NBC’s 'The Blacklist' Needs to Fix These 3 Big Problems

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) /NBC's The Blacklist, which stars James Spader as criminal mastermind Raymond "Red" Reddington, set a DVR playback record for its second new episode of the year last week.

On Jan. 20, The Blacklist's 8.83 million live viewers were boosted to 14.26 million viewers, after 5.43 million "Live+3" (three days of DVR playback) viewers were added to the final tally. The lift from DVR numbers pushes The Blacklist's ratings up from a 2.3 to 3.9 among adults ages 18 to 49.

(Source: NBC)

That surge also barely topped the previous DVR playback record, also held by The Blacklist, of 5.426 million additional viewers -- making the show one of the best performing ones of the fall season. It also demonstrates that the show can survive without The Voice leading in on Monday nights, which previously caused some concerns earlier this month when ratings slightly dipped.

Despite The Blacklist's strong ratings, I have serious doubts that the show can successfully retain its momentum in the long run. Here are three major problems that The Blacklist needs to resolve at the risk of losing viewers in the future.

1. There's only one skilled actor on the entire show.

First and foremost, the biggest problem with The Blacklist is that it has one great actor -- James Spader -- in a forest of hopelessly wooden ones.

Reddington gets great lines, which Spader devours with aplomb, and every scene he is in oozes with the delicious darkness that the show is known for.

Unfortunately, whenever Spader exits the scene, the show slows to a crawl. There's no directorial pressure to push the other characters -- even main ones like Megan Boone's Agent Elizabeth Keen -- to match Spader's screen presence.

Reddington turns himself in. (Source: NBC)

Perhaps Spader can carry the show on his own, but I predict that audiences will eventually tire of watching the flat, uninspired performances from Agent Keen, her passive-aggressive husband, and the rest of the supporting characters, which could very well be part of the cast of any other generic police/federal agency procedural show.

2. It's procedural, formulaic, and messy -- all at the same time.

When Reddington is taken out of the equation, The Blacklist is simple a generic procedural show.

Each career criminal on the blacklist has a neat supervillain name like the Freelancer or the Alchemist, but let's be honest -- these are the exact same generic villains that populate other procedural detective shows like CBS' (NYSE: CBS  ) CSI or NCIS.

The central question -- whether or not Red is Agent Keen's father -- is an intriguing question, but the other questions posed by the writers are random and messy. An early story arc about Keen's husband being a spy strangely faded away via deus ex machina, and other generic subplots, such as an agency mole, have taken absurd turns that indicate that the writers are struggling to find the right direction.

In its current form, The Blacklist is a Frankenstein-like mishmash of Alias, 24, CSI, the Hannibal films, and a dash of Sherlock. Unfortunately, it fails to improve upon any of the above. The show would improve substantially if the writers simply dropped the FBI portion completely and focused on Red's criminal misadventures instead.

3. The show is having an identity crisis.

The Blacklist works the best when it's raw, gritty, dark, and grounded in reality. The two-part midseason finale, in which Red was cornered in his bulletproof glass box by an old adversary, was a tense tour de force showing how great the show could be.

When the show returned in January, however, the focus shifted back to cheesy villains in increasingly ludicrous situations. Episode 12, "The Alchemist," was particularly absurd -- the titular villain was a reverse forensic scientist who could alter any body to resemble anyone else.

(Source: NBC)

It was as if the writers suddenly decided to mimic the silly pseudoscience employed by Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) /ABC's Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and Fox's (NASDAQ: FOX  ) Almost Human in a desperate bid to boost ratings with the sci-fi crowd. The show's most recent episode, "The Cyprus Agency," confirmed that suspicion by slavishly copying a concept that was executed far better in Fox's Fringe (Season 4's "A Better Man").

What does all of this mean for NBC?

Meanwhile, NBC has a poor track record of ruining perfectly good show concepts.

The musical Smash, for example, was once lauded as the "show that would save NBC," but it ended up as a disaster after the network replaced showrunner Theresa Rebeck with Gossip Girl showrunner Joshua Safran. The comedy Up All Night was reworked so many times throughout the first season that Christina Applegate, who played the central character, quit the show.

Due to those well-documented troubles (and many more), NBC finished 2013 in third place in both the 18-49 and 18-34 age groups, trailing CBS and Fox in both categories, but finishing slightly ahead of ABC.

The rest of NBC's fall lineup, The Blacklist excluded, hasn't been great either -- the network already cancelled ratings laggards Ironside and Welcome to the Family last October, and other shows like Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show are hanging on by a thread.

Looking forward, however, things look considerably brighter -- the Winter Olympics (Feb. 7 to 23) and J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón's supernatural drama Believe, which premieres on March 10, could substantially boost network viewership.

Moreover, NBC, which comprises the bulk of Comcast's broadcasting segment, is still performing well financially. Last quarter, broadcasting revenue (which accounts for 13% of Comcast's top line), rose 11.5% year-over-year.

The bottom line

In conclusion, The Blacklist isn't a terrible show, but it's one that squanders its promising premise on dull, by-the-numbers procedural investigations. The status quo probably won't change anytime soon, considering the show's record-breaking DVR numbers, but I strongly believe that the show's three aforementioned flaws could eventually wear out audiences.

What do you think, dear readers? Am I being too hard on The Blacklist? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Want to be mastermind investor?

Want to figure out how to properly invest in media companies like NBC, Fox, and Disney? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.


Read/Post Comments (91) | Recommend This Article (41)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2014, at 11:34 PM, mrquilp wrote:

    I agree with both your analysis and conclusion. The show's potential is so high, and Spader is so good, yet that awful Agent Keen brings every scene to a thudding halt. Did they even audition that actress? And the evil/good husband subplot; a good show can't just drop things like that and expect the audience to forgive and forget.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2014, at 11:40 PM, JoeCat wrote:

    I also agree. When James Spader is on screen, he is so very good. The female lead not so good. The last two episodes have been pretty absurd and there has been too little of Red. More James Spader, better scripts.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2014, at 11:53 PM, Othia wrote:

    Love the show, but agent Keen's hair is always a mess. Can you do something about her hair and maybe give her nicer clothes. Spader always look professionally.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:09 AM, alamogirl wrote:

    Spader is spectacular on Blacklist. I love his character.

    I was wondering if they were going to expand more on Agent Keen's husband. Weird the way that plot went away.

