The Blacklist is the first episodic law enforcement procedural that I have enjoyed in years. I’ve been speeding through seasons 1-3 (I watched them some time ago and wanted a refresher) so that I can enjoy season 4, If I had to compare the Blacklist to another series, I’d say that it’s quite similar to the J. J. Abrams spy drama, Alias. I feel like Alias is much maligned these days, but it remains one of my favourite TV series of all time (the first three seasons anyway, after that it really does go downhill). The Blacklist has a similar structure that I find to be highly entertaining.
The show features two main protagonists: FBI agent Elizabeth Keen (Meghan Boone) and Raymond Reddington (James Spader). Raymond Reddington is a former high level US Intelligence officer turned notorious criminal (number 1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list). One day, he turns himself in to the FBI in Washington, DC with a plan to assist them in capturing a list of criminals (the Blacklist) that are so nefarious, the FBI is unaware of their existence. Reddington states that the only FBI agent he will work with directly is Elizabeth Keen, a profiler who is, on that same day, just starting a new position with the Bureau.
Shenanigans and James Spader spy badassery ensue. It’s pretty damned fun. I’ve always enjoyed the monster-of-the-week plus interesting overarching plot format. The supporting cast is good and, of course, James Spader is incredible. A lot of the overarching plots are a bit ridiculous, but I’m a sucker for high drama. I’d say that the only aspects of the show that grow tiresome over the first two seasons are the roller coaster relationship between Elizabeth Keen and her husband, Tom, and Elizabeth’s ever-changing feelings about Reddington. The nature of their true relationship isn’t revealed until, as far as I can tell, season 4 and, in my opinion, this is drawing things out a little too much. Elizabeth waffles between cursing Reddington, reminding us constantly about how evil he is, and then also clearly caring for him a great deal. This is probably what any normal person would do in her situation, but it starts to grate a bit if you’re binge-watching.
All-in-all, I would recommend this show to pretty well anyone. I know it’s difficult these days to justify trying out what looks like it could be a fairly standard police procedural (there are so many now and they’re mostly bad), but I think the Blacklist is definitely worth a try. James Spader’s performance alone, in my opinion, is worth it.
Lisa Morosky – The Bootstrap VA
As I said in my Goals for 2018 posts, I am in the midst of evaluating my options for a career change. Right now, I’m not completely certain as to what my plan will be, but I do know that I am interested in working online so that I can be more flexible and location neutral. I am also at a point in my life where I feel like the best way for me to obtain real satisfaction in my career will be to start my own business. One of the options that I have been considering is working as a virtual assistant.
Lisa Morosky’s book covers a lot of the basics that anyone would need to start a virtual assisting business. I would say, though, that this book is an excellent and straightforward primer to working as a freelancer online in any capacity. She has provided advice on productivity and project management software, tracking expenses, marketing and getting and keeping clients. All this is presented in a package that is easy to read and loaded with links to resources for further reading. I particularly like the fact that Morosky has clearly outlined business elements that a VA will absolutely need to have before starting their business, along with other elements that can be acquired or created as the business is growing and evolving.
I am thrilled that I read the Bootstrap VA at this moment. It has provided me with so many ideas for how I can slowly start learning some new skills that will help me narrow down my goals. The neuropathy in my hands has limited my options for what I can do with my free time, but I can certainly watch some webinars on social media marketing and search engine optimization and start working on my website. It is my hope that, even if I decide eventually not to take the path of starting a VA business, I will be able to use a lot of what I learned from this book to find the right path for me.