NBC Fall Pilot First Impressions: What to Expect from Blindspot, The Player, and Truth Be Told

The new fall TV season is upon us once again, and if you've perused our fall guide listing premiere dates and mini-descriptions of every new series, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of possible additions to your already crowded viewing schedule. We've screened the inaugural episodes of nearly every new fall series and compiled multiple (and sometimes contradictory) opinions of each network newbie. Pilots will be pilots, of course, and lots of shows get better once they've had a chance to settle in. But for now, first impressions are all that matter. 

Below, you'll find our take on which new NBC series are looking good, bad, average, or just plain ugly. If you're looking for our thoughts on the other networks, ABC's can be found here, CBS's new crop are discussed here, and Fox's rundown is right here

Editor's Note: We did not include Chicago Med, because NBC did not film a new pilot. The only episode we've seen is the Chicago Fire episode that acted as a backdoor pilot last season. You also won't find our thoughts on Heroes Reborn, because the network did not release that to critics. Meanwhile Heartbreaker was delayed until midseason.


Blindspot

Premieres Monday, September 21 at 10pm

What it's about: Jaimie Alexander stars as a woman with no recollection of who she is, but whose intricate full-body tattoos act as clues the FBI must follow to uncover a larger conspiracy and the truth about her identity.

NOEL: Do you like The Blacklist? Then odds are you'll be fairly content with Blindspot, which takes the "mysterious person has some insight into crimes/criminals and possibly a vast conspiracy" angle of Blacklist and turns it into tattoos and Jaimie Alexander's body. Alexander's the show's much needed core, imbuing Jane Doe with the proper amounts of confusion and frustration at her current situation. Without her, it's likely that Blindspot would've just been another high-concept, borderline generic-y action series that could run out of gas too quickly.

KAITLIN: I don't want to complain about Sullivan Stapleton being front and center in a new drama now that Strike Back is wrapping up its final season in the States, but oh how I wish he was starring in something other than Blindspot, which is a fairly generic procedural starring stock characters like FBI Guy and Kickass Ladyperson who reluctantly team up to solve crimes a.k.a. every show that's on network TV at the moment. The mystery—that the tattoos on Jaimie Alexander's body are a roadmap that need decrypting in order to save the day—is doing the minimum amount of work necessary to make the series just different enough from every other show with a similar format. I have a feeling that the show will do all right for NBC, but balls, I just wanted something more badass for Stapleton.


The Player

Premieres Thursday, September 24 at 10pm

What it's about: Philip Winchester stars as a former military operative/current security expert who's drawn into a high-stakes game in which wealthy jerks bet on his ability to stop crimes. 

TIM: Yo, it's got car chases, helicopters, crazy shootouts, conspiracies, and Wesley Snipes. In Vegas! This is over-adrenalized action silliness in a great way, and the pilot doesn't even use Snipes to his full extent. If you miss Human Target, this is a nice replacement.

KAITLIN: Now this is what I'm talking about. This is how you bring life to a fairly basic premise that's basically just "good-looking dude kicks ass and saves the day." Make no mistake, The Player is ridiculous, but it's also thrilling and entertaining because it leans into the insane idea that somewhere some rich dudes are betting on whether Philip Winchester's (also of Strike Back!) character will be able to stop whatever is about to happen. The success of the series rests solely on Winchester's broad (and toned!) shoulders, but add Wesley Snipes and the Las Vegas setting and you've got a breeding ground for fun, action-packed entertainment. 


Truth Be Told

Premieres Friday, October 16 at 8:30pm

What it's about: This new hangout comedy chronicles the lives of two married couples and best friends who overanalyze and obsess about everything.

TIM: Truth Be Told is sold as a comedy about two couples who tell it like it is, but really it's about husbands doing husband-y things and hiding them from their wives. Yet there's a strong us-against-everyone-else voice to it that doesn't make it totally lousy, and some of the raunchy humor works because of Tone Bell, who will hopefully be on television for a long time. 

KAITLIN: This show is approximately a quarter entertaining and that quarter is Tone Bell. What do we have to do to get that dude on a GOOD show? Let's make it happen, people, because I don't think I can stand more of this series if the rest is as stereotypical and cringeworthy as the pilot was three-quarters of the time.