    Loved the last two episodes though. The other characters don't have chemistry, like Castle. All the characters on that show have lots of character. I don't even miss the main character, Rick Castle, when he's not in one of the scenes. I can get by just watching Ryan and Esposito interact. Blacklist doesn't have this. Scenes between Agent Keen and her husband are boring. But on Castle, I love watching the scenes between Kate Beckett and Rick Castle...♥

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:10 AM, mysteryfan wrote:

    James Spader is even better then when he was on Boston legal. The husband subplot is annoying. It does face the same issue now facing NCIS without Ziva which is being a standard show of a certain genre if it isn't careful.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:47 AM, roadbum wrote:

    I absolutely agree!! There has been a definite downturn since the show came back because of James Spader's lack of screen time. When he is not on, the show becomes flat and I just haven't been able to get that 'excited' about the Agent Keen character. It was SO much better when Red was able to interact with the FBI throughout the show and if the writing continues as it is now, I'm sure that a lot of the viewers, including myself, will move on to something else. I love James Spader and he is the reason I HAD to watch this show. And believe me, I am NOT in love with NBC so I hope that they don't screw this series up like they have with so many others!!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:53 AM, imissgermany wrote:

    I found Leo Sun's comments very insightful and spot on. I can suspend disbelief with the best of 'em, but it's getting harder and harder to do. Friends and I agree that an episode definitely lags when Spader is not in the scene, and I really don't care about Agent Keen's marital situation, so why bother? A doctor friend of mine who watches this show had a lot of complaints about "The Cyprus Agency" as an insult to the intelligence. I really like this show and wish it a long run, but knowing how networks no longer give shows a chance to find an audience, I don't trust NBC. I'll keep watching "The Blacklist" until the bitter end, but it needs to tie up some loose ends, as Leo Sun suggested.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 1:58 AM, Fitnfoxy wrote:

    James Spader IS The Blacklist. He is in his prime, as he was in Boston Legal. The female agent is completely unbelievable, both for her mundane acting and the writers' belief that we are to believe a new agent is always first on every scene with her clumsy partner, who we just tonight compared to the gents on Duck Dynasty. He lost. Please, tighter writing, more Spader and less everything else.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:27 AM, d4dogs wrote:

    Everyone is right, without James Spader

    there wouldn't even BE a show. I wish they would do an end of season "who-dun-it" and then redo the whole cast. I hate to criticize the woman playing Agent Keen. It's obvious that the husband is going to start something with that woman and I'm rooting for him! I'd love it if a new female lead could be brought in, where there could be interplay, ,bantering about, anything to show she has an iota intellect..

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 4:00 AM, dbglobal wrote:

    To be honest I have only seen a few clips from the show.

    I always enjoyed James Spader as Alan Shore in Boston Legal. To me I always thought that Alan would be a perfect JR Ewing type of character on a show. He has a lovable side as well as an evil side to his personalty.

    Maybe someday David Kelley can write another show featuring James as a guy you love to hate.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 6:43 AM, Melody318 wrote:

    I loved the show Smash and liked where it was going. I think it needed more time.

    Blacklist is a good show and I like it. But I agree, James Spader carries the show and the other actors need to work on their craft.I hate wooden acting. I also hate the wig they make Megan Boone wear, it looks horrible. They need a direction and to know where they are going..

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 6:58 AM, bendabook wrote:

    Agreed!! Love Spader, Keene is so boring, and really disappointed in the dropping of the story line with her husband. Reminds me of Lost in that way. Who cares about the standard "There is a mole in the agency" subplot.

    More Reddington, less Keene, etc. And tighten up the plot. That 2 part episode with Anslo Garrick was amazing. The show has been outstanding when good and as long as it keeps it up, we are so there!!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 7:49 AM, BobbyM wrote:

    The article misses the point, Spader is the focus of the show as a genius among the mundane of intelligence gathering and criminals committing egregious crimes against humanity while maintaining his own complex/unorthodox rules of ethics and morality.

    It's not a comedy or drama where the script depends upon characters playing off one another, it's all about Reddington, his blacklist and why he's damaged goods.

    Reddington is the ultimate anti-hero. Incredibly flawed with a guilty conscious frequently surfacing in an apparent act of revenge.

    Adding considerable depth to any other character than Reddington merely sets up a distraction.......or fulfills a potential need for an opponent of similar intellectual abilities. As the premise of the show doesn't support genius within the FBI, I'd say those actors are in character and it works well.

    But as noted, if the scripts become too formulistic, they also become boring.

    I suspect season 2 will be the challenge of that aspect, season 1 is about defining the character 'Reddington'.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 7:54 AM, minnehot wrote:

    Also agree and am relieved I am not the only one who is uneasy about the development of the show. The show needs to:

    1) Resolve the husband; i.e. whack him. Every time he comes to the screen I want to change the channel.

    2) The show needs a great villian which arc's across the season - not secret but in the open - someone that can match Spader smirk for smirk.

    3) I think the FBI thing is OK, but they have to upgrade the actors - with the exception of Diego Klattenhoff. He is a fine young actor and we all want him to end up with Elizabeth, right?

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:02 AM, enrolledagent wrote:

    In spite of all the negative comments, there are sure a lot of people watching the show.

    I am personally hoping that Agent Keene will have a chance to grow into this roll, and I don't believe the subplot with the husband has gone away as evidenced by the fact that Agent Keene "feels" there is something wrong and has decided it is not time for them to adopt a child.

    From what we have perceived from the show, he really is her father, and removing her from the show provides no incentive for him to help the FBI in exposing The Blacklist.

    James Spader has always been an incredible actor and if there were more great actors on the show it would mitigate his presence.

    The fledgling series needs an opportunity to grow along with its unknown actors.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:03 AM, smills1 wrote:

    I have to partly agree with this. I have watched every episode, every beyond the Blacklist on Youtube. There is definitely something coming. Maybe when Liz's husband cheats on her with the woman that says she is a teacher, Liz will cut her hair and go all natural with her own hair.

    They need to let Liz and Ressler's characters breakout a little more. James Spader is an awesome actor. The show would not be this successful without him.

    But, with that being said, this is a great show. I just think they need to break Keen & Ressler out of the "ho-hum" and really give them something big to work with. Again, I have to believe something big is coming because I just don't see an actor like James Spader hanging on to just the status quo.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:05 AM, enrolledagent wrote:

    Bobby M has hit the nail on the head! Perfect synopsis and well said!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:13 AM, DD3411 wrote:

    As a longtime James Spader fan, his scenes are always my favorites - but I disagree with most of the comments about Agent Keene. I think she does a great job of portraying the new agent who juggles a demanding job and problems at home. The storyline where Red is her father is compelling and I have enjoyed their private talks about her personal issues. I would love an episode where her idiot husband turns on her and is proven to be a spy - and Red is the one who comes to her rescue.... killing off the husband. The husbad adds very little to the show and I don't even care that he is about to cheat...except for the sympathy factor it adds for Agent Keene. The Blacklist is one of my new favorites and I look forward to watching it every week...

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:14 AM, DelC wrote:

    I MOST definitely watch this show because Spader is in it. My biggest peeve with it is how unprepared and down right STUPID the rest of the characters are when doing their job, EVEN after being told by Spader's character EXACTLY what they're going to be faced with. This show makes FBI agents look really bad. They present them as poorly trained, ineffective and utterly incompetent. that's getting old already for me.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:15 AM, benjonson wrote:

    The husband needs to either be a hit man who is using his wife to get to Red or he needs to have an affair and they get a divorce. Otherwise, that subplot has no legs. And, the only reason to watch the show, so far, is to watch James Spader.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:33 AM, brett1368 wrote:

    I respectfully disagree with the comments about Megan Boone's character Agent Keene. I think she does an excellent job, has great chemistry with Spader and I also don't think her hair is 'messy'. In fact, if they got rid of Boone's character, I would probably lose interest in the show quickly, despite Spader's compelling performance.

    The chemistry and scenes between Megan and James is what keeps me glued. Right now, Blacklist is my favorite show. I am so hooked, I don't even DVR it because it is 'MUST SEE NOW' tv.

    My complaints about the show have more to do with wardrobe and how they dress James Spader.

