Update, August, 2017: The Archangel TV series with Daniel Craig was recently added to Amazon Prime videos. It is still, as of this update, available on Netflix in the US.
Can anything new be done with the classic spy thriller? Inspired by cold war era politics and public fascination with double agents, the CIA and international intrigue, there are seemingly countless movies and TV shows that have, collectively, done about all that can be done with this genre. Still, many of us enjoy revisiting familiar territory as long as it’s an enjoyable journey.
Archangel is a spy drama series based on the book by Robert Harris. Tough it takes place in contemporary Russia, it feels like the cold war era. Shown on BBC TV in 2005, Archangel stars Daniel Craig, a year before he was first seen as James Bond. Though not an international spy here, he might as well be. As history professor Christopher Kelso, Craig is caught up in the search for a notebook from the Stalin era. In pursuit of the notebook and the truth behind it, he – of course – becomes involved with a young woman, and they are chased across Russia by plane, train and automobile.
Though there are no real surprises along the way; things move along at a reasonably fast pace with enough Russian scenery (Archangel was filmed in both Russia and Latvia) to help keep your interest. As with many spy novels, the story becomes less believable as it nears the conclusion. The hope is that we are invested by that point and will stay on board for the thrilling conclusion.
Originally intended to be a feature film, the Archangel TV series clocks in at three episodes totaling a little over two hours. If you are a fan of spy movies and looking for something to watch online before you start another lengthy, multiple episode series, Archangel is a good choice for your Netflix instant viewing list.