TV.com's 2015 Fall Preview: 
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Nov 11, 2015
What's the deal? The Player got great, spot on reviews, from these two. Blindspot is boring, been there done that, doesn't really hold my interest. I love Blacklist, not so much now...but it's still OK. The Player is original, kicks ass, and WHY is it not higher in the ratings? Used to be that b4 a show was cancelled, network would move it. SO MOVE IT but KEEP The Player!! It's a great show, every cast member - major ones - make the show. It's not carried by one person. Love the conspiracy, back stories, and tangled web of stopping criminals all while pretending it's a game. Great writing!
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Oct 01, 2015
I could see The Player getting moved to Fridays to air with Grimm. It would make a nice combination. It likely would be swapped with Dateline.
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Sep 08, 2015
Even with the description that ``Blindspot'' is similar to ``The Blacklist'' and Jaimie Alexander, whom I've really enjoyed as Lady Sif in the ``Thor'' movies and ``Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''...I'm still not really intrigued by it. I'll wait to see if the buzz builds after it debuts, and maybe consider watching it.
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Sep 08, 2015
It's Phillip Winchester, of course I'm in. Ever since Crusoe I've kept an eye out for him in stuff. Strike Back has declined in quality since Cinemax took it over, but that's not his fault - that's because Cinemax thinks alternating sex and explosions = a plot line.
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Sep 07, 2015
Blindspot: I haven't seen the pilot, but I will cautiously give it a try. The operative word here being "cautiously".

The Player: So, let me bet this straight: the show is about "car chases, helicopters, crazy shootouts, conspiracies, and Wesley Snipes", it is "ridiculous" and "it leans into [an] insane idea" at its center. Well, since in my book "ridiculous" actually means "ridiculous" and not "fun", I'm staying clear! The nicest thing you said about the show is that "the pilot doesn't even use Snipes to his full extent". Good for them, I say.

Truth Be Told: Not going there, comedy is not for me.

By the way I will be checking out Heroes Reborn. The curiosity factor is strong with this one...
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Sep 06, 2015
Wait, Wesley Snipes ISN'T the star of The Player?!? How is that possible?
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Sep 06, 2015
Blindspot is terrible! Watched the pilot a few weeks ago, couldn't have been more disappointing
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Sep 06, 2015
So if I like Blacklist then I will like Blindspot? I don't think so.
So if I like Mr. Robot then I will like Extant?
Well I love Blacklist and Mr. Robot but only kinda like Extant and Blindspot will not even make it on my DVR.
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Sep 05, 2015
Okay, because you all speak so highly of Strike Back, I'm downloading season 1 as we speak. Sounds good...
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Sep 08, 2015
I liked Strike Back... never went past S3... don't remember why now. Maybe I will be back :-P

Do remember the score was catchy...
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Sep 06, 2015
I'd be interested in hearing your reaction.
I tried Strike Back last year, for the same reason, but I couldn't get through more than a few episodes before giving up on it.
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Sep 06, 2015
Liked the first one, wife didn't. I'm not bowled over but I'll watch more...
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Staff
Sep 08, 2015
Did you start watching from Season 1 with Richard Armitage and Andrew Lincoln or jump right to the first season co-produced with Cinemax (which is actually Season 2, but the first one that stars Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton)?

It's a really fun action show that I think is better than it has any right to be. There's not terrible depth there, but there also doesn't really need to be.
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Sep 08, 2015
Richard Armitage and Andrew Lincoln.
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Sep 05, 2015
i have seen the pilot for blindspot and it is worth giving it a few episodes.

Player is a tv show where you sit down for an hour and entertained without much thinking like some shows.
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Sep 06, 2015
Damning with faint praise for Blindspot. :)
I get what you are saying because I sometimes watch shows just because,
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Sep 05, 2015
For me, Human Target was a very special show--perfect cast--both seasons, and just plain fun. The Player won't be as good, I'm betting.
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Sep 05, 2015
Jesus Christ! Is there anything NBC is doing that's in any way interesting? Even the positive remarks in the article are "bland show doing bland things in a way that isn't always bland".
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Sep 05, 2015
It's been said that Jaime Alexander can't act. I believe she can and that Blindspot will be a big hit...
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Sep 08, 2015
I watched the pilot and liked Alexander more than Stapleton. ... maybe Stapleton was miscast, he comes across as way too serious LOL
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Sep 06, 2015
She seemed passable as Lady Sif in Thor and the sequel and SHIELD.
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Sep 05, 2015
I'll be checking out Blindspot and The Player.
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Sep 05, 2015
and the player got 'revenge's Nick Wechsler :) added bonus
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Sep 05, 2015
I'll be checking out Blindspot and The Player (for the Strike Back boys)!
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Sep 05, 2015
lol idk what I expected.
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Sep 05, 2015
PASS!!! on all three.