    James Spader is one of my all time favorite actors, he is a VERY good looking guy. Yet this show dresses Spader like he's 90 years old -- that hat he wears is terrible, I DESPISE his shaved head -- Spader has great hair, granted the hairline is receeding but why chop it ALL off to make him look old? His clothing looks like it was dragged out of some awful 1950's show and does not do anything for Spader's good looks.

    Forget getting rid of the cast, the problem is not with the cast -- the wardrobe person should be fired for making Spader look so terrible.

    PS. One of my favorite James Spader movies is a fun movie from the 80s called Tuff Turf, it featured James Spader at the height of his hotness and also teamed him up with one VERY hot Kim Richards. The chemistry they shared onscreen was electric. I would LOVE it if Blacklist could cast Kim Richards in a guest role on a future episode, would LOVE to see Spader and Richards onscreen again.

    PS. Fire the wardrobe department on Blacklist.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:36 AM, BillFreeman wrote:

    Love James Spader. (I thought he was better on Boston Legal, maybe because of the writing of David E. Kelley. Also I liked his hair better on that show. I want the piece he wore.) I guess I'm the only one who likes Elizabeth Keen/Megan Boone. Although if he ends up being her father, the show will have jumped the shark and I'll (probably) be gone, since she could have compared his DNA against her own at any time. So I don't know why she even asks him if he's her father. And she's never seen a picture of her real father? If so, didn't he look a little like the guy who was in, oh, I don't know, Pretty In Pink, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Crash?

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:37 AM, laurago wrote:

    NBC should consider hiring Michael Muhney as a partner/son of Red. He has serious acting chops and can play sweet, evil, vulnerable, and smart. He has a huge following from his past on daytime TV. He would certainly elevate The Blacklist and keep James Spader on his toes and keep fans coming back for more.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:38 AM, marketmaker79 wrote:

    Is Spader that good, or is everyone else just that bad?

    I think everyone agrees that he is the only reason to watch the show, but how can we believe that the FBI as a group has the skill set of the late night shift at taco bell?

    Can we get Megan Boone on anti-depressants or something? I realize they wanted a fragile and sometimes weak character, but come on. I'd rather see her killed off and it be revealed the Indian actress is his daughter.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:41 AM, dollardon1 wrote:

    I believe that Mr. Spader was good enough to have won an Emmy or Golden Globe. However it was Walter Whites turn. That being said, the recent episode featuring the great Johnny Cash tune with the "...when the man comes around" lyrics was one of the best performances of this or any year. I for one will watch this show for as long as James chooses to continue being a part of it.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:45 AM, melay1010 wrote:

    LOVE James Spader, I'm really disappointed with the rest of the cast, they can't keep up with Spader. Why not bring in some tired and true actors, like Vincent D'Onofrio as the head of the unit, Would love to see Kathryn Morris on there.

    Agent Keen needs to be replaced, even in mid-season, I really don't think anyone would miss her and her acting abilities (or lack of). I'm tired of her blank looks, get someone on there that we can see the wheels turning. There is NO CHEMISTRY between anyone except Red and his man. They really need to do something or it will be a show of the past that just didn't quite make it!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 9:07 AM, classygrammy wrote:

    Agent Keen's hair is always a mess because she is wearing a REALLY BAD wig. It is so obvious!!! I cannot believe that they would have a lead character in a wig. Really tasteless. If they needed someone with long, dark hair and she didn't have it, they could have colored her hair dark and added extensions. With such a good show... and Spader as the lead, it is really in poor taste to use a wig on the lead female character. I don't believe she is a great actress and I am sure they could have gotten someone else to play the role with her real hair.

    I know I am ranting about this... my husband and I love the show, but every time I see the hair, it unnerves me! Please, please, please lose the wig!

    I agree that without Spader, the show would not be a hit. And... I also agree that the husband issue not being resolved IS annoying.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 9:16 AM, SiSi123 wrote:

    As most have commented, Spader is amazing in his portrayal of Reddington.

    Perhaps the writers are working out the departure of the husband. The woman he is spending time with is a plant. Not sure who planted her, but the dossier she had on the family was being reviewed before she left for the baby shower.

    It is difficult to keep up with all of the subplots. Why Alda's character allows Red to conduct his business. Why Red is focused on Keene and her life. Is Keene's husband an assassin. Will Diego Klattenhoff's character get back with his ex-fiancé. What happened to Red's family. What happen to Keene's family when she was a child.

    Yes, the list goes on. The only resolution to date is, Red found the mole and shot her. As far as saving the show, more time on screen with Alda and Red may be a nice compliment. They are two strong actors and the other cast may learn a lot from them both.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 9:26 AM, pokeyspride2002 wrote:

    I love the Blacklist!! Please don't Cancel it! Spader is brilliant in his character and I am betting on him being Lizzie's father and want to see it unfold. Also, I want to see more of her struggle of whether or not to have her baby and believe Redding could help convince her to keep it. I love the chemistry between them and feel that Lizzie does a great job working with him. Keep the Blacklist. My son and I watch it every week!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 9:30 AM, Lea77 wrote:

    I think the husbands acting is fabulous, the show just can't seem to make up their minds what to do with him. They need to move on with that subplot. I don't want an affair, I want evil, or spy, or some such thing.

    But yes, Megan's acting sucks and they have made her the worst profiler ever. She shouldn't need so much prompting from Red. I stopped watching the Following because the FBI was so incredibly dumb and I'm not attached enough to spader that I won't do the same thing with this show if they keep it up.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 9:38 AM, kds268u wrote:

    Leo Sun's observation and comments are right on the money. I saw the same flow. My suggestion is have Lizzy's husband disappear from the show any which way the writer can think of, because his part is one of the lamest, then, create a part for somebody strong enough to match Spader;s acting and have him as Lizzy's secret admirer, and Lizzy falling for him to create confusion on her part as who to side with during conflict. This new twist will liven the show considerably.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 9:59 AM, renee44 wrote:

    I think the show is one of my top ten shows on my list to watch.. Some questions need to be answered like who is keen's father?? Do we know what her husband does? Plus the storyline about keen and her husband to think about having a child, it not a good idea. I don't know where the writers were going with the baby storyline. The job that Keen has is a dangerous job and I don't think, bring in a child with her line of work would work if any view knows what I am talking about? Someone needs to talk to the writers about making the show better or the writers should read all of our comments that we all have mentioned on this site and see what they come up with. I don't want the show to be canceled at all, if they do try to cancel the show, they should finished the episodes they have done or are filming the episodes that are ordered then finish the season on a good season finale.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:11 AM, REM wrote:

    I like the show and the characters. I mean it is like any of the typical cop shows out there, but it's new.

