Friday, May 2, 2014

A Negative Review: The Blacklist Sucks


Uhh, no wait, sorry, wrong story. 

It's simple, really – there's the Megan Boone character, and the James Spader character, and everyone else is pretty much forgettable. The show itself is more or less serialized, where the usual gang of idiots is out and about solving various crimes, although their actual contribution as opposed to plain luck is usually equivalent to that of Scooby Doo and his gang. Basically, though, what kills this show is that it follows an archetype so specifically that most episodes can be wholly predicted within the first few minutes. Before a demonstration, however, here is a short summary of the two relevant characters:

Elizabeth Keen: the female protagonist, who while marketed as the strong, sexy and career-oriented FBI profiler, is actually grossly emotional, extremely unprofessional, and oftentimes, entirely incompetent. During the very first episode, Lizzie loses it when she comes face to face with her first bad guy – okay, sure, I mean, it's the first episode, so do with the exposition what you will, but don't make the show remind me of Claire Danes crying all the time in Homeland. Anyway, then, in the second episode right afterwards, Lizzie once again loses it when she meets her second bad guy, and once again goes reeling about how she's unsure if she's really fit for the job – and hey! Guess what? This is probably the most intelligent thing Elizabeth Keen is ever going to do in the show; Lizzie is a profiler, not a field agent – every single episode features action (it's an action show, after all...), and yet, time and again, the seemingly and admittedly unstable newbie is sent out into the field after high-profile terrorists that no one had previously been able to catch. And then when she's not busy being incompetent at work, Lizzie is back home arguing with her husband Tom about not spending enough time with her, in order for the two of them to be able to get mad and then make up with each other.

And speaking of Tom – it's interesting that Lizzie always needs a guy around in order to feel secure about herself. When Reddington gets her down, she runs to Tom; when Tom is being a dick, she runs to Ressler; when Tom is being a secret spy, she runs to Reddington; when Tom is away on spy business and Reddington is not available, and Ressler is busy being useless, Lizzie flips out. What are the writers trying to tell me? Is it that strong, female leads can't function unless they have a musclar, young or middle-aged white guy's shoulder to cry on?

Raymond Reddington: okay, this is actually the good bit in this show – James Spader channels some serious Lithgow here, and plays "reptilian" very well. The allusions to Silence of the Lambs are beyond obvious, but aside from reeking of plagiarism, do well to give Spader a chance to display his range. Reddington, though, while interesting, cannot carry the show by himself, and ends up being more of a deus ex machina most of the time.

So anyway, here's what literally every single episode in this show looks like:

[OPENING SHOT OF SOME RANDOM LOCATION OUTSIDE OF THE US]

[OBSCURE ACTOR SHOWN IN DRAMATICALLY IRONIC AND PRECARIOUS SITUATION]

[OBSCURE ACTOR IS EITHER KILLED OR TAKEN HOSTAGE]

CUT TO: exterior shot of FBI blacksite

Lizzie: Guys, I think Red might know something about this!

CUT TO: Raymond Reddington playing cards or sipping wine with Dembe

Lizzie: Red, I know you know something!

Red: d'oh ho ho... but do I...?

Lizzie: you know what, Red, I don't trust you. We're not working together anymore.

Red: Oh, fine, Lizzie, here, let me give you every single piece of information you could possibly need and then some about this terrorist, although you'll probably still find a way to fuck it up.

CUT TO: FBI blacksite

Ressler: okay Liz, what do we have?

Lizzie: Red's contact says he has information leading to our guy.

Ressler: didn't you say Reddington himself had the information?

Lizzie: that's not important right now.

Malik: the agency has a vested interest in this.

Aram: I'm a nerd!

Lizzie: okay, let's go catch this guy.

CUT TO: bad guy's secret base

[IMPROBABLE ACTION SEQUENCE INVOLVING LIZZIE FIRING FROM THE HIP OR GETTING OVERPOWERED AND RESCUED BY RESSLER]

CUT TO: Reddington meeting with the old friend of the week

Reddington: ah, so you see, I have stabbed thee in thine back, and thou art now betrayed!

Obscure friend: you wound me! [disappears permanently from the show without repercussions]

CUT TO: Tom

Tom: Liz, we haven't argued in a while about spending time together. But I want to make it up to you. Let's go to [GENERIC VACATION PLACE] and spend some "us" time, if you know what I mean.

Lizzie: okay, Tom.

Disgusting.

9 comments:

  1. one major flaw for me is that the writers can't decide if the "blacksite" is located in D.C or NYC! Seriously, where is it located? I've seen them in the blacksite one minute and rushing out into either the streets of D.C or NYC the next but they never mention taking planes. This type of bad writing gap in tv series REALLY bugs me

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    1. apparently the relatives of every major criminal on earth live in Bethesda

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    2. Haha yes!!! Everything you wrote was spot freaking on! I am completely serious when. I say, you rock and this review was 20 times more entertaining than the actual show. Cudos. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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  2. Please kill off all the characters with the exception of Red, rewrite his character so that he is truly the narcissistic bad man we all love, and rename the show, "Born Bad." That is something I would watch. However, this cheap soap opera shite with that chick with the hair is a farce.

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  3. You've said everything I ever wanted to say about the godawful show. Even James Spader eccentricity isn't enough to make it worthwhile because it isn't eccentric enough. A show desperate to be serious but can't be, because it doesn't know the difference between being dark and being serious.

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  4. The comparison with Homeland is not fair, there's no comparison. Homeland is IMHO one of the great shows of all time, stellar writing, a flawless cast, and real moral resonance. Claire Danes is tremendously charismatic. This show is empty violent sensationalism and Spader is appallingly wasted.

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  5. Got sick of each man getting knocked up by Woman in this serie.

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