I got bored just reading about the shows.
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Sep 05, 2015
I'm all the way in for both blindspot and the player
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Sep 05, 2015
Much as I love watching Jaimie Alexander in action I won't be watching Blindspot beyond the pilot episode. Nothing new, special or imaginative here. This Jane Doe is just another "John Doe" (Fox 2002-2003) and also reminiscent of Jaimie's character Jessi in Kyle XY. Recycled concepts never really work for me, especially when there is more original fare elsewhere.
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Sep 05, 2015
If you enjoy TV, then you enjoy recycled concepts. Think about it...
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Sep 08, 2015
ROFL!
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Sep 06, 2015
Not entirely true. There are a handful of original ideas and imaginative twists on old concepts, though I admit they're few and far between.
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Sep 06, 2015
Actually, there's a lot of good stuff out there--people recycling stuff with imagination. BSG is a good example...
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Sep 08, 2015
I feel @Televisioneer hasn't watched that much tv then LOL
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Sep 08, 2015
I agree. But I was referring less to reboots or remakes (even good ones like BSG), and more to original ideas or unique takes on familiar concepts, like The 100, or season 1 of Sleepy Hollow, or Elementary with a female Watson and ex-addict Holmes. Anything unusual or unique. I am so tired of the usual TV tropes.
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Sep 04, 2015
I have to disagree re Blindspot. The pilot disappointed me. The premise was fine but the writers failed to up the stakes in a way that would have kept my interest.

SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT

We are given nothing to connect us to any of the characters -- the main FBI agent is a stock good-at-my-job guy who so far has no family, loved ones or backstory, Jane Doe since she and no one else know anything about her doesn't have anything for you to connect with.

Even Marianne Jean-Baptiste, whom I love, and who adds instant weight and realness to a cast, isn't given much to work with, so no connection there. I'll also say that I liked the guy cast as Jane's doctor - but that's not a reason to keep watching.

The writers also fail to give us any greater context/menace or stakes. There is no sense that other Jane Does have shown up in other cities or around the world; no larger threat (in the form of a terrorist group, or rogue agent, for example); no hint of things falling apart (like a strange epidemic or trucks hijacked near the Canadian border or whatever); no prologue with a disappeared agent who later surfaces, etc.

By the end of the pilot, I was left with the sense that each episode we'll just be following some lead (probably taken from one of Jane's tattoos). And I asked myself why that would interest me.

No real hint of a larger arc that I'd care about (yes, there is that guy lurking around - but they gave me no reason to care about him).

I'll also say that as an aside, once they'd figured out that Jane was Special Forces their inability to identify her just seemed completely implausible to me since she would have had to have been in the military to qualify and besides the records that must exist (no one in the pilot talked about the lack of a trail for Jane being an extraordinary effort for someone, as scrubbing all of the military records for a white woman of her age with her regional accent who could have qualified for special forces AND all of the people who must have known her - would have been).

I don't know, the procedural what-does-that-tattoo mean will be enough for some viewers but so far isn't enough for me. I will watch the next couple of eps when they come out to see if it gets better.
More+
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Sep 04, 2015
I'm gonna watch Blindspot because of my boy Sully but I do wish he was on a more Badass show.
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Sep 04, 2015
Why is every show all of a sudden about tattoo's. I think all the writers of TV shows must be covered head to toe with them and all that ink in their blood has given them the delusion that we are just "BLOWN AWAY" with hot chicks carrying radical body art. Give it a rest already, PLEASE!
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Sep 04, 2015
all of a sudden ? You're missing out if you haven't seen Prison break :)
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Sep 04, 2015
Blindspot was soooo boring, and predictable. I can forgive predictable (it's on Network tv after all) but boring is a no go. The "mystery" of the week was yawn inducing. Considering this is the pilot it needed to be all about the tattooed girl and her abilities and how she uses them. (Watching her decide wether she likes tea or coffee notwithstanding). Instead, she looked scared, was left alone a lot and looked scared.

Have people forgotten everything we learned from the LOST pilot?!