    My question to the writers - what happened with the whole keane's husband must be a spy or something?? - No one has addressed the fact that he found the box with all the passports, money and gun, which keane returned to the hiding spot under the floor, under the rug. If he is not a spy or something? What made him look for the box? I believe that box isn't his, because it has the same marking that's on her hand, but yes can someone address that?!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:11 AM, trishypoo1 wrote:

    I agree slightly with this analysis. We have to be patient. We know that Red knows Tom is a bad guy. He referred to it again in Monday's episode when he talked to her about their adoption. He doesn't want to totally alienate her by telling her exactly what he knows. But, now there is question if Lizzie is his daughter as he when he killed Diane when she said she really knew what happened to hs family. But, if she is not, why is he so protective of her? That remains to be seen. Yes, I agree that on Castle that the interaction between characters is great, but the show is obviously a lot more comedic. We have to be patient because, remember, Alan Alda has something to do with Red's family 20 years ago if you guys remember that episode where they have a deal. Red now realizes that more people know about this. The husband will be found out eventually, but I think it will happen after he has an affair, Liz finds out, he does something and she has to be the one to kill him. The show could make the characters more interactive I believe. If you guys remember, the first season of Castle had to find it's way and was almost on the chopping block which obviously didn't happen. So, I don't think Tom's past is pushed under the rug. The writers are biding their time. They can't have everything be known in the first season. It has to evolve. At least it is not like Lost that just had bizarre story lines that could never be tied back at the end to what happened in the beginning. If Alan Alda's character starts getting more air time, then we may be in for another great actor on the show. I kind of agree about Lizzie's character, but it can improve. And remember, Jodie Foster's character on Hannibal wasn't the most riveting and Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal) was the total emphasis. I realize this was a movie, but there were prequels and sequels. So, just please be patient. This is a great show and James Spader deserves the Emmy, although Bryan Cranston will probably win as this was the last season of Breaking Bad. I will continue to watch and if you "like" the show on Facebook, you can add to comments on your feed there as well. Red didn't kill Meera "the mole" as she was only going on direct order from an entity she didn't know. The African American director of their unit is a pretty good actor and maybe more of their personal lives will come into play as now we know Meera has a daughter and Ressler has the ex-fiancee he cares about. But is she the one Tom was in the car with at the end of the show? They look so much alike. If so, there is a new storyline developing. Or was the one in the car the artist? Maybe someone can answer this one on this forum. There were people on the Facebook forum who claim they have never seen Red's African-American, or he is really from another country than America, assistant. He has been in several integral scenes. James Spader's character has deep feelings rooted back to what happened the night he supposedly left his family on his own volition, but Alan Alda's character has something to do with this and in the past 20 years Red has acquired all of these contacts with his charming side and such loyalty from his "people". And the director of the unit on Monday night's episode also said he despised working with Red, but he admitted they would not have solved these cases that were not even on their radar except as missing children. He is teaching Lizzie to think more out of the box. Good grief, you could go on and on about what could happen, should happen, but please, patience please!!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:12 AM, leelu wrote:

    I agree with the article. James does carry the show. There are only two other showes I watch. NCIS and Justified. Of the two I wish Blacklist were written more like Justified, NCIS is getting long in the tooth, now that Zeva is gone. Her replacement doesn`t do it. Justified is dark and more in tune to real life in the bad lands with a touch of humor in the cut down way. James Spader could do the same in blacklists if the writers knew what thaey were doing.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:15 AM, trishypoo1 wrote:

    Sorry, I meant to say missing women in the above comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:28 AM, Pops933 wrote:

    More Alan Alda, end the husband, bring in a more compelling partner for Lizzie. Perhaps the time has come to bring in guest stars for villain roles for short series of episodes.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:34 AM, emsdad4ever wrote:

    I do think you're being overly critical. But when you like something, it's good to point out flaws so the show can adjust and improve. So many great shows had poor first seasons while they found themselves. I think The Blacklist is even better than Harry's Law, and they gave it three seasons. I predict the show will get better and better. While Spader is the man when it comes to quality acting, the others I feel do a good job as well. It really is up to the writers to weave in subplots (like Castle does) to the main episodes.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:53 AM, pomoc wrote:

    I see another brillant reveiwer with all the ansewers the show is great it needs know help from you as for your comment ont he fact there is only one actor and he's the best ever. I'm sorry good yes but he is a surviver in a buiness that goes throught people like worn socks every few months just leave the show alone go fix all the other shows that are failling after your succsess there just maybe you can come back and do another review telling use all of your success.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:02 AM, GreekShadow wrote:

    The show about the Alchemist also had Red tracking down all those who set him up. Between the two subplots it was very brutal. I wonder if it's the rising level of violence that is increasing the ratings. If it rises any higher my wife will bail and I'll have to watch it alone, but then we're not in the demographic they want.

    Most shows have the female lead uber sexy, Keen is a pretty woman, but they're dressing her masculine and sloppy downplaying the curves. Is this throwing a bone to feminists that are fussing about only hot babes get roles or is Spader making sure no one upstages him?

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:12 AM, BlueEyes2 wrote:

    Spader is superb and the only reason this show is worth watching. He's also the only one who exhibits the ability to think and reason. Every week the "agents" stumble and bumble their way through their scenes most often ending up as victims themselves. Keen should have been demoted or fired long ago.

    Boone desperately needs acting lessons and her character needs personality. There is no nice way to say it.

    Frankly, I hope she isn't Reddington's daughter. I'd hate to think that someone that smart and charming would have created someone so forgettable.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:24 AM, cbj wrote:

    Get rid of the husband.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:25 AM, ToddRan100 wrote:

    I am so glad you printed the above article. My wife and I watch this show every week together and it is fun BUT.....

    From the very first ads before the show even aired I have laughed out loud at Megan Boone (who?) being cast as Keene. She looks like a University of Texas or Wisconsin cheerleader and NOT an FBI agent!!! I laugh often at her on the show. BTW if you dig around on the net you can find interviews with Boone discussing how she wears a wig on the show because he hair is short. I think she would fit more into character if her hair were short.

    Now that ME TV is running old Wonder Woman episodes on Saturday nights, Megan Boone looks strikingly like Lynda Carter and is about just as believable.

    Keene's husband is going to end up being bad. He is also miscast. My wife and I regularly laugh at him as well. During the adoption agency episode we both kept wanting, fantastically, for Keene to break his glasses and shove the pieces in his eyes resulting in his death. He is such a pansy. The chic he is flirting with is a plant, either by Red or by some other spy organization. He will turn out to be bad. Red has not been wrong yet.

    Of course Red is Keen's dad!!!! I knew it from episode one and I am not that smart. As for a lack of good actors on the show, Jane Alexander is a good actress but she was given terrible lines. But now she is gone sooooo......

    The blond haired partner of Keene is so bad, as an actor, I haven't even bothered to learn his character's name.

    I was also waiting for the female agent of Indian or Pakistani descent who gave up Jane Alexander's character to be shot by a sniper when she and Red met under the bridge at midnight. Her usefulness has expired I think.

    Finally, my last criticism of the show is how they get from NYC to DC to Bulgaria to Paris to ? in minutes to advance the plot; no jet lag, no logistics, nothing that grounds the show slightly in reality. they really are like the Agents of Shield who can globe hop in seconds flat!

    Now with all of this criticism of the show you might be wondering why I even watch? Well it is sorta quality time spent with my wife and it can be riveting at times, i.e. the double Red in the box episodes. I am in grad school so I watch little tv and my wife and i have picked this show to watch so there you go.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:30 AM, ToddRan100 wrote:

    Oh I forgot - another problem is how Red always shows up with just the right clue or even the exact answer the agents need at that moment to solve the crime and save the day, sometimes twice a show!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:40 AM, southerngirl75 wrote:

    James Spader is outstanding in this show. Would like to see Agent Keen become a bit more aggressive in her role. Would like to see the character played by Parminder (?) (the beautiful Indian) phased out. She is boring with her doleful puppy-dog eyes and mumbling. I am very curious about the tiny woman who is the "medical examiner" that was called in by Reddington in this week's episode. There are so many possibilities for all the questions that are hanging. Good writers and ramped up acting by the supporting cast should keep this show going for quite a while.

