A The Blacklist Community
Thursday 10:00 PM on NBC (Returning September 22, 2016)

Hey you! This isn't a review, it's a PREview. Huge difference. Most notably, the "P." Also, these PREviews are based on early cuts of pilots that might change drastically by the time they officially hit the air, so we can't properly review them. But we CAN give you an idea of what to expect. In this series of early looks at the new shows of fall 2013, there's no contemplating, no deep analysis; just super-duper quick thoughts on what we just watched that we're passing on to you. We'll revisit each previewed show in the fall with the hyper-intellectual breakdowns and fart jokes you're used to from us goons here at TV.com. 



The Blacklist – Mondays starting September 23 at 10pm on NBC

STARRING AND CREATED BY: Hey all you Sex, Lies, & Videotape fans (and I guess you Boston Legal fans, too), James Spader is back on television as the lead in The Blacklist. He's joined by co-star Megan Boone, who was in, ummm, Sex and the City 2 and Blue Bloods. The rest of the cast features Harry Lennix (Dollhouse), Diego Klattenhoff (Homeland), Parminder Nagra (E.R., though she's not in the pilot), and Ryan Eggold (90210). The series was written and created by Jon Bokenkamp (The Call, Bad Seed).


THE GIST: A most-wanted criminal walks into FBI headquarters, and he says to the lady, "Hey, I turn myself in!" But there's no punchline here. Said criminal is Red Reddington (Spader), and he wants to help the FBI take down a bunch of criminals and terrorists, but there's one condition: He'll only work with new FBI agent Elizabeth Keen (Boone)... and it's her first day on the job! Reddington has compiled a list of bad guys he wants to hand over to the Feds if they cooperate with him, and that list is called... oh I don't want to spoil it for you.


SNAP JUDGMENT: FBI shows are the new cop shows, and if they're going to stand out, they need to do something different from the rest. The Blacklist borrows from The Silence of the Lambs in that its tough female lead works with a hyper-intelligent son-of-a-bitch, but copying that relationship is about as original as it gets. As in, you've seen pretty much everything else in the series before, and you've seen it plenty. Because of this, The Blacklist will live and die by its leads. Spader is his usual glaring self (a good thing), and Boone is adequate as another female FBI agent on television, but neither one of them sets the screen on fire. I'd expect a case-of-the-week from Red's list, and the usual cat-and-mouse games between him and Keen each week. Despite some good direction from Joe Carnahan in the pilot, there's an unbalanced tone that just doesn't work, as The Blacklist attempts to garner some laughs and then immediately cuts to FBI dudes busting down a door and slamming faces onto tables. As a network TV crime thriller, The Blacklist is fine, but that's not saying much. Nothing about the pilot made me want to watch a second episode.  


PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: There's some painful exposition early on, and late in the episode there's some almost step-by-step directions on how the series is going to work, but the middle is all "find the guy, kill the guy."


FACES TO LOOK OUT FOR: Boone might turn some heads with her combination of compassion and toughness, but that's going to be more from the exposure that comes with broadcast TV than from bringing anything new to the stereotype. Everyone else is pretty much playing par, with the standard writing more to blame than their performances. 


RANDOM THOUGHTS: Who the hell schedules a very important lunchtime adoption meeting on their first day working at the FBI?


EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Low. I know NBC is pushing this one hard, but it's the same situation Fox had with The Following: big-name lead (Spader is big-name now, right?) in an FBI thriller. And we know how that one turned out. On the 1-to-10 scale, let's say 4.



