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With very few network offerings creating any advance buzz — much less having a premise that might, possibly, who knows, be interesting — NBC’s Blindspot appears to have an advantage.
A naked woman crawls out of a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square fully covered in tattoos.
That’s a good start. It’s different. It’s eye-catching. At least she isn’t a bomb – Times Square was cleared precisely because the bag had a tag that said, “Call the FBI.”
Not only that — she has no memory of who she is, and the tattoos are all fresh. Like, really fresh. She’s a walking message, a treasure map, a riddle and a warning of sorts.
So, yeah, that’s enough to start watching.
And Blindspot (not the title you’d expect or hope for when your series is about a woman covered in tattoos) has enough going for it early on — despite some real bouts of silliness — that it’s one of those few and elusive pilots that can be endorsed for at least initial evaluation. The reward for spending an hour is mostly worth it.
Of course, this is the part — and it will be repeated throughout the rollout of the network’s fall-season fare — where it’s important to state that Blindspot is just a pilot. It’s one calculated hour. Networks, mostly because they are working on a development schedule built in antiquity, either can’t or won’t send multiple episodes to critics. And it’s just bad form and bad criticism to vouch for one single episode, no matter how good (or bad). And so the bulk of the network reviews are going to be, basically, “Who the hell knows?” That’s not a great business model in this era of too much TV, but the networks are almost always the last to learn a lesson.
At least with Blindspot, curiosity likely will lead to watching one more episode. That can’t be said for a lot of other series.
Created and written by Martin Gero, there’s some Blacklist DNA here as well (not a bad show to be compared to, at least in principle). Blindspot is the story of Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander), the aforementioned woman coming out of the duffel bag in Times Square with multiple body-covering tattoos. She’s been injected with a drug — and lots of it — that makes her forget her past. She’s a blank slate, except for her body being a billboard. And tattooed right between her shoulders is the name “Kurt Weller” of the FBI (played by Sullivan Stapleton.
That, of course, gets the FBI’s attention, and off we go, trying to figure out why anyone would do this and what, exactly, Jane is capable of. As it turns out, a lot — if she sees Chinese, she suddenly can speak it. And in a tight spot, Jane finds she’s kind of a badass with the martial arts — and a deadeye with a gun, too.
If you’re thinking, well, this is a variation of an idea based on another variation of an idea — yes. But in 2015 for NBC, this is cause for excitement. Based on the notion there’s a plethora of great television, there’s still room for TV shows that do what they were supposed to do all those years ago, when TV was a sickly cousin to movies instead of vastly superior: simply entertain the tired masses.
Blindspot does that in this pilot, despite a fair number of instances where your brain might think, “Um, no, they would never let her do that.” But that’s your old cable/streaming mentality kicking in. You’re thinking too hard. Someone wiped this woman’s memory and inked her entire body — plus she totally can kick ass. Just go with it, and let the bigger mysteries play out. Besides, the cast even includes the wonderful British actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste. So it can’t be all bad. Or, maybe it can and the next episode will prove that it is. Who knows? But it’s a pilot worth your time.
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