Just last March I asked, Am I Over NCIS? The question seems even more pressing given the NCIS season 16 finale. (Spoiler warning on the season, not to mention any and all previous seasons.) I’ve never been this mixed in my feelings regarding the characters, and the off-screen personal stuff is especially disturbing given other ugly entertainment-related realities that have been uncovered recently.
There is additional pressure from time in the saddle as well as from how viewing habits have changed (both mine and the world’s). Weekly episodes of commercial-filled broadcast TV seem increasingly quaint somehow. And sixteen seasons — most of them 24 episodes — is a lot of NCIS (378 episodes; over 260 hours).
All-in-all, for me the sun may well be setting on NCIS.
Regarding interests and attachments, I’ve found that some things remain fairly constant, some things ebb and flow, and some things have a limited lifetime.
The people you know and are close to, for instance, are complex and dynamic, so (unless one of you changes significantly and you no longer get along) people attachments, at least for me, tend to be constant and very long-term.
I find people are too fascinating to be boring. (Dogs are a kind of simplified people to me, so I include them in the endlessly interesting category.)
Very few things have that level of complexity or are that dynamical, but for me baseball and a few others come close enough to have held my interest for a long time (beer, mathematics, stuff like that).
As a trivial example of ebb and flow, I crave candy corns every fall and jelly beans every spring. Other than that, I’m not that big on candy these days (I have been in the past).
The exception is that butterscotch or caramel has been an enduring life-long love affair. Love the Werther’s!
The reality is there aren’t too many things that ebb and flow over the long term. I tend, ultimately, to consume things like hobbies or TV shows.
The thing about consuming is that, at some point, you’ve had your fill.
For example, I realized a while back that I’d had my fill of Star Trek. That has a lot to do with how Star Trek evolved, but it’s also satiation on my part. I’ve been there since the beginning. Fifty years is plenty enough.
When DVDs of TV seasons where a thing, I discovered it wasn’t as thrilling as I’d imagined to own seasons of old beloved TV series. I never did watch all of some I bought and have since donated to the library.
Streaming gives me unprecedented access to old beloved series and movies, and… I just don’t care. I’m just not interested.
I can’t fathom the angst some experience about The Office or Friends no longer being on Netflix. I was always “Eh,” on the latter, but really loved and regarded the former. But having seen the whole series several times now, I can’t imagine ever watching it again.
§ § §
So I have to consider whether I’m sated when it comes to NCIS.
I don’t think that’s what it is, though. I still really like the main character, Gibbs, and I really like McGee and the other adults (I really like Slone, but wish they’d made her a more together character… the adoption thing… sheeze).
There have been some very good stories and no preposterous treasure hunts or other utterly ridiculous plots.
But they’ve gotten a little borderline to me, and I’m not big on the newest additions. I especially can’t stand Fez.
I’m double-plus bugged by the return of Ziva David.
I’ve never had much regard for the comic book trick of bringing back a dead character. The whole point of the death is to mourn the loss.
When the authors cry, “Ah, ha! Tricked you. Ta Da! Here she is!” I feel it cheapens that particular death and tells the reader in general that death is just a time-out.
This particular plot thread also requires the absurd comic book “requirement” of secrecy even from those most trusted, most close friends. (This bullshit about secrecy is one of the biggest general storytelling sticks up my craw.)
The frosting on this particular shit cake is that, at the end of the season finale episode, with no warning, Ziva shows up in Gibbs’ basement and only has time to warn him he’s in danger — they both are.
As cliché-ridden ham-handed cliffhangers go, it’s right up there.
The only way this works for me is that it turns out Ziva is a ghost, too.
All during the episode, Gibbs was dealing with the “ghost” of Diane, one of his ex-wives (who was killed in front of him). She finally leaves after issuing him a warning about his isolation.
Then, bang, Ziva shows up and warns him he’s in great danger.
Psychologically, it makes sense that Gibbs’ protective subconscious would create another hallucination that pulls him away from difficult growth.
There is even some sense to a brief appearance by Cote de Pablo (Ziva), whose career stagnated after she walked away from NCIS (for reasons she didn’t discuss for a long time — basically, she was unhappy with the job).
But if this is going to turn into some cartoon comic book plot about secret danger and don’t know who to trust and all the other silly-ass clichés, then I’m not going to be happy.
I’m not a fan of the “seeing people” thing when it causes normally rational people to talk out loud or otherwise behave as if they thought that person was really there when they clearly know better.
They’ve already been pushing it a bit with the melodrama.
Fornell’s daughter is suddenly a drug addict? Huh? Because Big Plot Idea, I guess. If they planted any seeds anywhere, I sure never noticed them.
(And spare me the “that’s the point; you never know” bs. You do know if you just pay attention and don’t kid yourself. Drug addiction isn’t subtle.)
Having Fornell point a gun at the doctor was a bit much. Not a fan of the “out of control” asshole.
The “shippers” (fans who are far too involved and invested in the relationships of fictional people) have been yearning for a Bishop-Fez hookup. It’s Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David all over again (but sillier).
All I can say is, “Please Script Gods, No!”
And Slone has implied she has a crush on someone (clearly Gibbs). That one at least makes sense, but it’s all so high school.
§ § §
And then there’s this business with Pauley Perrette.
I hardly even know what to think about it. It’s tempting to just ignore it, because I’m so far from any direct knowledge, and there are clearly vested interests in play.
It puts a bad taste to things, though. I can’t help but wonder if Perrette has fallen into some sort of off-the-chain attention-seeking. (Possibly related to her new show?)
There’s something that seems odd to me about her recently… bad things happening to her… now she’s implying Mark Harmon physically assaulted her, which would be pretty serious if true. (Even her fans are pushing back on that, apparently. At the least, demanding details.)
So that’s really weird.
§ § §
It’s still well worth (at least starting) another season next fall, but this feels like a pattern. I went through this with both the spin-off shows, and they’re history to me now.
A lot may depend on how this Ziva Returns pans out. A big reason I stopped watching the spin-offs was the ridiculous, absurd, cartoon plots.
I also hope to hell they don’t put Bishop and Fez together. A relationship plot thread between a character that doesn’t do much for me and one I can’t stand would bum me out.
Ah, well,… who knows what the future brings.
Stay watching, my friends!