PILOT PREVIEW POWER RANKINGS:
(Where we rank the fall season's pilots based on very early impressions)


DRAMA
1. Almost Human - J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman's robotic buddy-cop drama

2. Intelligence - Josh Holloway stars as a Cyber Command agent who has Wi-Fi in his brain

3. The Blacklist - James Spader is a master criminal who turns himself in to the FBI on one condition: He only works with the pretty new female agent

4. Dracula - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the fanged one in this re-imagining of the classic story of an undead guy chasing his old girlfriend


COMEDY
1. Trophy Wife - Malin Akerman marries into a big family and ends up with two ex-wives and three stepchildren in the process

2. The Crazy Ones - Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are a father-daughter team in the advertising business

3. Enlisted - Geoff Stults goes to army reject camp with his two brothers

4. About a Boy - Jason Katims' TV adaptation of the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel about a man-boy friendship

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/22/2016

Season 4 : Episode 1

Next Episode

AIRS ON 9/29/2016

Season 4 : Episode 2

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Other then Agents of SHIELD, this is the pilot I'm most excited about this season, which is odd because it's not really a show I would usually watch. I just hope I don't have to watch it for three seasons to find out that she's his daughter.
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I completely agreed with you about Crazy Ones, but this one I think actually looks pretty intriguing (in contrast to the other 43 comments). I've always liked James Spader and the comical snub weirdo he usually plays, so I'm definitely sold on that part. To me, the premise sounds interesting, even if it looks a bit too similar to Person of Interest, and I actually think this is on my "must watch" list for fall even if no one agrees, especially since the rest of the fare looks incredibly mundane.
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I am so underwhelmed by this fall new shows.
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Boston Legal fan in da house!

I don't think this show knows what a "blacklist" is, based on that description. I hate when shows use something in the title that doesn't make sense to the show.

This is a painful preview, but not surprising. I really wanted to like this show, its premise and its star are both quite engaging, but as soon as the longer trailer hit and started spelling out things, it took a turn for the worse, and this preview confirms those feelings.
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Also Pretty in Pink, Stargate, and not his turn in The Office after his first few episodes (Robert California was so brilliant in that first episode, and such a huge miss in his return).
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I love James Spader, so I think I will give this show a chance, BUT I kind of hate procedural cop shows... so if it's boring I won't continue watching no matter how great James Spader is in it.
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Here's a shocker, nothing sounds good so far.
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Let's be honest here, James Spader is a creepy weirdo in real life, so he's probably perfect for this part, but can Megan Boone really be the next Anna Torv? I doubt it! Why didn't they try for a bigger name who can hold their own against Spader, someone like Jaime Murry, Lauren German or maybe even Dichen Lachman - she really deserves a lead role by now and she's not a conventional white blond replicant like the usual female leads for these types of show. Anyway, casting questions aside, I really can't see this being anything other than another case-of-the-week cop show. NCIS, CSI and Criminal Minds have got that market cornered, the only one to really break in was Person of Interest, but they nailed the "smart concept married to good cast" that is absolutely essential for these shows to survive against the establishment. Many have tried, most have failed. I'll give this the four episode test, but I doubt it will survive for a second season.
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I like James Spader and I'm happy he's back on tv, but the concept of the show feels like it would work better as a movie than a tv show. Also, the preview NBC showed for this made me feel like I watched the entire first episode or a mini movie.

I would like the show to do well because of Spader, but I'm doubtful it will, plus its on NBC.....which is currently where mediocrity lives.
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i thought it looked good in the preview, but i think i wont DVR it now. i need to watch less TV anyway
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I don't like bald!Spader and this show sounds kinda boring.
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I'll give it a try. I remember Spader as the villain in 'Wolf'. He actually did it well. So, It's worth a few episodes.
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How sad that I'm not sold on watching a Spader pilot.
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I'll be watching this for Spader. So excited to see him back on tv. I so hope this is good
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I'm going to try it and I bet it's better then UtD and Cult....lol. With those references, I have set the bar low so I think it will be fine.

all the rest is OT so feel free to skip the comments below:

OT: awhile back on the "new shows" list was Rake. I recently watched the Australian version and liked it. I selected a lot of new shows to try and Rake and The Black List were both on it.