    I have to agree with previous comments by Bobby M, DD3411, and trishypoo1. They have the show summed up perfectly.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 11:41 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    Wow...look at the number of comments here! This is an article that has almost nothing to do with investing (the peripheral connection to media investing is a bit of a stretch), and yet it's garnering quite the bevy of engaged feedback. I'd say The Blacklist is doing something right to evoke this much fervor from viewers.

    Oh...and yes, James Spader rocks.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:39 PM, yogi0921 wrote:

    Love James Spader; He is the reason I started watching this show. I agree the actress playing Agent Keene is not an outstanding actress, however, I believe the uncertain vulnerable character is being portrayed adequately by her.

    Agree w/many others w/the fact the story line of her husband's issues needs to be played out.

    Hope the show succeeds and will definitely stay tuned in as long as James Spader is on it!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:47 PM, GorgonStare wrote:

    I have to agree with the comments regarding the lame and wooden characters with the exception of Spader. There is a reason the FBI are often referred in the real world as Feebs instead of Feds, but the show portrays everyone as utterly incompetent.

    I have to disagree with several comments regarding Agent Keene's Hubby. Although I believe NBC drags out the story line, and maybe they've decided to drop it, Red continues to make subtle comments warning Keene to beware of her husband. If this storyline is going anywhere, NBC needs to get on the stick and move forward in the immediate future. Apparently, I'm not the only one rapidly losing interest in the show. NBC, you aren't far from losing to to the scintillating shows on the Weather Channel or Home Shopping network.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 12:55 PM, djanddoc wrote:

    Excellent analysis. I agree with many of the other comments especially about their needing to be an arc. I don't want it to turn into the endless Red John of The Mentalist but there should be a 6 - 8 episode cat and mouse game with a serious villian. I'm thinking more in line with WIseguy (back in the late 80's). Kevin Spacey and Ray Sharkey were both fabulous villians. NBC would have to step up and get the really good character actors to hold their own again Spader.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 1:00 PM, DaveWrighteous wrote:

    While it is my favorite show, it isn't flawless. Point 1: The acting is a little stiff in spots and only looks worse next to the powerhouse that is Spader; he is the Sun and all else are candles. Given time, the cast should grown into their roles. The villains are always cast well. 2. There is a procedural element to the show, but comparing it to NCIS and CSI is a weak dig when you look at their ratings and longevity. The procedural part is the cake/engine of the show with the conspiracy/backstory stuff the icing. Apparently, this writer skipped the pilot ep in which Red SURRENDERED to the FBI to CATCH CRIMINALS!! Red's adventures are fun and the backstory mystery intriguing but to dump it in your lap wouldn't make for a long show. Also, if he thinks the mole plotline is "generic" or Tom's spy backstory has vanished, this guy is either clearly not paying attention or cranky because the show didn't want to show its hand immediately. 3. The show has had THREE episodes since it returned, but I guess he only saw The Alchemist. Granted, that one did stretch believability and wasn't overly strong, but the other 2 were top shelf and this weeks had a semi-wrap up to the mole plot that had plenty of Red's trademark manipulation and cold blooded violence. In closing, the show is not flawless but for Christ's sake, it hasn't even finished its first season yet and so far has been light years ahead of a lot of network TV's new offerings and it's increasing ratings (even without the Voice as a lead-in) have shown I'm not alone in thinking this.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 1:25 PM, agsb02 wrote:

    Agree with the findings that James Spader is the show. The actress who plays Agent Keen forgot her acting lessons. The relationship between her and her husband is weird.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 1:32 PM, kmead44 wrote:

    James Spader remains first and foremost, an incredibly talented and sexy actor. I've watched him for years, in everything from Pretty in Pink to The Blacklist. I think he carries this show. It is only because of his brilliant acting that I have continued to watch it. Some of the concepts (like the husband being a spy) were ridiculous and in some cases, never even worked out. Agent Keene is a piece of cardboard. Same dead-eyed look in every scene. I agree with all this author's comments and I hope very much that NBC stops trying to make the Blacklist into a collage of other shows and lets the storyline be told by James Spader. He's the show and the only one worth watching.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 1:44 PM, topteach1942 wrote:

    Megan Boone is a joke as an actress. What this show needs is Kate Beckett, but she is not about to leave Castle. Spader is phenomenal. The premise of the show is good and often the writing is spectacular. But that idiot Agent Keen and her wuss husband are just beyond the pale. Time to dump them and get some real talent to play off against Spader.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:02 PM, texzilla wrote:

    Spader is perfect in the role, but the writers of this show are inept. We haven't missed an episode, but the angle where Spader disappeared after the attack simply drove the show into a brick wall.

    The ending of the recent episode on the baby mill was particularly idiotic; a bunch of crooked doctors went from discussing hiding evidence to initiating a shootout. WTF.

    The issues with the husband are many. First, he is portrayed as a pathetic spineless bleeding heart seeking a homebody to mother him and his fantasy adoptive child. How would a workaholic FBI agent hook up with this creep, and that's before all the hidden spy cache she discovered, which seems to have been forgotten.

    Additionally, she is portrayed as the only smart person in the FBI, while every other agent is a buffoon, especially her sidekick.

    Bad writing seems to be endemic at NBC these days; Spader doesn't need Shakespeare to be brilliant, but eventually if this show doesn't get fixed it will lose ratings like a rock.

    I wonder how this show would have been on TNT or A&E or FX with some decent writers.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:18 PM, marradallas wrote:

    James Spader is outstanding - I would suffer through ridiculous plots because I adore him, however - Agent Keene's home life is totally unbelievable! Who came up with this drivel?

    They were going in a great direction, casting doubt on the creepy, goody-two-shoes husband. They kept us wondering, "Is he? Isn't he? What does Red know about him, and when is he going to reveal it?" It was getting exciting!

    Come on! What FBI agent is going to adopt a baby when she's never home and has a dangerous career and knows that she just MIGHT be married to some kind of psycho-spy? Why is she so damn gullible? My niece is an FBI agent, and she is the most suspicious, cynical person I know! She started young and is very cute, so Agent Keene's 'cheerleader' looks don't bother me one bit - it's her stupidity that makes me cray-cray!

    The FBI Supervisor is flat, as is the other agent (I'm so unimpressed by him, I can't even remember his name, despite having seen Red give him a transfusion)!

    This last episode was totally unbelievable! Are they already running out of story line ideas? Let's get to the bottom of Lizzie's husband! Simply put, he's either a super-spy, or a real douche bag! Let's go with the spy thingy - and add some real excitement, please?

    Okay, that's my 2 cents. Although I am a writer, I can't imagine having to come up with a new story line every week - that's a lot of pressure, which is why I write novels, so I can take my sweet time.

    Good luck writers! Please, do something with Tom, because the long-suffering, stay at home daddy wannabe hubby is such a pile of drek!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:20 PM, damfinodallas wrote:

    The high DVR ratings probably indicate that a big chunk of this show's audience (myself included) prefers to watch the show in a format that allows us to fast forward through the boring scenes. Lately, those segments include almost any husband/wife conversation, and once the villains have been defined, many of their scenes.

