If you were to line up every single new show this Fall, Quantico almost certainly looks the prettiest. It is a sleek, fast-paced, expertly shot product, filled with beautiful, diverse people. It has sex, violence, quick comments and lots of artificially created momentum. Everything needed is there to create a glitzy, PG-13-type breakout series that plays well across demographics, but unfortunately, Quantico never achieves its lofty destiny, or at least hasn’t come close to achieving it yet. The show seems so preoccupied with admiring its own sleek package that it never slows down and pauses enough to give fans a real reason to care about any of these characters or the overall plot, which is simply remarkable considering they’re all hotties involved in a terrorist attack.
There are too many of those aforementioned hotties to talk about in one review; so, let’s instead focus on Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra). She’s an FBI trainee at Quantico, with an edgy, brash personality and the ability to read people. On the way to her first day at class, she manages to have sex with a complete stranger inside a car, ripping off a slew of facts about his personal life that she deduced from analyzing his car, his behavior and apparently his boning skills. At no point, however, does she deduce he was also on his way to Quantico. Twist. It’s just one of a series of marginally interesting a-ha/ gotcha moments the show’s pilot drops on fans, and like everything else, it vaguely works well enough.
That’s Quantico right now: a show that vaguely works well enough. It has some characters fans could grow to like, and it has a pretty interesting basic set-up that could work if used correctly. The show’s overall arc will follow the FBI and specifically our aforementioned trainee, Alex, as they/ she tries to figure out whether she or one of her classmates engineered the biggest terrorist attack in The United States since 9/11. It’s a flash forward/ flash backwards premise that allows the show to spend each week delving into the personal life of yet another character. But do we want to actually know these characters? The jury is still out.
Sometimes it takes television shows a few episodes or even a portion of the first season to get the ingredients right. Introducing a large cast, including the basic structures necessary for a real episode and planning for the future are a really tough balancing act to pull off. For Quantico to ever truly work, however, it’s going to need a change in prioritizing. Right now, it’s the type of show that thinks it’s a good idea to have a bunch of its main characters independently arrive for class at the exact same time, park next to each other and close their doors one after another in order to create a sweet combination sound effect and zoom-out angle.
This isn’t a commercial, and we’re dealing with terrorism. If the show wants to create real emotions and a real investment from the viewer, it needs to relax the pace a little and let us actually get to know the characters on a deeper level. Or it can continue as something that vaguely works well enough.
Quantico airs on ABC on Sundays at 10 EST.