Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TV Snap Judgment: The Blacklist

Well, that was an exciting start to a show!

"The Blacklist," the new NBC drama starring James Spader and Megan Boone, is off and running with a downright thrilling pilot, full of twists and turns and drama and car crashes and explosions and bombs and mysteries upon mysteries. The biggest question is: Will "The Blacklist" be able to sustain its excitement for an entire season?

"The Blacklist" surrounds FBI Most Wanted criminal Red Reddington (James Spader), who turns himself in on agent Elizabeth Keen's (Megan Boone) first day on the job and demands to speak only with her. He then helps lead her to a terrorist with a plan to detonate a bomb in Washington, D.C. But there are deeper mysteries here - why did Reddington want to speak only with Keen? Is Reddington actually working with the terrorists he's trying to stop? What secrets are Keen's remarkably bland husband hiding? 

The pilot of "The Blacklist" is worth watching simply to see James Spader act. He is spectacular as genius criminal Reddington. If the team behind this show is smart, they will make sure to use Spader to his fullest potential in this role. He's slick and secretive and a fascinating-to-watch sociopath. The man is a master at this sort of character, and he's just a joy to watch. If "The Blacklist" makes it for several seasons, the main reason will be because Spader is just so fantastic. 

Spader has a decent foil in Megan Boone as FBI rookie Elizabeth Keen. Her performance is basic, but it works. It's necessary for her to be the normal one in order to showcase the delicious quirkiness of Spader's performance, and she performs her task admirably. I did see some flashes of potential in her. As her character develops from a by-the-book FBI agent to a more interesting partner for Reddington, we'll get to see if she really has what it takes to be a co-lead on a big show like "The Blacklist."

I'm totally intrigued by where this show is going, and I hope that "The Blacklist" can sustain the mysteries for the entire season. The real trick is to reveal enough each week to give the audience a bone, while still keeping the mystery alive. There are a lot of balls in the air right now, and I have visions of the writers juggling those balls letting some of them fall, which would be disappointing. Done right, though, "The Blacklist" could be a pretty darn fantastic show. You better believe I'll be watching next week!

No comments:

Post a Comment