Some TV seasons start with a shrug; this one, fortunately, starts big. By coincidence, the first official day of the season (Monday, Sept. 21) has both the best new comedy ("Life in Pieces," 8:31 p.m. on CBS) and best new drama ("Blindspot," 10:01 p.m. on NBC) on broadcast networks. Here's the "Blindspot" story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
As a kid, Jaimie
Alexander was ready for some Texas-tough adventures.
She grew up with
four brothers, their initials now tattooed on her arm. Tall
(5-foot-9) and fit, she started a girls' wrestling team at her high
school and lost only twice in two years.
This prepared her
for something big ... but what?
Well, for being the
powerhouse Lady Sif in “Thor” movies in and the “Agents of
SHIELD” TV series. And now for being Jane Doe in “Blindspot,”
one of the new TV season's top shows.
Both women are
fierce fighters, but Alexander sees a difference: Sif's “moves are
very fancy, graceful, big and glittery in a way. (Jane does)
hand-to-hand combat – brutal, efficient, quick and realistic.”
Jane has skills, but
doesn't know why. She also doesn't know her real name, where she's
from or how she ended up in a bag on Times Square, naked and covered
with tattoos that are clues to something.
And yes, that scene
was filmed realistically. “There is not a single visual effect ....
We really closed down Times Square,” said producer Martin Gero.
The result is
impressive. “That was one of the most epic things I've ever shot,”
said Alexander, 31. “Just to look around and see such an iconic
space completely vacant was almost apocalyptic.”
It was also chilly,
she said, an unfortunate thing when you're naked. “The shaking was
real .... There were moments I didn't want to come out of the bag; it
was like a little cocoon.”
That was the start
of a role filled with challenges. It included:
-- Getting all those
fake tattoos. When full-body views are needed, she said, that can
take seven-plus hours. “We listen to Beatles on Pandora. We have
good coffee, good conversation and the hours fly by.”
-- Flashing all
those fighting skills. “It's kind of scary at work,” joked
co-star Sullivan Stapleton ... who did plenty of scary fighting in
five fierce seasons of cable's “Strike Back.”
-- And whatever
other skills we suddenly learn Jane has. At various points,
“Blindspot” people say, she might be asked to speak flawless
Bulgarian or Malagasy. “I'm game for it all,” Alexander said.
That's the attitude
that she developed growing up in Gravevine, a suburb of 50,000, near
the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. She liked theater, but isn't a singer,
so switched to sports. She started the wrestling team, she said, “to
create an opportunity to learn self-defense for the young women in my
grade and the grade below mine .... I've always been sort of an
activist in pro-equality.”
Now she's gone far
beyond that. She did two seasons on “Kyle XY,” as the female
equivalent of the artificially created lead character. She did cable
roles – including multiple episodes of “Nurse Jackie” (as
Jackie's wild sister-in-law), “The Brink” (Lt. Gail Sweet) and
And she was ready to
be Sif and Doe, mastering swordplay, martial arts and Malagasy.
10:01 p.m. Mondays, NBC, debuting Sept. 21
-- Opener then
reruns on cable, on NBC's sister networks. That includes latenight
Friday (E) and Saturday (USA), at midnight. Also, 10 a.m. Saturday on
Bravo, 9:30 a.m. Sunday on Syfy.