2013-09-28

Blacklist –

by Yo Snyder

Few if any TV shows get me interested in watching them on the ol tele.  Rarely do I have time to sit and watch a TV show in its entirety so if I do catch one, its usually in bits and pieces online.  I point that out to do justice to my desire to catch a new fall show on TV, albeit with a bunny ear antenna.  I caught a preview of the new fall show Blacklist and was excited at its premise, so much so that I wanted to catch its premier on TV.  As fate would have it, the time slot fit perfectly for my wife and I to enjoy some brief downtime together after the kids were tucked away.  If you don’t read any further, let me just start by saying, I can’t wait to see where they take this series and was not disappointed by the pilot.

Blacklist follows Ray Reddington, one the FBI’s most wanted, as he turns himself in and proceeds to inform on his fellow criminals.  Oh, but these aren’t just any criminals, these are the shady underbelly of the world that even the FBI does not realize exist.  So begins our new series where a once decorated agent (Ray) turned bad guy now turns himself in to help the FBI hunt down other bad guys.

The show sets up many different story lines to explore which all look very promising.  Who is Ray Reddington?  Why did a once decorated agent turn bad?  Why is he now turning himself in?  And why is he helping the FBI hunt bad guys?  The pilot sets up some relationships as well which add some additional cliff hangers to the end of the first episode.  We also see that Ray’s motives do not appear all that altruistic so we also wait to see if Ray has turned a new leaf or is simply using the FBI.

So as excited as I am to see where the series goes, I also have to admit, I am a bit apprehensive.  Why you ask?  Because my experience with great stories (such as Blacklist looks to be) is that writers/producers/directors/networks – you know “the man with the plan” often fail to follow through with original plan/storyline and take us down a rabbit hole of multiple season add ons.  I have seen many a great series get burned in the ever growing veer away from original story lines (think Fringe or Burn Notice).  I would love for a TV series to start out with a clear vision of where they would take a single season (in case it gets axed), a 3 season, and perhaps a 5 season run.  Take on a story line that you can tidy up in the last few episodes if no renewal occurs, and then progress to original plan for as long as you can ride the wave through your original vision. Its rare to see a great series that has a clear storyline continue for multiple seasons without butchering the story.  Series such as Seinfeld or Big Bang Theory don’t have a multidimensional storyline which requires some coherence, they are for the most part independent comedy shorts that can go on indefinitely (and thank goodness cause I love em).  But series like Blacklist require some thoughtful consideration as to how to draw out a storyline without getting lost in an unknown amount of future episodes.

So, if you are like me, you are excited for what looks to be a really cool storyline but perhaps also like me, you see the potential for a complicated plot to get bogged down in the ever expanding story for the sake of network multi-season runs…  Lets hope this one stays true to its story and does not fall victim to a multi-season downfall of its original plot.

Rating – 6 out of 7 for the pilot and where it can go, I’ll check back in and tell you if that rating stands after a few more episodes.  Also take note – the 9pm time slot is because the show is violent and has some fairly brutal images.