Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: NBC's The Blacklist

The Blacklist PreviewThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including a futuristic tale from the Fringe team, a new CW showcase for another Amell and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | NBC’s The Blacklist (Mondays at 10/9c; premieres Sept. 23)

THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Castle, ESPN’s Monday Night Football, CBS’ Hostages

THE CAST | James Spader (Boston Legal), Megan Boone (Law & Order: LA), Diego Klattenhoff (Homeland), Harry Lennix (Dollhouse) and Ryan Eggold (90210).

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE SET-UP | Spader is Raymond “Red” Reddington, a onetime government agent who is now one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. But then Red up and surrenders himself in the FBI lobby, offering his mad skills to hunt down and whittle down a “blacklist” of mobsters, spies and international terrorists. His one, mysterious demand: That the only agent he speaks to is Elizabeth Keen (Boone), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. Lennix and Klattenhoff play Liz’s boss and colleague, respectively, Eggold her husband.

RELATED | Fall TV Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Acknowledging that the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland pilots have not yet been made available, The Blacklist thus far stands as the best new drama of the fall. Now, some may skim the trailer and dismiss Spader as being “hammy,” but he’s actually inhabiting a role tailor-made The Blacklist - Season Pilotfor the three-time Emmy winner, a man as enigmatic as he can be brilliant, at times charming but also abruptly (and entertainingly) prickly. He’s half Thomas Crown, half Hannibal Lecter. Also, the concept quickly pulls you in, as Red assists the FBI (though never in the most direct way possible, it seems), and the pilot closes with a decent-enough twist (and no, it’s not about why Liz is his “chosen one”).

Boone is a bit green as the female lead, going toe-to-toe with a room-filling personality such as Spader’s, but perhaps that helps sell her alter ego’s own noob status. That said, the show needs to be sure to convince us of Keen’s top-of-her-class smarts. But all told, this is one premiere that should be on your list.

RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: The CW’s Reign, ABC’s Trophy Wife, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, CBS’ HostagesNBC’s IronsideABC’s Super Fun NightThe CW’s The Tomorrow PeopleFox’s Almost HumanCBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | NBC’s Revolution (now airing on Wednesdays) had no trouble opening strongly in this time slot last fall, and that was against two vets — Rick Castle and Steve McGarrett. With Hawaii Five-0 now bounced to Friday, The Blacklist‘s fate in part lies in how well CBS’ Hostages — a solid, less-procedural thriller in its own right — premieres. Barring a dire debut, I have to imagine this will be one of the Peacock’s first full-season pick-ups.

Watch a video preview for The Blacklist, then vote in our poll below.

Comments (34)

  • I’m glad this got a good review; it is at the top of my list for new dramas. James Spader seems made for this role. Even when he’s doing comedy, he seems a little creepy to me. lol

    Comment by kelsey – July 18, 2013 11:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m not the biggest fan of Spader but the promo did look good and it seems like the kinda show I’d watch so I definitely plan on watching the first few episodes before making any final judgement.

    My only issue right now is that 4+ minute (or so) trailer they released seemed to be a condensed version of the Pilot episode so I feel like I know what’ll happen but I’ll check it out anyway.

    Comment by Dan – July 18, 2013 11:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ll probably DVR it because of Castle, but I’m in. I love Spader and it sounds like an interesting series.

    Comment by Bella – July 18, 2013 11:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This and Almost Human are the shows I am most excited for! Can’t wait!

    Comment by Mare – July 18, 2013 11:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One of the best new dramas if not one of the best new shows of the Fall TV season and James Spader may have award show consideration. The Blacklist is the only new show I’m looking forward to and I can’t wait to tune in on September 23rd. BTW, I saw the trailer like hundred times on YouTube.

    Comment by Jack Bauer 2.0 – July 18, 2013 12:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve been reviewing fall pilots for years, and this is the best one I’ve seen yet! I wasn’t expecting a lot (based on the trailer, as you suggest), but the actual show was so compelling, I can’t wait for the series to begin this fall!

    Comment by TV Gord – July 18, 2013 12:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Of all the shows you have reviewed so far, this is the only one I care about. I will definately be watching.

    Comment by Dav – July 18, 2013 12:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Ditto that…this is the only new show other than S.H.I.E.L.D. that I plan to check out.

      Comment by mirvin365 – July 18, 2013 05:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Same here. All of the rest of the new crop so far this year just looks so…blah, but this one looks like it has true potential.

      Comment by Emgee – July 19, 2013 04:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Trailer looked awesome, I’m really looking forward to this one. I hope it does well, concidering it’s on NBC. But it has the best possible timeslot (after The Voice).

    Comment by Daisy – July 18, 2013 12:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Blacklist, Hostages and SHIELD.

    Comment by Teag – July 18, 2013 01:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You had me at James Spader, I’m all in!

    Comment by Ram510 – July 18, 2013 01:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • once I saw the trailer I was SOLD. It looks excellent; lots of single-episode plots, but some long season-arching ones as well. And also, James Spader….who is just, y’know, awesome in everything.
    And I’m also pretty sure the young FBI agent is his daughter, just no one knows it.

    Comment by mia – July 18, 2013 01:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • My thought also. Even though Hostages looks interesting, I will probably watch this. Hopefully, I will be able to watch Hostages online.

