Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Blacklist 1.01 Review: Criminals are Notorious Liars

Anyone that has yet to watch the series premiere of The Blacklist and wishes to do so free of spoilers, please step away from this blog now. Just like all the reviews I have written before this, there may be some spoilers. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
Wow. I’m still trying to organize all my thoughts about the pilot episode. It was a very intense, and fast paced pilot, and hopefully that’s setting the tone for each episode after this, at least for the most part. There are a lot of questions I have about this show already, and a lot of my own theories, that I’m very curious to get answers to. That’s a very definite plus to this show, peaking curiousity can be such a necessity to get the audience interested and involved, but be warned that answers do need to come, stretching them out for too long can be a very dangerous, and alienating problem.
I definitely think this is a show the audience will have to pay attention to, which makes it easy to stay involved and make the hour go by rather quickly. By evidence of the pilot, this is a very intelligent show, and not in a patronizing way that some series’ can drift towards. But there’s also a danger in that, that it can make it difficult to involve the audience in the drama of these people’s lives. This episode definitely touched on the backgrounds of a couple of the characters, but being able to balance that in a symbiotic can prove harrowing.
The posing of questions in each episode that get answered at some point in that episode is certainly a plus. I can see season long questions being asked, as well as episode long questions to keep us involved and intrigued. There will also be the series long questions that will likely be pieced together as the series moves forward.  It was especially interesting in the way the question was posed about Keen’s husband, and then the promise of answers in the next episode to come. It’s almost like they’re setting up a puzzle for us to immerse ourselves in that will eventually give us a much bigger picture than what we first saw.
There was certainly a fair amount of money spent on this pilot episode. My only hope is that they are able to keep up with that cost from episode to episode, being that most pilots have more money spent on them in order to get a series pick up. The cinematography as well was done in a decent manner, with a few angles that aren’t obvious to just any eye. I would like to see this level kept up from week to week, and that the level of talent involved in this series can grow.
James Spader definitely immerses himself in his character. Reddington is an intriguing and curious individual. Just the way he picks up on minute details, and his snarky, sarcastic tongue, it makes him particularly interesting. Megan Boone does a remarkably wonderful performance as rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen. The casting directors undoubtedly chose well in picking her as a series lead. Her and Spader will likely prove to be a match in this show. I’m also quite happy to see Harry Lennix on my television screen again, and hope that his role as Cooper continues to grow as this series does.
I have to also remark on the music in this episode. I loved the use of Frank Sinatra in the scene where Reddington eats his dinner and cheers the FBI’s camera. The other point in this episode that really spoke to me was the scene in which Liz tears up her carpet and finds that mysterious box. Whomever found that song to fit in there was a musical genius. I will definitely be expecting this level of professionalism from the music coordinators from each episode onwards.
This episode has given me a great deal of theories and questions. I’m curious about the line Reddington speaks about everything he is being a lie. It makes me question whether he might be undercover, like I theorized in my review of the promo, and just how much of him is fabricated. I’m also interested in the parallel’s between his life and Keen’s. Who is her career criminal father? Is it Reddington? Or did Reddington work with her father? There are too many coincidences between their family lives that just have to mesh in some way. Perhaps Reddington’s family is deceased, and he sees his child in Keen. The burn on her wrist is something that also intrigues me. Why would her father give her it?
I was slightly disappointed in this pilot. I do feel the promo gave away a little too much. It sated my curiousity in the series, but it gave away a great deal of the good points in this episode. Nonetheless I will continue this series, though it may be a procedural drama with a criminal twist. It also felt like there a little much going on, that it was difficult to immerse ourselves in the individual characters for too long. Hopefully moving forward, the superficiality of the characters lives grows into more. I also hope it does have an end date, and that it won’t continue on passed its prime.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Best Lines:
“No, of course not, I’m a criminal. Criminals are notorious liars.” – Reddington sarcastically replying to the idea that Keen trust what he says.
“Well, this was fun, let’s do it again sometime.” – Reddington, referring to overcoming the bad guy in this episode.
“Let’s call it the Blacklist, that sounds exciting.” – Reddington alluding to the list he has obtained of the criminals the FBI will want to track down. Also, likely inferring to where they’d held him for questioning, which they prefer to call the Post Office.

That’s all for now, check back in an hour for my review of New Girl. Then it’s on to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Trophy Wife, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. No review of Lucky 7 tonight.

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