The Blacklist “Pilot” Review
✔James Spader is fantastic in this role
✔The last half hour threw me for a loop
✘Beginning was a bit slow & predictable
✘Megan Boone as Keen is not as great as Spader
New dramas are a tough sell these days and it is no secret that NBC has struggled the last couple years with keeping a show on the air. Their most consistent programming has been The Voice and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I think NBC has finally found something, besides these shows, that can be their network calling card. Let’s be honest, being known for a music show and a police drama that has run its course is not something to be proud of, but with The Blacklist, they may finally be on to something.
The Blacklist stars James Spader as Red Reddington, a known and wanted criminal by FBI, and Megan Boone as Elizabeth (Liz) Keen, an FBI profiler on her first day of the job. The episode begins with Red turning himself in willingly to the FBI. His only demand before he starts giving up information is to speak to Liz Keen. Red then gives the FBI information about a U.S. General’s daughter who is about to be abducted by an international criminal once thought to be dead. This is the first case Red works with Keen on.
As someone who is very, very picky with the television shows I choose to watch, even I have to admit The Blacklist was highly entertaining. I watch one series on the alphabet networks and that’s Once Upon A Time. I watch that because it is a fun show. Very rarely have I watched a drama on one of the network channels for its whole run; last one was Lost. The series I watch are all on the cable networks (Breaking Bad, True Blood, The Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, etc.)The Blacklist has me hooked. What I liked so much was how unexpected some events were.
About 20 minutes in, the point where the General’s daughter is abducted, I was tempted to turn it. It was extremely predictable to that point. It felt like a generic police procedural and that’s putting it politely. But I stuck it out and kept watching. I am glad I did so! The ending twist was brilliant and the way the abduction of the General’s daughter was solved was something right out of Homeland. James Spader is a gem. He plays Red so well. He feels like a new Gregory House, except I imagine Red is a lot more violent and ruthless. This feels like the kind of role an actor will be known for for the rest of their life.
I wish I could say the same for Megan Boone though. I didn’t think she was all that special. I think she was a pretty girl who can cry on queue. She was ok. I didn’t feel as if she was being fed her lines but I’m holding out the hope that she will get better with time. Another big negative for me was that I felt the first half was slow and predictable. I think that’s just a side effect of being a pilot. Lots to establish before the fun begins.
I really suggest this show to anyone looking for something more refreshing on the alphabet channels. I think with the right publicity and a continuously well written script, that this show can really be a hit for NBC. It is not perfect but it has hooked me and I’m not easy to hook. I will tune in next week to see what unfolds.