I still remember how much I hated James Spader's smug character in "Pretty in Pink" back in the 80's. I remember that smug, sarcastic tone of voice, that deadpan delivery, that smart a**ey way about him. No actor radiates such bemused contempt for others quite like Spader.
Shoot forward 3 decades, he hasn't changed much at all, just minus most of his hair, and a few wrinkles.
Anyway, I'm nearly through with series one now. I will be buying series two, just not wanting to pay £14 for it... This series is really good. What I like about it is that it's easy to watch. Particularly after I got through series one of The Wire, which requires your full attention, and even then, you feel as though you need to watch each episode a second time. This one, you can watch with one eye shut. It's effortless. Sometimes, its a bit silly. Sometimes, it's far too easy. But what really makes this is James Spader in the lead role.
No, it's not entirely believable that he'd turn himself in, nor is it believable that he'd demand to only work with Liz Keen, a rookie FBI agent out of nowhere. Nor is it believable that the FBI would just let him go round the world freely once he's turned himself in. But who cares. This is light entertainment, and it does the job.
Megan Boone does a decent job in her role as Liz Keen, although again a bit of a stretch that she leads every hunt tipped off by Reddington (Spader), but hey, this is Hollywood. There's also decent chemistry between her and Spader, so this works.
Also good performances by the young blonde agent (what's his name), and of course delightful "cameos" by actors such as the likable monster psycho from Prison Break (Teabag), and a few others, including one episode featuring the head detective from The Wire (as a bad guy in this one). My, they do intermix, don't they.
Reddington is basically going through his blacklist - tipping off the FBI as an informant - we're not sure why yet - with Keen leading the investigations, with his help of course. One killer after another, they go after, catch, then onto the next one. Interwoven with this is Keen's relationship with her husband - Reddington tells her that her husband isn't who she thinks hs is. Initially, she doesn't believe this. But in time she comes to see that Reddington isn't lying to her. The big question is, what is Reddington to her? He's very fatherly, but is he her dad? Remains to be seen.
In many scenes, some of the dialog is highly reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs - almost modelling Spader's "charming" character on Hannibal Lecter. Some of it bordering on light plagiarism (changing "fava beans and chianti" to some other food and drink, for example). But again, who cares. This is a fun ride.
If you want light entertainment, if you want a series where you won't struggle to pay attention, or where you're not drifting off from boredom, then get this. Definitely worth a whirl. There's some bits that are even funny.