TV Listings | Are you ready for Red Reddington?

Pick of the Week: The Blacklist (TV3 Mon 21:25)

According to Entertainment Weekly, NBC’s new espionage action series The Blacklist “plays to our cynicism about heroism and turns redemption into a paranoid conspiracy thriller”.

In the opening scene of the first episode, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a former government spy turned international criminal, gives himself up for arrest at the FBI’s headquarters in Washington DC.

Red, played by triple Emmy award-winning actor James Spader (Boston Legal), claims he would like to offer his help in foiling an upcoming terror attack masterminded by the long believed dead Ranko Zamani (Jamie Jackson), an orthodox Serbian nationalist. Red has one condition, however:  he will only communicate with rookie profiler Elizabeth Keene (Megan Boone of Law & Order: LA).

Keene’s superiors are understandably sceptical – Red has been at the top of the FBI’s most wanted list for years – so why come in from the cold now?  What is his agenda? And what is his fixation with Keene?

The impending doom of a terrorist attack forces them to co-operate however, and what begins is a relationship that has many similarities to the one between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Episode by episode, Red unleashes havoc on those around him from within the confines of his cell.

The Blacklist revives the trusted ticking bomb formula, with nail biting (almost unbelievable) action and interesting plot twists. Indeed, it is a credit to the series creator Jon Bokencamp (Perfect Stranger) that he is able to breathe new life into familiar plots and still manages to make them enjoyable.

Ultimately however, Spader is the lynchpin that holds the series together. Who would have thought that the ex-Boston Legal actor would be able to play a menacing, narcissistic criminal mastermind so effortlessly? (CJ)

 

Also New:

No sir, Enemies of the People isn’t about Congress, but tracking down the perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide. But as surreal as confronting people responsible for thousands of deaths gets, it can’t compete with Bizarre Burials, which reveals that strippers often perform grave-side at Taiwanese funerals.

 

Elsewhere, catch the whole of American Future – A History by Simon Schama (DR2, Mon-Thu 00:25), a four-part series that originally aired before the 2008 election. Simply Italian (TV2, Sun 18:25) is an acclaimed Channel 4 cooking series from the UK; Our Nixon (SVT1, Tue 22:00) reveals the home movie side of Tricky Dicky; Catfish (TV3, Tue 20:00) is a partly-scripted reality TV show exposing people with fake social media profiles; there’s another chance to see Once Upon a Time, a fantasy series that takes the Lost approach to exploring the fairy tale past of characters living in modern day America. (BH)

Sport of the Week:

Every game is a test for Manchester United manager David Moyes, but who would have predicted Southampton, who after four straight wins sit fourth, have a chance in a fixture they last won in 1988. This week’s live Champions League games include Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund (TV3 Sport 1, Tue 20:45) and Real Madrid vs Juventus (same details on Wed). Elsewhere, there’s weightlifting and badminton – oh yes, October is a riveting month for sport. (BH)

Film of the Week:

Clint Eastwood rarely makes bad movies, but Hereafter is as fuddled as the afterlife experiences it depicts. Occasionally piercing, its three converging stories go where all the dead go: nowhere. Elsewhere, Duplicity is tedious, reuniting Clive Owen and Julia Roberts from Closer, but pushing its audience away; American Pie’s Chris Klein is miscast alongside 50 Cent in crime caper Caught in the Crossfire (DR3, Sat 00:50); after rocking Control, Sam Riley fails to ignite Brighton Rock (DR3, Fri 21:20); and Colombiana is girl with a gun garbage. (BH)

 

The only office in the world where the employees hide their illicit reading inside a pornComing Soon: Masters of Sex

It was only a matter of time before Martin Sheen (Tony Blair in The Queen) landed a top TV show, and this is most definitely it.

 

Set in the 1950s, it charts the discoveries of two scientists studying the sexual behaviour of humans – whereas Kinsey had previously interviewed them, this pair observed them – and it has already won rave reviews, scoring 85 on Metacritic.

 

“The performances, nurtured by such A-list directors as Michael Apted and John Madden, are extraordinary,” praised the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

“Based on the first six episodes, we’re being introduced to a show that can enlighten, entertain and contend for Emmys, all in the same breath,” chimed USA Today.

 

“It’s rare that a show can intuit what the viewer wants and deliver it, but that’s precisely what happened,” concurred the Washington Post. (BH)





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