I hope this ends up being like your Banshee opinion/prediction ;-) At least you have enough sense to like Justified, POI and Orphan Black~~not sure why it took you so long to get on the OB bandwagon--maybe we just had to demand it for weeks, or you were busy as a newlywed, or maybe you were so busy writing 75%+ of the articles for this site but whatever the reason I'm glad you liked it because apparently some people require you to like something before they try it--no comment on that!!!!

I'm less likely to completely buy into your opinions/critiques--some are spot on accurate/insightful, however I am seeing more and more that I disagree with like the one you did on The Bridge this week. It's not NCIS and it is building a "world"~~starting a lot of plot lines that will intersect. I thought I was impatient but your review implied you wanted it simplified and more like the traditional hollywood procedural. I should probably re-read your review since I was so sleep deprived (half asleep when I read it) and may not of interpreted your intentions/critiques correctly. I like intricate plots with complex characters who surprise you by not being all good or all bad---huge fan of the grey characters (more realistic)
More+
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I find James Spader really hit or miss. I loved him on the Practice but it was too much for me on Boston Legal. And I really hated him on the Office. I don't know, I may check it out. So Elizabeth Keen is probably his daughter, right?
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It sounds more like a tweaked and grittier version of White Collar rather than Silence of the Lambs.
Spader was good as a bad guy in 2 Days in the Valley, so i'm not too worried about his performance
I'll watch
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The villain reminds me a lot of Elias from POI. And he's probably using the FBI to eliminate his competition.
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I am curious in watching Spader as a badass because I think it's clearly out of his range as an actor.
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I will not be watching this because James Spader unnerves me. Like if you were walking through the desert and came across a large fleshy lizard and you wonder if it's going to eat you... That's what James Spader brings to mind for me.
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The idea sounds excellent, it will depend on if they manage to pull it off.
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It sounds boring to me so that might very well mean it will be a "success".
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Only if the bring in Michael Shanks to play the younger version of Red in flashbacks.
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So, a show that sounds exactly like Silence of the Lambs while Hannibal is on the air and already a season in. There can be only one. I give Fuller the advantage for being first. I like Spader, great sort of role for him, but this dies a quick death.
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As a Spader fan, the trailer to this got me pretty excited so I'm a bit concerned to hear that it didn't get Tim interested in seeing more.
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Well... love Spader... but apart from that....
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If they would just turn around the male-female roles (male rookie with a strong intelligent female criminal), it would be so much more original that it says enough about the series' quality as it stands.
I am so over this rehashing that I refuse to watch about half of the new shows on principle alone.
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I would so watch that!
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now it would be a real twist if Elizabeth turns out to be his daughter.
Sheldon: "sarcasm"
Howard: "Nooo.."
Sheldon: ???
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I'm on the fence on this one. It sounds intriguing but I'm just not sure. If I decide to check it out I'll definitely give it more than just the pilot unless it's that ungodly terrible. But DVR space is very limited, so I feel like I have to be a lot pickier these days (although a couple years ago, I didn't even have the DVR luxury so I'm actually in much better space now....)
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Let me guess. She is going to come off initially as a tough no nonsense FBI agent, despite being a rookie. She is going to say that Red won't be able to use or manipulate her. But then as it turns out she is unbelievably easy to manipulate. And is kind of a push over. This has happened in a number of shows.
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I'll check this one out but my expectations are very low. I like Spader but I'm no fan of, "catch the bad guy of the week" shows.
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Seems to be just a generic cop show with a twist in the beginning (a master criminal turning himself in) to get it going.
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I expect this one to do well. Smash died without a lead-in of The Voice, and Revolution will likely do the same, but I think that The Blacklist will go for 4 seasons before it's done. I won't be watching, but I think that a lot of people will and a lot of people will love it.
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The Blacklist seems pretty intriguing to me, definitely going to watch it(the few first episodes at least)
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I give it 5 episodes before it's canceled.This is NBC after all.
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OOOOORRRR it'll be really terrible and NBC will keep it on for at least 2 years while cancelling other, better shows.
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