    Face it, the FBI's first attempt at arresting these folks each week is usually so bungled, the only point of interest is HOW they will bungle it. Poor ol' J. Edgar is no doubt rolling over in his grave about the way Keene and crew make rookie mistake after rookie mistake. Should the writers decide to add a nemesis-type villain, that character's continuing presence would just add a whole new level of incompetence to the agency's "profile."

    I agree, the way things are set up, each subplot becomes a distraction from the one and only reason we all watch, namely Mr. Reddington. Isn't that a textbook example of entropy?

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:27 PM, adaisyaday wrote:

    James Spader is by far one of the best actors ever! Agent Keen is far too soft - she needs to toughen up. A new wardrobe and hairdo would help the character - she needs to look more like a member of the "company/firm" - business suits and neater hair. She needs to resolve the husband issue - prove that he has been playing her all along working for someone high up on the "list". A little flirtation with the blonde agent will spice up the show. I see some attraction between them. Some of the story lines are very confusing such as the husband's stash of multiple identities, money and a gun...that was never resolved. Also the double agent in this past episode was confusing. I am one of those that DVR's the show to watch later in the evening or the next day. But is a "must see TV".

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:28 PM, alexsc wrote:

    I agree with most of the comments regarding the talented Spader. I agree that everyone else, specially agent Keener need more acting lessons, but mostly, I blame the writers and the directors. Talented directors can take a so so actor and push them to higher performance limits. Actors "talk" what writers write. The "talk" needs up-grade or a complete overhaul. I still watch it, but it is getting harder unless Red is on. I agree with the comments on Jane Alexander. She is an incredible actress (the real theater type) and she was treated like an

    amateur Keener. Too bad, I was so hoping that she, along with Spader could lift up the general acting weaknesses. Please do not cancel but do a major re-consideration of writers, directors and actors surrounding Slater. But knowing how NBC knee jerks reacts to ratings, instead of fixing it they will cancel it....

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:35 PM, Golfjunky wrote:

    It's time to kill off the hubby in a way that cannot be tied to Red in any way. Perhaps the psycho substitute he's about to have an affair with can freak out and kill him after a few episodes. Perhaps she's already on Reds payroll.

    This way Keene can develop (or unleash) the dark side she needs to have for this show to continue. This show has so much potential but lets face it, we DO NOT need to develop a personal relationship with anyone other than Red. They could change the entire cast less Spader tomorrow and no one will care. We need more of Agent Keene thinking like and moving towards Reds dark side and less of her playing house. The whole baby concept this early in the series is ridiculous. More Gore less Bore, after all isn't that why we're watching. How good of a bad guy or bad of a good guy can Red possibly be.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:45 PM, kissmygrits7000 wrote:

    Kill off Keene; bring Shatner in as Red's long lost brother or significant other! Hire the mother from Breaking Bad to be the new FBI agent. LOVE Spader for so many years!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:46 PM, TexasGal60 wrote:

    I particularly agree with #1. I can add nothing to what you and others have said about Spader's brilliance. But somebody please get rid of Megan Boone.

    MB has less-than-zero presence. Some actors can do a lot with a little. Their charisma and/or expressions can breathe life into even a reticent character. Megan Boone is not such an actor. It's impossible to describe her character's personality because there is none--unless you count boring and sanctimonious.

    Parminder Nagra ("Margot Malik") is supposed to be an ancillary character, and has relatively little dialogue, but she's way more interesting than Boone, who leaves me feeling as apathetic as she acts.

    I simply don't care whether Agent Keen adopts a baby or stays with her husband. I don't even care whether she's Red's daughter. I just want Boone out of the way so Reddington can stop talking to a piece of wood.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:51 PM, nohomehere wrote:

    need good ideas for master blend of plots to fully exploit Mr Spader skills and that is the problem with the rest of the cast. their writers are lost, on where to take this show, . Mr. Spader in one of his contact modes through old kgb cia connections the war on terror can be played big and fully develope 3 shows around these theme's as it flows into a full unreal unbelievable connection between the sci fi and foresic reality of supposedly ended cold war relations and the new war on terror ect ... and get some advisors on man you are about to loss a great opportunity would that sort of help keep spader and his daughter and her husband fussion with a real capable plot to show who he ,the mysterious husband was and now is ! Please dont drop the ball on spaders well grounded theme its way cool . what happened did the creator walk on you's ? thanks nohomehere

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 2:58 PM, snoopydogsnoopy wrote:

    I hate to admit it but what they say about the supporting cast is true. The whole crop of the FBI team with maybe the exception of agent Keen are terrible in their parts as goes for the part of her husband.I am not the biggest James Spader out there but I must admit this is one show I can watch because of his character that he plays to the T. I do hope the writers and the producers of the show read this article and wind up with a show that will be on for years.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 3:25 PM, guesswho wrote:

    I have to disagree...I love agent Keen. She and Red have good chemistry and I believe it will just get better as the storylines develop.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 4:19 PM, PhilV57 wrote:

    The article is right on the spot!! Spader IS the show, the rest are someone for him to bounce his greatly delivered lines off of. As for the script's direction or lack thereof, I agree, what happened to the husband being some kind of spy. I do believe Reddington is Keens father!!! Great observation of a great series!!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 4:22 PM, TexasFan wrote:

    Spader makes the show. He's terrific. But there's a stark contrast between Spader and the rest of the cast.

    Agent Keen isn't believable as an FBI agent. She doesn't seem sharp, focused or motivated. Her partner is too much of a hothead to be believable. And their boss is forgettable and not very convincing for someone at his level. As a group, they don't seem very competent at protecting anyone from anything.

    Other than Spader's Reddington, the only person who is believable in the role is the other female agent who has just been identified as a mole.

    Also, Agent Keen's husband is a milquetoast. And why the obvious and overdone role-reversal here? She's an FBI agent in danger all the time and he's an elementary school teacher wondering what time she'll get home at night. These two characters--based on their occupations--don't seem like they'd be married, even though they both are boring. His character could probably be salvaged if they'd explore the possible spy angle more and have him actually do some subversive. But having him have an affair with a substitute teacher is just adding to the boredom.

    The basic concept is good, and the Spader's Reddington makes it work. He and the writers have done a good job hinting that he may not be a total sociopath.

    Maybe the show will last if they'll find a way to eliminate all the characters except Spader's and then find a new supporting cast.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 4:42 PM, ZenCloud wrote:

    BobbyM is totally right!

    But I want the writers to follow through on those side stories and flush them out. Last night she did want children and after the baby arrest, she changed her mind. I still want to know if her husband is who he says he is.

    Keen has short hair in real life and once you see her, you realize they should have left her with her own short hair instead of that "helmet hat hair" she wears every week. I'm waiting for her to have a nervous breakdown one week and just cut it off because it's distracting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_Boone

    She's a Taurus which is probably why her scene seem heavy. But with her own shorter hair, she should have more energy and be able to keep up with Red.

    I'm hoping the storylines will get better and the "background" picks up speed. There has to be a way that NBC doesn't blow it this time.

    As for NCIS and Zeva's replacement, Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) we need to have a story that will make the character surface as well as the actress. Then we won't miss Zeva so much. Her time is coming because she does fit in. So just wait and see . . .

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 5:17 PM, atrebor1 wrote:

    So right! I am already sad to think of losing James Spader is his unique role. He is so SUPURB!

