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Is 'Blindspot' the new smartest show on TV?

NBC’s Blindspot hasn’t even officially premiered yet, but it’s flexing its muscle already—and not just in the person of Jaimie Alexander’s butt-kicking Jane Doe. The Peacock’s biggest new drama also happens to be incredibly, wonderfully smart. Whether it’s in the well-crafted characters, the intelligent actors who are portraying them, or the brainy writers and producers who are putting the mystery of Jane together, Blindspot has a seriously genius-level show IQ. We’re talking potentially the new smartest show on television.

Let’s start with the characters. Jane may not know anything about herself, but the pilot (which already screened twice at San Diego Comic-Con and has since made its way onto the Internet) proves that she knows plenty about a lot of other things, including foreign languages and kicking people into next Tuesday. Backing her up is FBI agent Kurt Weller, who happens to be one of the Bureau’s finest. He isn’t just holding her purse; he’s holding up his end of the puzzle-solving. That goes for his entire team: junior agents Patterson, Zapata, Reed, and Dr. Borden, and their steely boss Bethany Mayfair. These are folks whom you not only believe passed the FBI entrance exam, but believe scored pretty well on it.

When these people say things, we believe them. When they make choices, we’re not beating our head into the table or thinking that they’re doing a dumb thing for the sake of TV. That’s not to say that they always do the right thing—another point the pilot makes clear is that all these guys and gals are human—but you never feel like anybody mentally checked out.

That also holds true when discussing the actors who make up Blindspot‘s ensemble. These are smart actors, who have obviously put a tremendous amount of thought into creating their characters and figuring out why they are the way they are. Read any interview with Jaimie Alexander and you realize no one could play Jane but her. She really cares about what makes this woman tick, and already, what she has to say provides more insight into the journey her character is on.

The same goes for Sullivan Stapleton, who’s always been one of those leads that brings depth to the table. He makes acting decisions that always keep the wheels of his character turning. While he’s going to do his own butt-kicking, he’s often underappreciated for how much thought he puts into every role he plays; Weller is no exception. The guy has already got his own story by the end of the first episode.

And let’s not leave out everybody else, either. Ashley Johnson, Audrey Esparza, Rob Brown, Ukweli Roach, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste are pretty smart folks too. They could be playing generic supporting agents (you know the type), but each of them brings something that gives their character their own identity and the audience a reason to remember their name. Particular credit has to be given to Johnson, whose tech expert, Patterson, gets handed the expository duties for a large chunk of Blindspot‘s pilot, yet is still someone you want to know more about.

But you can have the smartest actors in the world, and they’re wasted if the script lets them down. Enter Martin Gero, whose IQ I don’t know, but I’m going to guess it’s got to be a pretty big number. He’s the creator of the show, and aside from coming up with a truly unique premise, he has really thrown himself into the mystery. By his own admission, he loves puzzles and treasure maps, so he’s off to the races with this. He’s already put a ton of thought into it, his and many other people’s: He revealed during this month’s TCA session that Jane’s much-buzzed-about tattoos came together after consulting puzzle experts, mapmakers, tattoo artist,s and graphic designers. He also said that the body ink was pre-conceived to cover multiple seasons. You have to be smart to do something as ambitious as that.

Gero has written a pilot that services all of his characters, and is as much character drama as it is procedural. He’s also surrounded himself with more smart people. We know Greg Berlanti and his producing partner, Sarah Schechter, are smart because they produce half of television, including some of TV’s current biggest hits. But if you weren’t entirely sure, listen to either of them talk about this show; they’ll tell you about a half-dozen areas that it’s going to explore. I imagine that the Blindspot writers’ room is just one big place full of brainy people who are just constantly bouncing ideas off one another and unable to stop talking.

But we should definitely be talking. Everything about this show screams that a remarkable amount of intelligence was put into it, from the premise to the performances in the pilot to the themes and ideas at its heart. This isn’t a show that could be made if there weren’t a bunch of people really thinking about every aspect of it. There are many smart shows on TV, but with the amount of effort that is going into this one from every possible angle, Blindspot is shaping up to be one of the smartest.

Blindspot premieres Monday, September 21, at 10 p.m. on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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