      Comment by majamababe – July 18, 2013 02:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • at first I was not convinced i would watch this based on the trailer, but after reading this I will definitely give it a try, so thanks Matt and TVline. Out of loyalty i’ll be watching Castle live so this will be DVR’d along with Hostages unless their so amazing i must watch it live then they’ll be bumped to live viewing, (something tells me they won’t be though)

    Comment by James D – July 18, 2013 01:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i’m so excited for this show, I think Spader is gonna kill it

    Comment by meatwad – July 18, 2013 02:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The trailer for the show looks good. I’m looking forward to watching it this fall.

    Comment by Joey – July 18, 2013 02:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Spader. nuff said.
    Castle who?

    Comment by broncfanwa – July 18, 2013 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Glad you mentioned the trailer wasn’t properly representative of the show, because it was truly terrible. I’m much more likely to check the show out since you said that.

    Comment by Important feedback. – July 18, 2013 02:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This, Intelligence & Almost Human are my top three on the new fall line up. The fact that OUTW and SHIELD pilots haven’t been made available concerns me; like movie critics not seeing bad movies before the premiere. Hopefully this isn’t the case though.

    Comment by Ty – July 18, 2013 02:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Have huge reservations about Megan Boone, but I am looking forward to watching the pilot.

    Comment by johnhelvete – July 18, 2013 03:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The pilot is all kinds of fun. I’m in!

    Comment by Sheldon W. – July 18, 2013 03:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • James Spader….one dimensional boring actor. Big pass on this. Castle live, and football DVR’d to avoid commercials

    Comment by Fan of None – July 18, 2013 06:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Spader is such a fun and interesting actor to watch I’m definitely in for The Blacklist!

    Comment by Sam – July 18, 2013 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Premise sounds like season 2 of alias.. Irina walks in to help take down SD-6 and as first will only speak with Sydney..

    Comment by mia – July 19, 2013 12:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I will DVR it because “Castle” is my favorite show on Mondays at 10:00pm, I liked the young Spader more than the old one, but he is a good actor, I hope that The Blacklist won’t be a threat to Castle, It is a twist from “Hannibal Lecter” without the cannibalizing but we all know what happen to “Hannibal” TV series last season. Hopeful “The Blacklist” & “Hostages” will cancel each other and Castle will end up as always number one.

    Comment by wubitnose – July 21, 2013 04:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Spader is a World Class actor that compels me to watch everything he appears in.

    Comment by Paul – July 26, 2013 11:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • saw the show last night ALL I CAN SAY ”FANTASTIC” spent the rest of the night thinking about it and I think I have it figured it out…….why he picked her and his “protective” nature towards this agent …….listen to the cues of her past and her recent discoveries “husband” and let me know what you thing……..

    Comment by Lynn – September 24, 2013 04:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The BlackList has just been canceled……………………………….ok, now that I got you BL fans attention. Last nights premier was excellent. Simply Red was perfect for the role and Liz played the newbie detective role to a ‘T’. The only thing I did not like about the first show was how easy it was to kidnap the little girl from Liz’s hands inside the over turned car. Since Liz is pregnant by her double crossing two timing husband/double agent, she should have had a heighten mother reaction to the girl being taken away under her ‘watch’.

    In regards to Red, something tells me he is related to Liz, either he is the biological father or related as a blood uncle. Red just knew way too much about Lizzy’s past as well as her scar on the hand. I really liked Lizzy’s resume in that she is more then eye candy, she actually is extremely intelligent and does a good job of profiling criminals, or at least her attempt. She still needs decades more experience to get into the mind of a criminal, after all, how could her husband have kept it a secret right under her nose that he was a double agent, she’s sleeping with him and having his baby, she should have at least had a clue.

    BL2 will be very interesting in that the past will play a big part in her future. Red will be even more close to Liz even though she nearly speared a pen through her neck and Tom will be in major hot water once Liz reveals she knows his past life regarding his espionage. Will Liz have the baby? Will Red reveal his secret regarding being the father/uncle? Will Tom go to jail or will Liz not have the heart to turn him in? And the money found? Where did it come from and who sent it and why? Hopefully BL2 will answer these questions.

    I give this show a 10+, finally a show with brains, action, eye candy, love story, twists and turns to captivate the mind as opposed to being shoved senseless programs of repeated stories over and over and over again with characters who look like ken and Barbie. Can’t wait for next week’s episode!


    Comment by Hugh 'Bunnyman' – September 24, 2013 05:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • yeah she is not pregnant, its an adoption agency, because she kept saying we are accepted and got approved, they had a interview and meeting, thats where the husband went and she could NOT make the appointment Remember are did we not watch the same show!!

      Comment by Asashii – September 25, 2013 07:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A little too network television-E for me, like most commercial break filled television, alot watered down, but somehow Hannibal runs as if it were on cable, they need to do the same for this, there are so many pg-13 tv shows that are suppose to be rated R on network teleision i can handle, cancelled after one season my predictions are!

    Comment by Asashii – September 25, 2013 07:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by PHYLLIS DIDIA – September 29, 2013 04:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Spader–awesome as ever. he’ll educate you in so many ways.. Masada, the black sea, the slimy world he enters and exits with champagne in hand. I’ll take a seat in his private jets and buckle in for a multi seasonal ride of an emmy filled show.

    Comment by bobbyC – December 5, 2013 10:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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