I wanted to like this because I love Sullivan, but this looks cancelled.
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Sep 05, 2015
I was surprised the pilot was so flat. It needed some zing,...some tension. This is the kind of series that could really benefit from a tailored musical score. The whole episode felt way too quiet and by the numbers. I'm hoping the next episodes will improve but that wasn't a very good start to the series.
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Sep 04, 2015
I don't know about other people but if it weren't for james spader I would not be watching the blacklist. it's about as uninteresting as I assumed except james spader makes it work. I've had the pilot for blindspot since its release and haven't bothered. it looks like a mix between prison break and john doe (starring the brother in need of the prison break) both of which were fairly terrible shows. and I don't think jamie alexander is any james spader. she's great in thor (where she's used minimally) but her other appearances like covert affairs don't leave a good impression.

will try the player obviously. I'm not fond of cheap (crude) humor but will perhaps give truth be told a try out of desperation or if there's an indication it gets good.
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Sep 06, 2015
Well, Blacklist does have Spader and it is one of my favorite shows.
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Sep 04, 2015
oh and the potential sex of appeal of 'naked chick with tattoos' is totally lost when there's not going to be any actually nudity. I find the cable / network idea of titillating as cheap and uninteresting as generic low brow humor.
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Sep 04, 2015
It sure shows her nude ass...
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Sep 04, 2015
i saw pilot of blindspot a month ago , it was not so good ..... but watchable .........
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Sep 04, 2015
The premise for The Player seems weird to me. If people are going to be betting on the outcome of the Palyer's success, can we assume he isn't going to "win" every week?
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Sep 04, 2015
Blindspot sounds good but its from NBC so probably will be cancelled when it becomes really good to give a spot to Chicago Veterinary
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Sep 08, 2015
"Chicago Veterinary" ROFL ROFL ROFL
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Sep 04, 2015
The Player looks cool enough, but I am so tired of shows/movies killing off practically nameless female characters in the beginning of something to launch the male character's story. It's just lazy. Excited for Blindspot. I'm a sucker for procedurals, and the Blacklist's second season was pretty weak.
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Sep 04, 2015
Blindspot. Can't see it. where is it?
just cancel one of these shows and bring back Hannibal.
thank you. Truth be told it isn't funny.
The player. That looks a little more promising.
Cut to the chase. Cut to the chase!
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Sep 04, 2015
I'll give The Player a chance. I like Winchester, I think he could be doing better things. Having Snipes in it doesn't bode too well for the show to be that great or last. Hopefully he won't ruin it.

I saw saw the pilot for Blindspot. It isn't bad per say, it has just been done before. But I like Jaimie and I like Sully, so it gets at least four more episodes from me.

Nothing else NBC has looks remotely watchable. They are running against FOx for the worst fall season.
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Sep 04, 2015
Let Blindspot and The Player do crossover episodes. :D
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Sep 04, 2015
Its called Strike Back.
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Sep 04, 2015
I wanted to watch Blindspot but it really sounds like blacklist without Spader and I already given up blacklist.

Player sounds fun. I will definitely check it out.
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Sep 08, 2015
Can't give up on Spader...
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Sep 05, 2015
I also gave up on The Blacklist, early in season two. But I have returned, and all is well.
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Sep 04, 2015
Due to my love of Strike Back, i may have to check out Philip and Sullivan's new show but only giving them a couple of episodes to grab me

