A few years ago, I stopped watching tee-vee shows as they air (but clearly never stopped calling TV shows “tee-vee shows”). Instead, I wait until a whole season has concluded before watching. In some cases, I’ll actually wait years until a show has finished airing to watch the whole entire series at once. I enjoy watching two or three episodes at night before I go to sleep…and I don’t like waiting a week between episodes, especially with dramas. I much prefer the Netflix distribution model, where they make all episodes of a season available at once. I hope the networks go to something like that in the future. But, until then, I will keep coming late to the tee-vee party.
This week, Justin and I finished watching Quantico, which was a new show on ABC for the 2015-2016 season. I think it’s worth your valuable time and is a fun show to watch this summer. Justin doesn’t like anything (and missed his calling in life by being born too late to be Mikey from the old Life cereal commercials)…so when even he enjoys a show (despite himself) I know it is something I can safely recommend. Here’s some of what I like about Quantico.
1. Nobody famous is on it. Or, at least, nobody I recognize from anything (except Marcia Cross from Melrose Place/Desperate Housewives, who shows up at one point in a supporting role). Frankly, I don’t like watching famous people on the tee-vee because I have a hard time forgetting who they used to play on something else (or I associate idiotic things they’ve said in real life on the red carpet about politics with whatever character they are playing and I can’t enjoy the show as a result). It was really fun to watch a show with complete unknowns (to me at least). It really helped me like their characters.
2. There are some great twists. I enjoyed this show the way that I liked the first few seasons of 24 back in the day. Every episode had an interesting twist of some kind, with major twists — shocking twists — every few episodes. I thought the show was very brave and felt that every character was expendable and in danger. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about anything, since the viewer usually assumes the big star will survive. But this show had no big star. I even felt the main character was always in danger (and maybe didn’t make it in the end).
3. I had to keep track in a notebook who the bad guys and suspects were. It’s not that the show was confusing (it’s not), but that it had such interesting twists and shifting allegiances that Justin and I made little Clue-style notepads to try to keep track of who the good guys were, who the bad guys were, who the real good guys were, and who the REALLY bad guys were. I had so much fun trying to figure out the mystery. I love that I was wrong in the end and didn’t peg (XXXXXX) as the mastermind and I never figured out (XXXXXXXXX)’s end game until I saw it all play out in the finale. That was so much fun. I remember being in grade school and reading Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians (back when it was still called Ten Little Indians) and being wowed by the ending. The same with her The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I like books and tee-vee shows that throw me off the trail. I never suspected the mastermind(s?) on Quantico and I never figured out their end game or motive until the end, but now I can look back and see all the clues I should have picked up on. It’s a really fun mystery/thriller of a show.
4. They did some interesting things with political correctness. It’s a network show, so the forced “diversity” was something of a turn-off for Justin. He really complains about that sort of thing being crammed down viewers’ throats. There are Muslim characters on Quantico that at times are very politically correct, where Justin would groan because the show was doing that “not all Muslims are bad” and “you are prejudiced if you don’t pretend that Islam is not an ideology of conquest!” — but at other times the show would very accurately depict Muslims putting the conquest ideology of the Koran and its intolerance of Western culture ahead of assimilating into American society. They very clearly showed Muslims insisting on being colonists in the West, not leaving behind the dysfunctional and medieval culture they left when they immigrated here, and pushing for special treatment because they are Muslim (instead of joining the melting pot and becoming Americans). There’s another show I like most of the time called Bones that Justin refuses to ever watch because every 5th or 6th episode they have a Muslim character (from Iran) on the show and the writers use that as a means of bashing political correctness and submission into the heads of viewers. I just skip the episodes that this character is in, which is easy because he is an intern on the show and only appears a few times a year. I really don’t need to hear the “Islam is a religion of peace” brainwashing propaganda from Bones, so I have an easy way to avoid that by skipping some episodes. Justin at first thought Quantico would be 22-episode of promoting Islam but even he admitted that the show was not aiming to proselytize or scold.
5. It felt like attending FBI training at Quantico. The show operates in an interesting flashback way: half of an episode is set during the characters’ training at Quantico and the other half is set in the “present” long after they have graduated and are out in the field handling a series of high-profile events. There are clues in the flashbacks to what is happening in the present. The mystery is rooted back to their time in training. I thought this was a very interesting narrative device. It was also fun because if a character died in the present, but you liked that person, you would still see her or him on the show in the flashbacks. The training exercises they did in the Quantico facility as they learned how to become agents were also interesting puzzles they had to solve. I actually enjoyed watching their training more than I did the episodes in the present where the mystery was unfolding.
I liked this show enough that I plan on re-watching it again in July, to see all the clues I missed and to analyze more of how the episodes were structured. It was all very clever. The best part was that I didn’t think I would like the show at all. I thought it would be nauseatingly PC and full of “America is bad! Islam is good!” propaganda but I didn’t feel that way at all after watching it. And even Justin liked it, and he doesn’t like much of anything on network tee-vee.
You can watch the whole first season on Amazon.com and ABC.com (or on Hulu, if you have a subscription).
© 2016, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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