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The Blacklist: The Complete First Season(TV) (2013-2014)
Former government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) has eluded capture for decades. But he suddenly surrenders to the FBI with an offer to help catch a terrorist under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen (Megan Boone), a young FBI profiler who's just barely out of Quantico.
For more about The Blacklist: The Complete First Season and the The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release, see the The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 11, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: James Spader, Megan Boone, William Sadler, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Parminder Nagra
Director: Joe Carnahan
» See full cast & crew
The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review
"Oh hell, Dembe. Get the hacksaw. We're gonna have to take him out of here in pieces."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 11, 2014
The Blacklist is the latest in a long line of formula-driven series to air on NBC, each one indulging in more plot twists and gotcha cliffhangers than the last. But here's the real twist: it gets really good. Not decent-good. Not eh, it's worth DVR'ing-good. Not there isn't anything else on-good. Legitimately good. Addicting. Fun. Surprising. Willing to do whatever it takes to keep you guessing. The kind of show you mildly enjoy for a few episodes, reeled in each week by a single hook -- in this case, once-and-future scene chewer James Spader -- only to realize you're craving more and more, week in and week out; getting excited for each new episode, each new revelation, each new twist and each devilishly delicious bit of villainy the showrunners deliver. The Blacklist may be a formula-driven series, but it does what the best of its ilk do: bravely taking the paths least traveled, turning left when all signs point right, turning right when all signs point left, and switching up that oh so precious formula until everyone watching comes to understand all options are on the table, everything is possible and anything can happen.
It's not a perfect series by any means. Everyone who's not Raymond Reddington, or some of the more memorable criminals-of-the-week, suffers in the shadows of first-class character actors, each of whom are clearly having a blast being as bad as they can be. (Alan Alda as a shady villain in a tenuous business relationship with Spader's Reddington? Yes please.) The FBI's brightest boy scouts and most devoted girl scouts are a bit too straight-laced early on, and the main cast's job seems to boil down to reacting to the assassins, serial killers and masterminds pushing the heroes into action. Give The Blacklist time to work, though, and you'll find that criticism begins to fade rather quickly. Death, betrayal and sinister agendas are the series' lifeblood, and it's the time spent focusing on the criminal element that helps set this network procedural apart from the many, many others littering the airwaves. If Season Two continues to break down walls, sacrifice characters and retain its sharp element of surprise, The Blacklist has nowhere to go but up. Even with a somewhat rocky start, Season One proves itself more than capable. Here's hoping audiences continue tuning in and keeping this little gem alive.
Raymond "Red" Reddington (Spader), one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, surrenders at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He claims the FBI and he have the same interest: getting rid of dangerous criminals and terrorists. Reddington agrees to co-operate, but insists he will speak only to Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), a rookie FBI profiler. Keen questions Reddington's sudden interest in her, despite his claim she is very special. After the FBI brings down a terrorist with his help, Reddington reveals that this terrorist is only the first of many. In the last two decades, he's made a list of criminals and terrorists he believes matter the most; a blacklist of politicians, mobsters, spies and international terrorists. He promises to help catch them all... with the caveat that Liz continues to work as his partner, whether she wants to or not.
The Blu-ray release of The Blacklist: The Complete First Season includes twenty-two episodes spread across five BD-50 discs. Episodes are as follows:
The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Blacklist features one of the more eye-catching high definition television presentations of the year, with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that's striking and proficient. Colors are natural and beautifully saturated, skintones are lifelike, primaries are strong, black levels are satisfying (albeit a bit muted on occasion), and contrast is consistent from episode to episode. Detail is the stuff of high-scoring praise as well. Edges are crisp and refined (without anything in the way of ringing or aliasing), textures are wonderfully resolved, close-ups are revealing and delineation is excellent. Moreover, the image is as clean and precise as the finest TV releases on the market. Macroblocking, banding and other eyesores are MIA, and there aren't any major issues to report. The Blacklist has never looked better.
The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is also most impressive. Dialogue is clear, intelligible, believably grounded in the soundscape and always meticulously prioritized; never under-supported, never overwhelmed. Low-end output adds plenty of power too, punching up gunfire, lending substantial kick to explosions and throwing the LFE channel's weight behind everything from the pulsing action score to the chases, fistfights and assassinations that fill out the episodes. The rear speakers are just as effective, deploying dead-eye directional effects, slick pans and all the qualities of an immersive soundfield without stumbling or faltering. Quieter scenes are slightly less involving (ambience is excellent, even though some scenes come off as a touch too front-heavy), but that's the exception rather than the rule. The Blacklist sounds great, meaning Sony's AV presentation doesn't disappoint in the least.
The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Blacklist isn't the next must-see HBO drama or the second coming of the network procedural. It's heavy on formula and brimming with plot twists, just like every disposable show on television. But... but... it isn't disposable television. Quite the opposite. Led by a series-defining performance by a scene-stealing James Spader, it's an addicting, smartly written villain-of-the-week thriller that defies convention, knows how to build tension and develop suspense, has a knack for drawing out a good mystery, and has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. Sony's 5-disc Blu-ray release delivers too, with a terrific video presentation, strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and a decent selection of extras.
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The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: August 12-19 - August 10, 2014
For the week of August 12th, Sony is bringing the first season of NBC's uneven procedural The Blacklist to Blu-ray. Other titles include the intense Tom Hardy-starring drama Locke, Disney's Hercules (part of a spate of catalog releases from the Mouse House that ...
• The Blacklist: The Complete First Season Blu-ray - June 16, 2014
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray The Blacklist: The Complete First Season. The five-disc set will be available for purchase on August 12th.
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