I'm bored of sticking with these fall shows when odds are they turn into shite-fests like Sleepy Hollow or only have a couple of decent episodes a season to make you stick with it like The Blacklist did last season
I watch TOO MUCH TV as it is and i don't have the time to watch these new shows when they usually end up disappointing you sometime down the line (Gotham springs to mind)
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Sep 04, 2015
Blindspot felt like blacklist all over again, but the blacklist are her tattoos. I'll give it a chance.
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Sep 04, 2015
Hmm not really it didn't have the awesomeness that is James Spader
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Sep 05, 2015
Spader is only human, and can only carry so much. The show may have gotten better, but when I tuned out mid-season he already seemed overwhelmed. I wonder if he's getting paid a fortune since he's all the show has left.
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Sep 04, 2015
Blindspot might as well have been called The Tattoolist. It's very much a clone of The Blacklist, if Red and Lizzy were combined into one ass-kicking chick, with Weller basically a far more capable agent than Lizzy, an uptight Ressler-type agent (Reed), female Director Cooper (Mayfair), nerdy tech guy (but a doctor instead), and replaceable ethnic female agent; not to mention the overarching conspiracy, the Tom Keen-type bad guy (who just might also care for Lizz- I mean Jane Doe), and purposely erased memories, just like Lizzy!
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Sep 04, 2015
Well for years CBS has variations on Law & Order and it worked for them. If NBC has found something that works why not. Bee all say we want sonething different and original but when a network gives us it it tends to get incredibly low ratings. The same old attract the same old audiences as the one before it.
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Sep 06, 2015
CBS had the letter shows: JAG/NCIS and CSI:Every Large City franchises. NBC had Law & Order and now has the Chicago PD/Fire/Med/Law/Coroner/TaxiCop/etc. I get what you are saying, though I don't watch any of those clone shows. It's Lowest Common Denominator television. I wouldn't be surprised if they come up with some SVU/ChicagoPD/Blacklist/Blindspot crossover event during sweeps.
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Sep 04, 2015
Eek...I'm planning on Heroes Reborn and the Blacklist and Grimm, but that might be it for me for NBC this year, besides whatever I catch of the Voice if I get home late and need something on in the background. I like and watch the Blacklist and that's enough for me, so the Blindspot looks a little, well, I think the word is overwrought? for my tastes. Heck, I'm watching Heroes Reborn just because I decided to marathon the series this week because I'm a little slow at work and as I am in Season 3b now, I sense that Heroes Reborn is the writers attempt at what they really wanted to do of the persecution story and maybe not have such a sad energy over the heroes this time around and give it to the 'bad' guys. I mean because seriously I'm in a very angsty portion of the original right now and I'm like prepping myself because apparently I am watching Season 4.
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Sep 04, 2015
Well, I do have to say: Truth Be Told is a better title than what the show was originally called; however, I doubt it will do anything to actually make the show better. Still, I'll check it out because of MPG.

Having seen The Blindspot's first episode, I wasn't "wowed" by it. It does come off very similar to The Blacklist. However, as much as I love both Stapleton and Alexander, neither can carry a show like Spader. Here's to hoping it gets better, because I want both of those actors to have a show that is deserving of their talents.

I'm really excited for The Player. Like, probably more than I should be, and I'm nervous that my excitement for it might build too high of expectations that the show won't be able to meet in my eyes. Whatever. My only unrealistic wish so far is this: having The Player cross-over with The Blindspot, so Stapleton and Winchester can be reunited. You can never have enough Scott and Stonebridge after all!
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Sep 04, 2015
The Player sounds fun. Crazy action is part of what I liked about Scorpion and a lot of what I liked about season one of Transporter: The Series. I'm in.

Blindspot, I'll commit to trying an episode or two. This show invites a lot of comparisons to The Blacklist, which I completely lost interest in last mid-season. It's like NBC took that formula and tweaked it because they fear The Blacklist's ratings may be on a rapid decline. (At least that's my conspiracy theory for now.)
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Sep 04, 2015
Actually I liked the 2nd half of Blacklist because it became more then just the Red Reddington show. I thought it improved when it became more of an ensemble show but that might be an unpopular opinion.
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Sep 04, 2015
I'm just thrilled I can still drool over both guys from Strike Back.....
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Sep 04, 2015
The only things I watch on NBC are Heroes and Blacklist. I really don't like Jamie Alexander, even as Lady Sif in MAOS. Haven't really liked anything she's been in, including her role in Kyle XY (Which I LOVED otherwise).
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Sep 04, 2015
Jamie Alexander was Lady *roll my eyes* in MAOS? I hadn't realized. (*roll eyes* = super-alien swordfighter in a metal corset and 6" heel/platform thigh boots.)

Granted, the costume wasn't her design, but she's now in a show where NBC promos are all but promising she'll be stripped naked each week. *rolls eyes again* :-)
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Sep 04, 2015
Me and NBC are on a time out since they cancelled Hannibsl (yes I am bitter). It does help that the only half way decent new show is Blind Spot but they have been over and overtly advertising it which makes me NOT want to watch.
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Sep 04, 2015
I'm bitter at them too but I did catch Blindspot & it is actually kinda good
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Sep 04, 2015
I've always liked Wesley Snipes so I'll check out The Player, but that's it. For me at least, I'm not seeing a whole lot of new shows I want to watch. Oh well, I watch too much TV anyway...
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