The Blacklist: Will You Watch the NBC Drama Again?

The Blacklist TV show on NBCLast year, NBC found early ratings success with Revolution on Monday nights at 10pm. Will The Blacklist be a big hit, a moderate success, or quickly cancelled? Is it worth watching?

On The Blacklist, Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is a former government agent who’s been selling classified information to terrorists. A wanted man, he turns himself in one day out of the blue. He offers to make a deal.

He will help the FBI capture terrorists but only if he’s partnered with a certain newbie FBI agent named Elizabeth Keene (Megan Boone). Why her? Therein lies part of the mystery. Others in the cast include Harry Lennix, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, and Ilfenesh Hadera.

Does the show sound interesting? Here’s what some critics are saying?

TIME:The Blacklist, though, seems to be setting itself up to be largely a bad-guy-of-the-week show, and the pilot’s first caper is not too promising in that respect. So the show’s success moving ahead is going to depend on how interesting Reddington and Keen’s backstories become, and how much those are overwhelmed by the self-contained ticking-time-bomb scenarios. For now, though, how much you enjoy The Blacklist depends on whether you enjoy watching Spader enough to overlook all the times you’re not.”

NY Daily News: “It’s a showcase role for Spader, whose every sentence suggests he knows way more than he’s telling and makes us want to know it, too. Boone’s character also seems destined to roll out slowly, and the rest of the cast provides solid structure around them… The Blacklist won’t be the most cerebral show on television. It’s a fast-paced mystery that’s just plain entertaining.”

Columbus Dispatch: “Nothing new here, on the surface, but creator Jon Bokencamp, who has a couple of Halle Berry thrillers under his belt, knows how to breathe new life into familiar setups. A show like The Blacklist reminds us that ‘imagination’ doesn’t always mean coming up with a unique story idea for a new show: Sometimes, it can mean reviving a familiar, even shopworn, concept like the bad guy helping the good guys solve crimes.”

Boston Globe: “There is absolutely nothing in the pilot that makes me eager to return, not Spader’s theatrical performance, which seems destined to become monotonous, or Boone, who is fine as Keen, but only that. The plot twists come too fast and they are too flagrantly preposterous, particularly as Red and the FBI track down the mega-baddie of the week.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “Spader is delicious to watch as he manipulates everyone around him. And there’s genuine suspense in the pilot episode, offering up hope that this could indeed be a good series.”

Boston Herald: “Somebody really loved Silence of the Lambs. NBC’s thoroughly unofficial homage is not without its treats. James Spader stars as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, an ex-government agent turned mercenary, a classified documents leaker who makes Edward Snowden look as if he’s been dropping Post-it notes.”

Newsday: “Spader seems to be the only one who actually gets the gameplay here. The blacklist is what our mad genius calls his criminal inventory, because ‘it sounds exciting,’ lip smack, grin. The actor’s strut recalls brain-candy romps like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. elegantly preposterous tongue-in-cheek adventures. And the script seems to incite his appetite. But everyone else acts 21st century serious, which, after a zillion CSI-style bleakfests, is really, like, so over.”

THR: “It’s certainly an intriguing pilot – you can’t take your eyes off of Spader, and the writers have thrown in a couple of other interesting twists. It’s likely that The Blacklist will at least approach the bad-guy-a-week format of a closed-ended procedural that doesn’t tax viewers’ brains too much. But in the process, the pilot suggests there are other things to keep you interested along the way. That is, beyond just sitting there eating popcorn and basking in the delicious way that Spader takes on this role. He’s enough to warrant a real long look at The Blacklist, but there seems to be more depth there for the long haul as well.”

What do you think? Do you agree with any of the critics? Is The Blacklist worth watching? If you’ve seen it, will you watch again?

Canceled and renewed TV show

20 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Scott says

    A bit too preposterous and jumps all over the place. Spader sits in a special cell as if he is Hannibal Lecter in one scene then the next thing he’s in a 5 star hotel room or at dinner. He knows times and places of every event, yet he’s confined to his cell…as if bad guys plans have never changed. I also always love when the bad guys know the exact route of the FBI transport, and have time to setup a well orchestrated ambush, all in a matter of a couple hours. Just to silly for me to take.

  2. Anonymous says

    I liked it. To the poster that said they give cops more credit than this show did, I know cops and the show is more accurate than you might like. They aren’t ninnies, but they do look for the simplest answer. The problem is they are right half the time, but the times they are wrong it takes a long time for them to believe it.

  3. Why Watch says

    Interesting enough to give it another look next week. Also the ratings suggest it won’t be cancelled in the next week or two.

    The one issue with many of these shows is that it portrays the police authority (whichever one it may be) as an inept group. I give them more respect than that.

  4. Anonymous says

    I love James Spader, so I would definitely give this series a chance. I watched the pilot and it piqued my interest to see more and to find out what secrets are still to come. I’m in and hope that the ratings keep this series in also.

  5. Rick Brawley says

    Was very entertained by this show, it has promise!! NBC needs to let this ride instead of doing what they usally do “Pull IT” like Journey Man still can’t believe the got rid of that show!!

  6. Gemini says

    The pilot was extremely entertaining, and people should watch it before making a decision. Believing it looks awful based on the premise or trailer isn’t fair to the show or to their own person by missing out on a show they’d enjoy. Monday nights are going to be filled with Sleepy Hollow follwed by The Black List, and hopefully they will help me get over the empty feeling that Dexter’s finale has created. It isn’t as Silence of the Lambs as people suggest, and no one will say, “It puts the lotion on it’s skin or it gets the hose again.”

  7. says

    I enjoyed the pilot. (Though one does have to overlook their version of the FBI’s complete disregard for the Bill of Rights.) Spader’s performance was great fun, and there are enough mysteries to keep me interested. I’ll give it a few more episodes, at least.

  8. Jason says

    I wasn’t sold on it. Too CSI-ish in both quirky nuances like beeping, zoomy, unrealistic FBI computer software, ticking time bombs (really, in 2013, TV bombs still have a mess of wires and a digital timer?), and plot elements such as the fact that the FBI had helicopters show up at the lady’s house, but they couldn’t fetch a helicopter to chase the guys in speedboats. I want to like it, mostly because I like James Spader and he’s the unique character carrying the show, but I had a hard time buying into the show because everything else seems too cliche.

  9. Sara says

    Holy cow, was that exciting! I can’t wait until next weeks episode!! Spader was fantastic, and the show was adrenaline pumping good.

    • Lew says

      Unless you have actually seen the episode it would be quite unfair to base your comment on what you have read. But, luckily, taste differs!

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