Thanks to his Emmy-winning antics on Boston Legal and his portrayal of the ultimate corporate survivor and parasite (Robert California) on The Office, James Spader's electric performance on The Blacklist can't be described as "surprising," but it has been well-received and it appears to be one of the major draws for the serialized crime thriller.
How successful has The Blacklist been for NBC? The word "behemoth" comes to mind, with the show standing as the best-rated new broadcast drama this season (among the key adults 18-49 demo), while also outdrawing all other broadcast dramas (new or not) in that same demo. With that kind of performance, it's no wonder that the network has decided to give the Jon Bokenkamp-produced show a gift in return - a bit of security in the form of a full 22-episode order for season 2.
Here's NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt's laudatory words on The Blacklist and the decision to renew the show:
"The success of 'The Blacklist' demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television, and I’m impressed on a daily basis by this creative team’s imagination and the extent to which they will go to capture this grand vision on film. [...] With gratitude to both our partners at Sony Pictures Television and our NBC development executives who took a great script and shepherded it into a great series, I hope that Red Reddington never runs out of names to bring down on his list!"
To a certain extent, it's Greenblatt's job to hype The Blacklist, and he and the rest of the NBC higher-ups doubtlessly deserve a victory lap. But is it too early to declare that the show is a standard-bearer for inspired storytelling on broadcast TV and not just a show that is very successful and full of potential?
As previously stated when The Blacklist got it's back nine order, a show can secure an enduring legacy on the strength of one great character (like House or Dexter), but this show's developing penchant for chasing its own tale makes it worth noting that that path can lead to disappointment down the road. Sometimes, once beloved character traits can lose their charm over time (like House or Dexter).
Simply put: think of the things you like most about Red Reddington, now think about seeing them 100 more times over the next few years with little variation, and you can see why The Blacklist can't rest on its laurels or its Red.
Don Draper, Nucky Thompson, Carrie Mathison, and Francis Underwood - these are characters that many similarly can't keep their eyes off of, and they have they help of masterfully-constructed stories and almost equally compelling characters.
Does Red Reddington have as much support on The Blacklist? At present, the show has a lot going for it (particularly Megan Boone's constantly improving Elizabeth Keen, Parminder Nagra, and the tantalizing recent addition of Alan Alda), but Spader's performance stands far above the rest of it. That's good and to be expected with a man of his talent, but it might be bad in the long run.
So, while The Blacklist is receiving the twin booster shots of security and praise at the moment, it might be the right time to also attempt to flesh out some of the side players and embrace narrative economy while cutting down on the thriftless and collateral mysteries.
What do you think? Are you happy to see The Blacklist get renewed for season 2?
The Blacklist will return January 13 @10pm on NBC.
Source: Coming Soon
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