    I say fire the head writer and get someone in there who knows how to create characters that can support his enourmous talent. What a shame to lose that talent so early in the game but I agree that none of the other characters are played or written anywhere near the level of Reddington. Perhaps that has been done by design to highlight the star, however... that "star" needs no highlighting. He stands equal to any potential threat for the spotlight! Particularly from this crew. Apparently they were all stuffed into a package by one agency in order to get Mr. Spader on the ticket! Glad they got rid of grandma as the evil mole. Her casting was almost as rediculous as the perfect plastic peopling the rest of the set.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 5:38 PM, JenRRT wrote:

    This has been my favorite network show this season. James Spader is a knockout in everything he does and he makes Red seem like a villain and a not too bad kind of guy at the same time. I do wish that Megan Boone was less forced in the character of Agent Keen. I agree that we need more Red and more of Agent Ressler. I enjoy the dynamic between these two characters more than that of Red/Lizzy or any other pairing on the show. I am in until the end of this show, and I really hope that it survives for many years to come, with James Spader.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 6:25 PM, mercurialeclipse wrote:

    I completely agree. James Spader is the reason I come back week after week. I thought Megan Boone started off strong in the pilot, but she's not been as compelling since. It's not entirely her fault. The writers keep making her opinion of Red change from week to week. One he's a monster she's revolted to be working with the next she's coyly asking, "Did you bring me anything?". Give me a break. They all need to have a sitdown and get their collective vision of the characters and plot nice and streamlined to elevate the show and supporting cast up to somewhere near Spader's quality.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 7:47 PM, lottieloo2 wrote:

    I agree with all three points and have another gripe to add. Why is it that every time there there is a bad guy to be chased, there's always only one FBI agent running after him. I mean, seriously, do these people not have back-up? Talk about God in the machine! But Spader rules. More of him and less of the namby-pambies, please.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 8:00 PM, 12whitestar wrote:

    I agree the female lead is awful. Her delivery is flat, poor timing and that blank stare is annoying. If it were not fir James soaker I would not watch it at all. Get a new female lead, she us that bad.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:26 PM, dannystrong wrote:

    There are only two problems with "Blacklist" -- the writing, and the acting. Other than that, it's a great show. I'm mean, I've never seen the cameraman drop the camera in the middle of a shot even once.

    The bad guys have magical powers (that is, their plans show signs of being able to see into the future and know exactly how every character - major and minor - will react in every situation, and knowledge of terrain and security they cannot possibly know) and suicidal bravery (that is, they can get underlings who will commit pointless suicide by doing stupid things like standing up in the middle of a street shooting it out -- with machine guns).

    The good guys can only do anything if lead by the nose by James "I'm not playing Alan Shore again, I swear" Spader. It's a matter of waiting for him to tell them exactly what is going on, and trying not to be bored by the time-fillers between the first kaboom of the bad guys and Reddington's Great Exposition to get us to the end. For me, that boredom begins somewhere in the middle of the kaboom and doesn't end.

    If it weren't for the gigantically disinteresting is-he-my-daddy subplot this would be, well, SHIELD.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2014, at 10:53 PM, prettyinpink wrote:

    I think the writers have a plan with Megan Boone. First of all, she actually LOOKS LIKE James Spader. Have you noticed the profile shots they keep showing? Also, he is drawing out her "darker/smarter/i'm the daughter of the most brilliant criminal mastermind side" as the episodes go along. She's SUPPOSED to be kind of boring at first. Remember in the first episode she says, "Why me? I'm nobody special." and Red says he thinks she's very special. I think that is all foreshadowing. I think we should give her character a chance. I kind of like her. And, I think she and her hotheaded partner should DEFINITELY fall in love eventually. (the 2-part episode where the partner was in the glass box with Red was great! And, his acting was great! And, James Spader was SO GREAT in those episodes!!!) And, the boss, Harold, is about to come into his own, too - now that his boss has "stopped her yammering." ;) Seriously, I think this is a great show already. Of course, I wouldn't have ever even watched the first episode, though, if James Spader hadn't been the lead. I LOVE watching his "crazy." I love how he has already kind of incorporated a bit of a "split personality" into Red. Red SHOULD have a split personality! You can tell - he's been done wrong and he's done with it! AND I love how he seems like he is tired and just wants to come home...he needs some redemption...and, he so desperately wants to be around his daughter. The episode where he "cleans house" is FANTASTIC! My daughter keeps telling me that my sense of humor is way too dark. But, come on! He is AWESOME! Wouldn't you love to just walk in and start shooting some dude that has double crossed you? I find Red SO interesting/hilarious/sad/compelling/fascinating! I already love this show!! James Spader just gets better and better with age. And, Megan Boone is actually darling. She's just barely starting to let it out - like when she was coy with him in the Montreal restaurant. He was SO happy! And, when he showed up at her house after being gone for three weeks...she could barely contain her joy! Seriously, I love this show. I'm sad it's going to be off for so long just because of the stupid olympics! ;) The ONLY character that I LOATHE is the passive aggressive husband! I HATE him!!! He has to go!!! I laughed out loud when he didn't even hug back when Agent Keen hugged him in the last episode! (that was kind of good acting - he's already moving on...he's met someone who strokes his ego) Anyway, I'm looking forward to the episode where the truth comes out about him and she can be set free from that ball and chain! So...in a nutshell...this show is AWESOME! And, I can tell that it is only going to get even better!!! Oh, okay...just one more thing...The first scene in the first episode where they just zoom up on Red's nose and eyes...that was FANTASTIC!! What a perfect way to start the show!!! And, James Spader's acting...WOW!! He is AMAZING!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 12:44 AM, whatwehavehere wrote:

    The show premise is good. Spader is excellent as he was on Boston Legal. The writers destroyed that show after the strike when they morphed it into a silly relationship piece. The truth worth was in dealing with subjects like the death penalty or other controversial issues., They had some good ones but Shatner and Spader were wasted near the end. The writers need to get on the ball and decide where they are going with the back story while they solve the weekly story, It is a balance. Tease too much and you lose the audience, too little and you must give the audience a new puzzle. Example: Mentalist wore out the Red John story and are going in a new direction. Can they make the transition? Can Intelligence pick off The Blacklist? The answer is in the writers hands.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 9:11 AM, Canofcorn44 wrote:

    I am going to have to disagree with some of this. First, James Spader is a class of his own. He is that good of an actor. I think the rest of the class is excellent especially the guy who plays Liz's husband. He comes across as a nice guy, but my guess is he is going to end up Number One on Reddington's Blaclist. I don't get all the hate for Megan Boone as Liz. I think she plays the part excellent. Her character is supposed to be young, inexperienced, and she is tormented between Reddington (she is starting to become attached to him) and whether or not her husband is as bad as Reddington claims. This is Spader and Boone's show so the other characters don't have to be as developed. I do think the character of Ressler is interesting as well. He is mainly by the book, but occasionally lets emotion overtake him and I don't think he knows how to handle that.

    I have loved every episode to date and this is one of the few shows I watch on the networks these days. I have no complaints at all about this show.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 9:15 AM, CJHames wrote:

    We've watched every episode. Spader is frighteningly good, and there are others who are very good as well.

    For example, all though we've only seen her a few times, the lad who comes in after Redd and cleans up his bloody mess is quite good. The man who played the foster home maniac on the last episode was very good. The man who played the part of the father who was killing people to try and save his dying child born out of an affair was very good as well. These are just some excellent actors I can remember off the top of my head.

