Dec 9, 2016

[TV] Quantico: Season 1

I'll just come out and admit it - we decided to try out Quantico because Russell Tovey joined the cast in Season 2. So in order to get that far, we figured we first needed to watch all of Season 1 to get a decent grasp of what's going on. And thankfully iFlix had the first season waiting for us while the second season is still airing over in the US.

At first I was worried that this would be a show too much like Homeland or worse How to Get Away With Murder given it was an ABC show. But thankfully it wasn't quite either of those shows (but it did have some elements common to the two) and yet it was something rather different. The actors weren't particularly notable (or at least unfamiliar to us) and so it was easier to focus on the story itself.

Sure it still had a fair amount of interpersonal drama of a level didn't always feel necessary, but I suppose that's just the norm these days. But on the whole it was a show with a clever narrative and a good number of surprising twists that still made it enjoyable.

Synopsis: Quantico is an American drama thriller series created by Joshua Safran for ABC.The first season only runs for 13 episodes but it was renewed for a 22 episode season that is still in progress

Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) is a new FBI recruit who is just getting started at Quantico. She shows a lot of promise, although her class is filled with a good number of interesting, striking personalities. But then we also flash forward to the "present day" where Grand Central Station has been the subject of a terrorist attack and Alex wakes up not too far from the blast sight but without clear memories of how she had gotten there.

Thus the seasons bounces back and for between her time at Quantico and back in the present as they try to unravel what's going on. Needless to say events are significantly linked to one another as the FBI has quickly narrowed down the possible list of suspects to Alex's class at Quantico. This also means that Alex is a prime suspect, especially considering where she was discovered after the blast and the fact that she was relatively unharmed.

What I Liked: The show has a lot of interesting characters thrown  into the mix of things. This includes a pair of twins who are trying to portray a single person as a sort of experiment for creating the perfect deep cover agent who can be replaced by her double without disappearing from the mission zone. The cast is also quite diverse in terms of characters as is eventually revealed as more of the individual stories are presented in the show.

The show has plot twist after plot twist both during the flashback scenes and in the present. But thankfully they're not silly soap opera twists (at least not most of the time) and the result is a pretty complex yet intriguing tapestry of plot points that form a fairly clever narrative. And I enjoyed this a lot all the way to the end of things.

What Could Have Been Better: The show still has weird parallels to the narrative structure that became so popular for shows like How to Get Away With Murder such as the repeated use of increasing the video speed to accelerate things, especially as they want to portray some skullduggery at work. At least they didn't go for clandestine meetings conducted in ridiculously dark houses or something.

And then there's the odd decision to have a lot of romantic entanglements between characters, which seems to be a common thing on TV these days as an obvious draw for younger viewers in the key 1-24 demographic or something. I don't quite think Quantico is meant to be depicted to be a heck of a lot like college but hey we gotta sell to a wider audience base I suppose.

TL;DR: Quantico is still a more focused narrative versus other ABC shows and it shows a lot of promise in terms of its writing. The characters got a lot of good development in this season and I look forward to see what they'll have to offer in the second season. Thus the season gets a good 4 surprise reveals about the backgrounds of various characters out of a possible 5.

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