Third-episode verdict: Blindspot (US: NBC; UK: Sky Living)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC. Starts September 21st
in the UK: Acquired by Sky Living

As I remarked on Friday, in common with many of this autumn’s new US shows, Blindspot is gradually getting better after having a crappy pilot. Whether or not the networks rushed into production with shows that had not been given enough development time, I don’t know, but whatever the reason, a number of new shows have slowly been fixing their problems in the subsequent episodes.

Blindspot‘s pilot had all sorts of problems, not the least a startling lack of originality, despite its ‘high concept’ idea: a naked, amnesiac woman is found in a bag in Times Square and the tattoos that cover her body turn out to be clues to crimes that are going to be committed. Who is she? Who left her this way? Why tattoos?

Who cares? We’ve seen better in Prison Break, John Doe, Kyle XY et al.

Certainly, given the lack of chemistry between the two leads (Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton), as well as the lack of humour and the general dark moody fightiness of show, by the end of the first episode it would have been hard to come up with a good answer to that last question at least.

However, despite my prediction that the show would drip feed over many episodes the few answers to the other questions, Blindspot has managed in the past two episodes to quickly drop all mannner of hints and even answers that help both to flesh out Alexander and also Stapleton, pulling off the near impossible trick of creating a shared background for the two characters that’s not romantic (yet) but which nevertheless gives them a bond.

Hopefully, the show will then lighten up a bit, since Sullivan’s guilty, growly, haunted FBI agent isn’t really an enjoyable presence and Alexander is naturally a traumatised blank slate. A few smiles wouldn’t go amiss.

Now the show’s biggest problems are its plots and action scenes. For a high concept show, it has a certain mundanity, with special forces soldiers turned bad and aggrieved suicide bombers being the show’s stock in trade. Where are the Carlos the Jackal and the Treadstone of this Bourne Identity

Even if they did show up, the programme needs some improvements in direction. Again, dark and moody can set an atmosphere, but if you can’t see what’s going on, what’s the point? There’s no tension, no excitement, in blurs and shadows.

To be honest, on this score, Blindspot could learn a few things from NBC’s other new action show starring a former Strike Back lead, The Player, despite the latter getting worse ratings than this. But then Blindspot does have Jaimie Alexander quite naked, quite a lot.

While Blindspot is still largely an average US action TV show, it does at least show some promise now, as well as an ability to adapt and change and a welcome desire not to keep its cards too close to its chest. So while I’m not recommending yet, I will be sticking with it for the forseeable future. 

Baromer rating: 3
TMINE’s prediction: Will certainly last a full season, but it ever faces any decent competition in the schedules, it’s likely to get cancelled


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.