Black List

The Black List is approaching a moment where it might just do something that I don’t think a network TV series has ever done: Move on from a major character and tell a new story.

Spoiler Alert: I don’t watch Game of Thrones or Walking Dead so I have no idea what everyone is pissing on about over there. But even if they do kill off major characters they aren’t coming to the end of one story and starting a new one.

Is Liz really dead? If she’s not, this show is going to go in the tank in a hurry. Viewers will let you prank them only so much but once they get emotionally involved in a character loss, bringing them back is largely seen as a betrayal of trust.

But let’s assume for the moment that she is dead, that Megan Boone decided to leave the show to raise her baby and the writers complied by killing off her character. Doesn’t that mean the show is essentially dead?

Not really. The show has always been more about Reddington than Liz. The story they’ve been telling for the last three seasons is about his relationship with her. If she’s dead, the show can still continue with just Reddington and the members of the Post Office gang. The Blacklist is still there and Red could use it to achieve vengeance for Liz much in the way he’s used the list in the past to further his own grander schemes.

I think it would be a better show without Liz because, frankly, her story is over. They’ve already taken her everywhere they can without slipping into the trope-ridden nonsense of other shows like Castle who have continued on well beyond their sell by date.

Castle started out as a funny, clever, beautifully shot procedural with the added bonus of Nathan Fillion in the lead role. But at some point I looked up and realized that every character on the show had been kidnapped twice, shot once and presumed dead three times at which point it had begun to stray into soap opera territory.

They tried patching the holes with Castle’s new detective agency and bringing his daughter and out-of-nowhere sidekick Haley aboard but they could never get around the fact that Richard Castle’s real story was over the moment Kate said, “I love you.”

And then something that had been good quickly turned into incomprehensible and, honestly, sloppy mush.

I have no idea what the hell happened to Person of Interest. It started out as a mildly affecting show, a victim of the week in the style of The Equalizer, then grew into a fascinating critique of the surveillance society, then lost its fucking mind until the wheels came off. It wasn’t so much that they reached the end of their story as they could never decide which story to tell.

That brings us to the one standout show from this season: Limitless. Another procedural? Yes. More people in FBI jackets waving guns around? Yes. But also a story worth telling being told by people who found a completely new way to tell it every week. Add that to well drawn characters and great acting and hilarious dialogue and you’ve got yourself a show as good as Castle was in its first year.

We can only hope it will be renewed.

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