    But the regular cast - sans Spader - ehhhh. I don't think Agent Kene (Megan Boone) is awful, but her sidekick is average at best. And I wish they would give Harry Lennix a more commanding role. They make him out to be a very ineffective, wishy-washy leader IMO.

    The husband just plain sucks.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 9:23 AM, manaloof wrote:

    Your analysis is spot-on in most respects. I would, however, give benefit of doubt to the cast at this point. Spader is an exceptionally brilliant actor. Ms. Boone and the other regulars can be forgiven for struggling, by comparison, to overcome the handicapps of such poorly constructed characters. NBC...PLEASE...get a director and writers who can turn this mess around. If I have to wait around for Spader to find another vehicle, I'm going to be highly p.o.'d.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 10:40 AM, uptohere wrote:

    I hope CBS finds a better vehicle for Spader. He's the best.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 11:42 AM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    Thanks for all the replies, guys!

    I'm glad to see so many involved readers who are also interested in this show.

    Basically, the writers seem to spend all their energy crafting Spader's scenes, then having one intern fill in the blanks for the rest of the plot.

    It also feels like Spader takes up so much of the budget that they could only hire these little-known actors/actresses. Boone is best known for "My Bloody Valentine 3D" and Eggold (her husband) is mostly known for the new "90210".

    But yes, the writers don't do them any favors either, with the lazy writing and silly solutions. The worst one was when they tracked down the girl by her GLUCOSE METER. I think they got those confused with remotely monitored pacemakers. Ugh.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 5:48 PM, MountainMan999 wrote:

    James Spader is AWESOME!!!! The best actor on TV. Megan Boone is beautiful but she actually has shorter hair and wears a wig for the show. :-( Please put all the writers in ONE room and agree on a plot and where ALL the characters are going.

    Didn't Keene find numerous Passports and a handgun that belong to her husband under the floorboards in their living room. What happened to that plot line? GEEZ

    This show has so much potential. I love it. But it often leaves me confused. It will not survive if they don't fix the writing.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:48 PM, c0mradez wrote:

    Aye for James Spader

    Replace Megan Boone, I'm sorry everytime I see her, makes me want to burn my TV. She can't even convey the simplest emotion in the show. Its like watching Kristen Stewart tries hard to convey emotion.

    Opening was awesome and interesting but as the show goes on... it gets less and less interesting on the interaction between agent keen and her husband. I mean come on already, I knew that they want to stretch the plot so that it would develop somehow but give a proper hint.

    The partner Mr. Studd is not helping either, BOND ALREADY. Make a fat joke or whatever.

    it felt stalemate to the human interaction which is bad for viewers because they want that connection.

    I do really hope the writers/producers of this show gets on it. I mean the opening is AWESOME. The show should be continuing to be awesome

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 2:56 PM, amerigirl wrote:

    I agree with Leo Sun, my only hope is nbc is listening and they develop the characters of Elizabeth Keen and Ressler. James Spader can't carry the show by himself or it's going to die. The Blacklist show is great right now. But it's going to get tiresome and boring. Right now James Spader makes the show, It's his portroyal of Red that keeps everyone watching.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 11:35 PM, bartmas wrote:

    Oh me...Megan Boone was NOT believable in this last episode...resting her head on her husband..poor acting, on the train...poor acting, resting her head on Spader at the end.. poor acting... and just when I thought she might be improving...Sorry Megan.. you need to do a Disney film... leave the Action Adventure for someone else....NBC needs to kill her off and replace her with a twin sister... but choose her wisely..replace her with someone who is believable ...sweet but could stick you with a blade and finish off her slice of pizza at the same time... you can be sweet and innocent and still action adventurous..but Megan needs to go to Disney.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 11:39 PM, bartmas wrote:

    ps. NBC.. maybe you should turn to your fans to develop your characters...right now the rest of the cast is weak... replace Boone.. and give the rest of the cast better scripts...better take on some new writers.. hate to see this show get dumped when I enjoy Spader so much.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 1:33 AM, tobin10 wrote:

    The main problem with this is the break in shows spend the money and time make the episodes back to back or you will lose the audience

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2014, at 12:49 AM, rockroll wrote:

    I could not agree more with your review. Please fire the female lead. She is simply terrible. Focus on Spader or end the series!

  • Report this Comment On September 10, 2014, at 3:04 PM, SoNotGood wrote:

    I sit in disbelief. I've never commented....on anything. I don't even have a facebook account....

    My comment is much later than the rest as Netflix streaming is my source. What I have to say:

    I've never actually yelled at my television until now. Not during football games, not even the superbowl we just won!

    Everything is so predictable, that I actually "complete...each....other's....sentences." Truly, the writers need investigating. Are they limited by some executive force? If not, immediate termination for the lot.

    I can't believe that there is an article about this, let alone comments, but I'm sure GLAD there are!

    You've all immediately confirmed my issue with this show.

    I suppose I should say "issues" as I don't believe the writing is completely responsible for the lack of any weight in the acting.

    Save Mr. Spader, of course. Like all of you have said, he simply carries the show. Last night, while listening (sort of) to a show I literally said that aloud. I'm sure my dog doesn't care and the television is an object, so who was I talking to? Nobody! That's how frustrating it is!

    So, why do I watch? Well, I no longer watch unless James is onscreen. Truly. While listening off and on (background noise), I check email and play games and only look up when I hear his voice.

    SUCH a disappointment. Why do we need each person to say one or two sentences in a paragraph? Why is the FBI less professional and just completely unbelievable compared to anybody in very simple-minded type shows like Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, etc. These shows, I think, are responsible for our lack of good entertainment.

    Britain's MI-5 is certainly boring in some places and often provides too lengthy an experience of hyper-vigilance.

    That said, as a veteran, I can't stand when, on Blacklist, I see and hear complete inaccuracies in movement, practices and jargon. I'm VERY gracious with the latitude I give most shows in this regard and I've come to accept that most aren't so realistic. However, other shows have the majority of this aspect of the genre spot on.

    Serious clean up in writing, removing the ENTIRE FBI cast....none of them are good actors. Perhaps the "Boy Scout" fellow, but his lines are total CRAP! He comes off as down right ignorant and provides the appropriate brow furrows, etc. to accentuate it. He may actually be a good actor, but just sinking to the level of writing provided for the character.

    I was in this mind frame in perhaps the 2nd or 3rd episode. As that's the case, this show can't possibly come correct in time....unless our country is full of morons or folks who are content with background noise, like myself.

    James Spader is it. Period. The concept is very appealing. However, the show doesn't just fall short....it digs it's own, bottomless, pit. I hope James brought some climbing gear and just gets out of it before it's a monkey on his back.

    Oy! It's painful!!

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2014, at 7:47 PM, rockroll wrote:

    PLease Kill off Agent can not act Keen ASAP! She ruins the show. And my God that hair!!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2014, at 10:30 AM, Woodrow wrote:

    Replace Megan boone with a rock or a popsicle stick. She is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo horrible! No acting skills at all.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2014, at 12:42 AM, Nptexas wrote:

    I joined this site to specifically agree with Woodrow's comment above. Lizzie is just the worst. And the wig. Why is that necessary when it looks so ridiculous. Yes, replace her with a Popsicle stick. Poor James.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2812782, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/1/2014 2:41:31 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement