Friday tellybox, 25 September 2016: Blindspot and NCIS

Most of my tellybox time over the last week has been rugby-centered, because it’s the World Cup and I’ve got actual live rugby on my Canadian tellybox.

But fear not! When I haven’t been watching men hit each other for possession of an oval ball, it’s season premier time! And I did manage to tear myself away to watch two premiers. Only two, but this is why I set a low bar for the Friday tellybox slot 🙂

(Some spoilers escaped, so the rest is below the cut.)

Blindspot 1.01: Pilot

Visually, the opening to this is stunning. Beautifully shot, compelling imagery. The part where everyone is yelling at the naked confused woman who emerged from a bag in the middle of New York is a little problematic, but it doesn’t feel implausible, unfortunately. Although nothing can quite match that opener, the rest of this is gorgeous to look at, too. The way the camera moves and focuses on Jane during her early scenes adds to the sense of her confusion and somehow made it more real for me, as the viewer. Clearly, this is a show that’s going to look stunning no matter what else is happening.

The plot promises a lot and mostly delivers. I say mostly, because it did get a little mushy and police procedural when dealing with the ‘plot of the week’ aspect, but I’m assuming that’s a typical pilot weakness and we’ll get stronger stuff in future episodes. Pilots are notoriously difficult to get right, and I felt this one was closer to right than most.

What intrigued me more was the hints at the underlying arcs. Obviously, the big one is “who is Jane?”, and we know more than I expected to by the end. The other arcs are tied together and could be the most intriguing aspect to this show: who is the bearded man? What is his goal? Why did he tattoo Jane and leave a treasure map? What was the explosion they prevented supposed to accomplish?

What did Jane need so badly that she was wiling to make this sacrifice?

That last one could be the most intriguing one of all.

Jaime Alexander was the draw for me in trying this show out. I’ve loved her in the Marvel movies and I wanted to see what she could do with something more substantial. The answer is: a hell of a lot. She’s stunning in this, putting together the combination of confused amnesiac woman with some badass fighting and making it work. It’s Alexander who sold this pilot for me. The strong-jawed FBI agent was moderately forgettable and interchangable with any other strong-jawed FBI agent in other shows, but Alexander’s Jane was the character who held me.

Hopefully the other characters–including Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s FBI chief with a secret–will become equally captivating as we move into the meat of the series.

Not a perfect pilot, but strong, and good enough to keep me watching.

NCIS 13.1: Stop the Bleeding

This is my show that I watch when I want to turn my brain off. It’s mindless entertainment, rarely challenging, and engaging too much brain makes the problematic aspects hard to get past.

I’d forgotten that the previous season had ended on a cliff-hanger, but thankfully there was a “previously on” segment that filled me in. Most of the episode was standard mindless chase the bad guy stuff, which filled the time nicely without requiring me to think hard.

There was one interesting thing: Jon Cryer (from Two and a Half Men) playing a trauma surgeon. Not a role that I would have pictured him in and he mostly sold it, better than I’d expected, at least. What intrigued me was the level of backstory and character that they gave him. Are NCIS trialing another backdoor pilot? Would they do that through a season opener?


One for NCIS fans only, I felt, but not too bad and kept me entertained for an hour.