The show is more a 4.5 rather than a full 5 just to start with.
After the pretty abysmal movie a decade and a half ago (I rewatched it last year and... Yeah it's very cheesy and over the top), a TV series has been made, though starting from scratch with Point Blanc instead of Stormbreaker (I'm told it's due to licensing issues with those who made the Stormbreaker film). I was a little worried about the show, but also very excited. The movie was awful, and while I enjoyed the books to death as a kid, reading them as an adult, you can tell they were made for kids and nothing else. So part of me wondered exactly how this would be adapted for a TV show. Initially I thought maybe 1 book every few episodes, but somehow they managed to successfully turn a 200 page book into an 8 episode series. In my personal opinion, the show is more for young adults and people my age (27) who grew up with the books. The series is way, WAYYYY more serious than the movie and can actually be pretty dark. That's not to say it doesn't have charm, there are a couple scenes in the series I laughed. But this is the Spy business, it's not meant to be all fun and games.
If you've read the book, you pretty much know how the series will play out, with some obvious differences and way more fleshed out characters, but the main structure is the same. It's definitely more modernised and they use today's technology well. For example in the Stormbreaker book, Alex finds Ian's car being towed away, but in the first episode of the series (a VERY MILD SPOILER but it is the first episode), he uses the Find My Phone app, which is actually really clever thinking. The series does it a lot where it gives you a chekhovs gun scenario and then fires it within a few episodes, and it does this very well. The series does tie up many loose ends by the final episode but it does leave it open to a series 2, which I thoroughly hope happens. I have been following the production of the series for a while and actually wondered if it would ever be aired, so hearing it was going to be on Amazon Prime put my mind, somewhat, at ease.
As for some of the characters, each role is filled out pretty perfectly (with a couple exceptions), and even takes some characters from the Stormbreaker book and places them in this series instead. Alex, for example, is... kind of perfect. He has charm, he's not overly cocky, he's not a Mary Sue all the time (even if he has been trained by his uncle in many things). It's honestly weird because he actually looks like how I imagined him in the books, so he's very much the perfect fit. There's a few differences from the books, for example Alex's school crush isn't "Sabina" it's a girl named "Ayisha". He also has a best friend, Tom, a character who is actually from later books in the series brought into the show now, who still plays a role in the series even with Alex in France. The antagonists, Eva and Dr. Greif are pretty damn good villains and somewhat intimidating. You also have Alan Blunt, Mrs. Jones and Smithers all played very professionally and stern, as they should be. Alex also has a housekeeper, Jack, who... isn't as fun as I imagined I must admit. The actress kind of just sounds bored to play her? It's kind of weird. Finally, we have the main man... Yassen! The film Yassen was..... Okay, but a bit of a douche. This Yassen is... Careful. Calm. Collected. He knows his next move before he takes his current move, and it's badass.
Overall the series is pretty great. It has it's slow moments, and there are some scenes the lighting is too damn dark to see. For a series that only had Amazon Prime as it's publisher after it had been filmed and edited, they did a pretty fantastic job making the series. Finally, one of my favourite book series gets the treatment it deserves.
Please Amazon... Greenlight a series 2.