The Blacklist (2013-?)
I liked it! Television drama can get stale and formulaic even irrationally obscure. This one thrives because it is basically a resume builder that is working. There are so many different directors and writers attached to a 1.5 season project that it’s surprising. Naturally, James Spader is amazing. Megan Boone is a decent middle-class pretty face with swiss army skills that can be called upon as needed and a personal/professional life that can do the same. Keen is basically putty that is stretched however is most convenient. Red develops more like a well-planned maze – in the hands of the different brains working on his story there are avenues that are unexplored that might lead to dead ends while others open up whole new areas to advance into. The supporting cast support well but a little more work could be done on them.
In the end though, it’s more like a CIA perversion of the FBI than a true representation of the Bureau. It’s possible the writers felt the CIA was too played-out? Maybe with ALIAS and it’s ilk, it was time to move in a new but old direction? If you like spies, you’ll like this show. If you like intelligence and operations co-mingled then you’ll like this show.
I’d hate to ruin it for anyone as I have seen the first season and a couple episodes of the 2nd but I must say that I really quite enjoy it. I will say that I do like that if the writing has set someone up as a criminal or heroic strategist capable of knowing and doing more than we could have ever imagined – I really like it when that plays through. Heroic vulnerability and a sympathetic criminals are interesting of course but don’t ask me to believe someone is amazing only to spend all your time breaking them down or hamstringing them. Let them strut, let them out to play, let them keep us interested.