The problem with The Blacklist (Mondays, 10 p.m. NBC) is that it’s a network procedural show. NBC is promoting it heartily, James Spader is terrifically creepy, and the new series is winning its timeslot, but the limits are clearly visible.
The neatest contrast to reveal those limits is internal.
Diego Klattenhoff plays a supporting role in The Blacklist just as he did in Homeland (as Mike Faber), but that’s where the critical links between the shows end.
The Blacklist, while moderately entertaining, is pigeonholed into the narrative simplicity of network procedurals (self-contained storylines that are wrapped up within the episode with some character backstories extending across longer narrative arcs) while a standout series like Homeland is fresh, surprising, and complex.
It’s not that I don’t like The Blacklist – I’ve watched all of the available episodes so far – but why should I continue to watch something so formulaic when there are other options out there?
More to come soon on the season’s new sitcoms…