If it had been a movie, it wouldn’t have to be dragged out too much, with unnecessary added elements, and Chris Pratt would have been allowed to shine the whole way through. Instead, there are moments that will pull viewers completely out of the series. Not knowing if these are there to add in new elements that weren’t in the book, or pulled right from the book, makes it hard to completely critique them. However, if they were in the written story, they should have been passed over.

The Terminal List is not completely horrible or unwatchable, but it is a series that is hard to recommend to everyone. If you enjoy action, drama, and Chris Pratt though, this is one for you. It just would have worked much better as a movie that clocks in right under two hours, that you can watch on the big screen. Considering the epic action sequences, it would be best watched on the largest screen possible – sans the dragged-out plots and storyline.

Rating: 6/10 SPECS

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Featured Image Courtesy of Prime Video.


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Tessa Smith owns MamasGeeky.com and is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic and a huge geek. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Hollywood Critics Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association. She grew up watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books -- and still loves all of those things. She proudly lets her geek flag fly and spreads the word that there is nothing wrong with being a geek.