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Title: The Blacklist : Season 3

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:82

“The Blacklist” is one of those shows that just SCREAMS “clichéd procedural”, and in fact that is exactly what it is. But for some reason Jon Bokenkamp and the ever famous James Spader have been able to craft it into something much smarter and sharper than it ever should have been. In fact, I beg to put forth that James Spader as Raymond Reddington is the life blood of the series. Take his wild scenery chewing out of the picture and we would just have another decent crime procedural. His sense of style and charm infuse a life into the series that shouldn’t be there. A life that makes the series go from “eh” to “I can’t stop watching!” every time the man is on screen. The third season changed things up with a giant bang, as the events of last season’s finale were just TOO big to continue going on with the status quo, and even though there is some definite filler in the series, the ending twist for this season leads us closer and closer to the truth about Lizzie’s parents.

If you haven’t watched the previous two seasons then you might want to skip down to the end, as there is no way I can’t give away some of the previous two season plot points.

Last time we left off Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) had just been framed by the Cabal leadership. Not to mention that she had just found out that her mother was a Russian spy and that the Attorney General of the United States was in cahoots with the cabal. Making the decision to end Tom’s life made her a wanted woman, and now she and Reddington (James Spader) are on the run, now hunted by the very same people that once employed her at the FBI. That isn’t to say that she still doesn’t have allies in the service. While her partner and now acting director, Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff), taking over the case she has to use all of those allies and friends in order to keep one step ahead of them as Red plans out their escape.

Like with most series, this conflict gets resolved about ½ of the way through the season. The Cabal are taken care of once and for all and Keen is exonerated for her crime against the crooked Attorney General. However, things are not so hunky dory, as a mysterious new player has just entered the game. Utilizing Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi….”X-men: First Class”), a Cabal assassin, this new player is hunting Elizabeth once more, and now she has to deal with not only this, but an unexpected pregnancy from her ex-husband, kind of boyfriend, guy who tried to kill her in season 1, Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold). Now Elizabeth has to find out just who is trying to hunt her down and watch as this new player answers some questions that even Red is not willing to answer. Answers that will change her life forever, and that of Red as well.

Season 3 ALMOST stumbled a bit during the center half of the running. You could tell there was some definite filler and fluff added in to stretch things out to a full season, but once the second half of the story gets kicked off the show gets back to being great again. Well, with one caveat. After a certain incident (I won’t spoil it) Reddington gets heavily depressed and morose, stretching out over several episodes. While it was a nice change of character for him, it just went on for too long, so by the time when the action starts up again you’re left with this sensation of relief that the boring part was over with so to speak.

Once again, it’s the characters in the show that elevate it above that of a standard police procedural. We still have the classic “villain of the week” scenario, with red telling the FBI about each of his black book of villains that he has stashed away, but it’s also integrated into the overarching story about Lizzie and Red’s relationship. The Megan Boone is still a fantastic addition to the show, but the series is really primarily there because of James Spader’s wildly entertaining version of Raymond Reddington. His ability to just eat up the scenery and look good doing so has made Spader quite a name in the industry (just watch “Boston Legal” to see what I’m talking about) and his characterization has been amped up to level 11 as the hilarious, yet incredibly deadly criminal.

The episode rundown is as follows

The Troll Farmer
Marvin Gerard
Eli Matchett
The Djinn
Arioch Cain
Sir Crispin Crandall
Zal Bin Hasaan
Kings of the Highway
The Director
The Director: Conclusion
Mr. Gregory Devry
The Vehm
Alistair Pitt
Lady Ambrosia
The Caretaker
Mr. Solomon
Mr. Solomon: Conclusion
Cape May
The Artax Network
Susan Hargrave
Alexander Kirk
Alexander Kirk: Conclusion


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4.5stars:
“The Blacklist” has maintained a very striking and very consistent look on home video for the last several seasons, and season 3 follows right along those footsteps with a brilliant looking transfer. Shot digitally the show looks magnificently clean, with fantastic looking detail from the rumpled look of James Spader’s aging face, to the intricate detailing along the sig pistol he likes to carry (well, alternate really since I notice more and more that he’s carrying a 1911). Daylight shots are glossy and clean, without any real major color grading and the show tends to have a very dark layer of interior shots that show off a teensy bit of black crush, which is something I noticed both in the broadcast version as well as all of the home video releases, making me conclude that it is a source issue rather than an encoding problem.

Audio :4.5stars:
Coming with a pair of French and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track (of which I’ll be reviewing the English track, of course), “The Blacklist” manages to shine once more, with a simply stellar auditory experience. The show manages to balance very bombastic and engaging action oriented bits with more traditional dialog centric moments in the show with relative ease. Dialog is crisp and clean with strong vocal range, and the dynamic range is impressively wide, with explosions and gunshots rocking the listener back in their seats after coming out of nowhere. Music is rich and full, adding to the sense of depth and backed up by a very powerful LFE support structure. All in all “The Blacklist” has maintained a very high standard in both audio and video, and this release shows the TLC that Sony has given to one of their better TV show releases.

Extras :3stars:

• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• From the Shadows: Villains of Season 3
• Episode Commentaries
• Creating The Stunts: Script to Screen
• Outside the Box: Making The Blacklist Comic Book
• All About Aram
• Red’s Gems: Favorite Lines From Season 3

Overall: :4stars:

If I could describe the show with one sentence it would be “Elizabeth Keen and her horrible no good bad life”, as Keen just has one string of awful, no good, bad luck throughout each season. She’s closer and closer to finding out the truth, but she gets in way more trouble than it seems to be worth with every interaction between her and Reddington. Still, it makes for some incredibly entertaining TV and “The Blacklist” still remains one of my favorite broadcast TV shows still running (outside of the CW comic book series that is dominating right now). The audio and video are simply fantastic, as has been the case the previous 2 seasons, and the extras are actually rather substantial this time around. Definitely recommended if you have been keeping up with the series (and if you haven’t been keeping up then CATCH UP!). Recommended

Additional Information:

Starring: James Sapder, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff
Created by: Jon Bokenkamp
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Sony
Rated: TV-14
Runtime: 980 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 2nd, 2016

Buy The Blacklist : Season 3 On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Watch It

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