If you’re a person who watches the USA Network regularly — I certainly am — then you’ve most likely seen your fair share of commercials promoting seemingly endless NCIS marathon blocks. And just to be clear, this is not a knock on seemingly endless blocks of NCIS: I’ve seen the entirety of at least the first eight seasons because of these blocks. To keep the illusion of newness though, USA Network likes to change it up and give the NCIS marathons specific themes. Like last week’s “Fall in Love with NCIS” marathon:
Quite frankly, this commercial suggests that NCIS isn’t just any procedural: It suggests that NCIS is a procedural that f**ks. And I know what you’re thinking, “That’s preposterous because there’s no way NCIS f**ks.” Maybe if you’re only talking about NCIS’ first two seasons with Sasha Alexander — maybe — and even then, that over 13 years ago. Instead, USA Network — and, honestly, most people — should be talking about a current procedural that actually f**ks: NBC’s Blindspot.
If you don’t watch the show, you might at least remember that Blindspot premiered on NBC in the fall of 2015, the same season as that Wesley Snipes one-season series The Player. (Both series’ male leads, Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester, had previously starred on the same season of Cinemax’s Strike Back too.) Because of the Wesley Snipes of it all, it looked like The Player might have been a series that f***ed, but it was not, and it was surprisingly outlived by Blindspot. “Surprisingly” because Blindspot looked like the generic procedural that punchlines were made of, with a generic leading man (sorry, Sullivan Stapleton), and a “high-concept premise” (a phrase that lost all meaning post-Lost) that involved a naked, tattooed, amnesiac Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) being found in the middle Times Square. People supposedly tuned out of the show because of all of the above, but if you ask me, it’s because they weren’t ready for the first NBC procedural since 2007 (with the series Life) that f***ed.
But it’s 2018 now, the show just recently began its fourth season, and it’s time to let Blindspot into your heart. Because this show still f**ks.
Now, I should probably define a “procedural that f**ks,” because even though the NCIS was about romance and the very idea of this suggests otherwise, it’s not about sex. Sexiness, maybe, but specifically what makes such a historically simple genre attractive and cutting edge and interesting. We already know it’s not NCIS (or any of its spin-offs, or J.A.G.) or really any procedural your parents/grandparents watch every week. Actually, that’s not exactly true: Your parents/grandparents may start watching this procedural, only to quit when it gets too “weird” for them. The weirdness is typically the sign that this show is actually pretty good, so that’s your time to strike and catch up with every episode.
Despite Blindspot being an NBC series, I’ve got to keep comparing it to CBS procedurals, because: 1) USA Network tried to pretend a CBS procedural f***ed in the first place, and 2) CBS procedurals are of course the standard for procedurals, and anytime they f**k, CBS nips that shi*t in the bud as soon as they figure it out. The Limitless series — which premiered the same season as Blindspot/The Player — f***ed, and, as a result, it only got one season. And only the people who stuck with it knew this, but Person of Interest totally f***ed, to the point where CBS finally just ended it at five seasons with a shortened order and a mandatory number of case-of-the-week episodes. (Serialized storytelling is the television structure that f**ks, by the way).