We watch a lot of TV – some of it good and some of it…not so good. For the 2013 pilot season, we’re checking out a few series we won’t be writing on regularly, but may check back on throughout the season. First on the docket: NBC’s The Blacklist
Let’s bitch it out…
This is one of the supposed heavy hitters of the 2013 pilot season. It’s an action thriller featuring a well-known TV star in James Spader with a surefire semi-procedural premise. There’s an aura of familiarity to the proceedings (almost like a recipe): a dash of Silence of the Lambs, a touch of 24 with a dollop of the procedural trappings of your average cop drama. Amp up the ‘splosions, throw in some Alias-esque mythology, give the sucker a catchy name, and voilà…you have The Blacklist.
As far as pilots go, this one is pretty straight-forward in terms of wearing the action on its sleeve. There’s virtually no set-up as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington (James Spader) walks into the FBI, offers himself up and drags newbie Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) into the mix. There’s an odorous whiff of Smash in the adoption storyline, so let’s hope that this disappears fairly quickly now that a) Lizzie is Blacklist-ing new criminals on a weekly basis and b) she’s discovered that her mild-mannered husband, Tom (Ryan Eggold) is some kind of spy/criminal/counterfeiter.
By the end of the 42 mins, Red and Lizzie have established a good camaraderie and there are a few tantalizing plot threads (what’s the deal with Tom? how are Red and Lizzie connected?) that will feed the show as it churns through weekly standalone plots. Overall The Blacklist is worth a look, though it definitely fits the description of a series that doesn’t need weekly coverage.
- I like both Diego Klattenhoff (Homeland) as potential love interest/fellow agent, Donald Ressler and Harry Lennix (Dollhouse) as FBI honcho, Harold Cooper. If I didn’t know their previous work, though, I might be less enamoured with them
- Spader definitely seems to be having a ball playing the bald baddie, though I would have liked a little more realism to some of these early adventures. Lizzie stabs Red in the carotid, but he’s up and running around the next day. Ditto Lizzie and Donald: they survive the bridge attack with little more than some perfectly applied scratches. Memo received, Blacklist writers…this series says bollocks to verisimilitude!
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC. Depending on whether the show succeeds (ie: does not get canceled), we will check back in if a particular episode merits attention