The Blacklist

Pilot: NBC's newest crime drama (?procedural...still hard to tell with this first episode) has gotten me hooked onto it within the opening minute. An enigmatic and intriguing start, which got weighed down by too much exposition over the course of the pilot. James Spader has got the creepy vibe emanating throughout (echoes of James Purefoy's Joe Carroll from "The Following") and director Joe Carnahan's penchant for close ups is definitely not helping. Although Spader should cut down on the over-acting. Megan Boone on the other hand, well, let's hope she turns out like Anna Torv from "Fringe" but don't take too long to thaw. As for that whole family angle, without spoiling too much, at first I thought they were going to go all first season "Alias" on us, but then, they spin it around in the second Act with a second/third season "Alias" scenario, but in the end, I was just hoping, please just don't let it be final season "Alias". One thing this show needs to concentrate on is try not to have the audience suspend their believe too much (see "The Following"). Will continue to watch on, but I guess the season long arc may just be: "Why her?", and I do hope the creators come up with a better reason than the most obvious one, but please no Rimbaldi-like mythology. Good to see Henry Lennix ("The Dollhouse") again, but is leaving "Homeland" going to pay out for Diego Klatenhoff?

Episode 2, "The Freelancer (NO. 145)": A good follow-up to the pilot, but still a big heavy on the exposition. Introduction of Parminder Nagra is interesting (what is the difference between FBI and CIA?), and I like her already, so hoping she gets more useful than Lennix or Klatenhoff. Speaking of Klatenhoff, is he getting blonder? And Megan Boone seems more bloated. Sadly, she is still the weakest acting link of the cast. Those final minutes, she was rather bland. Spader on the other hand, is way over acting, and chewing the scenery. So now that the husband is awake, let's hope that storyline moves on. Oh, one thing this show is guilty of, is over complicating scenes for the sake of drama.

Episode 3, "Wujing (No. 84)": Ah...Singapore boy Chin Han is doing good. But it sure will be great if one day he can get out of being typecast as the evil Chinese/PRC baddie. His Singaporean accented Mandarin is a welcome relief though. Anyways, Megan Boone is really boring and bland. That whole blank expression she has on her face throughout makes her a damn good "spy". Otherwise, this is turning into a rather standard procedural, but at least the mystery of the hubby is still in place. And that frankly is getting more interesting than why Reddington chose Keene. But we got to have some answers for all that soon (Sweeps?) or it might just get boring.

Episode #4, "The Stewmaker (No. 161)": Who comes up with these names?? I think they sometimes forget that Elizabeth is actually still a rookie, and should be treated as one. Diego Klatenhoff is finally getting some dimensions, but the show is moving along very slowly. I might just lose interest like what happened towards "Persons of Interest". It seems to me that they can't decide whether to make the husband a good guy or bad guy. The big problems with full-order network series is that the good episodes, game changers are usually during Sweeps months, and the rest of the time we are stuck with fillers. I don't mind split seasons like "Lost" in the past, at least that minimises downtime.

Episode #5, "The Courier (No. 85)": At last a worthy cliffhanger to hook me on to next week. Will it be a cop-out? Is the husband going to be a white hat? Or black hat? Won't be surprised if they start the next ep with a time jump, or "XXX hours/days ago".

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