NCIS: On Very Thin Ice

Maybe it’s expecting too much that a TV series remain in your heart for 17 seasons. I still enjoy The Simpsons (starting its 31st season) and South Park (starting its 23rd season), but both the cartoon format and the nature of those shows gives them a lot of latitude in exploring new ideas while remaining true to the show.

A drama, like NCIS, which I’ve rated as my favorite TV show for well over a decade, is more restricted. It’s harder for a drama to find new ground while remaining true to its nature. That can lead to stagnation, viewer fatigue, or, in some cases, “jumping the shark.”

Which is all to say I’m very disappointed in NCIS, season 17.

Perhaps when one really loves a show, it’s easier to feel betrayed when it seems to shift from the storytelling elements one has cherished for so many years, especially if that shift takes it into territory one has never liked.

What I valued so much about NCIS, compared to other LEO shows, is that it tended to tell fairly calm, intelligent investigative stories. It was about solving the puzzle of a crime.

The forensics of the case were central (embodied in the medical examiner and forensic specialist, who are key supporting characters). The investigative skills of the team, led by the Gibralter-like steadiness of Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his rules, made the show into something really special for me.

And I liked the military connection. I was always a fan of JAG, the military lawyer show that NCIS spun off from.

§

The two spin-offs of NCIS, seemed to deprecate those traits in favor of more action, more gun fire, and more death — all elements I grew weary of long ago.

[We do have a gun problem in the USA, and I’ve long thought shows that can be counted on for weekly gun fights and body counts are part of that problem. Murder mysteries gotta murder, but the weekly gun fights just aren’t necessary.]

I dumped the Los Angeles spin-off years ago, and the New Orleans one joined it in the trash heap last year. And now the show I’ve rated as my number one may be about to join them.

There seems a pattern here.

I complained bitterly about the Los Angeles spin-off and then decided I’d had enough. I complained bitterly about the New Orleans spin-off and then decided I’d had enough.

The previous season of NCIS (16) had me wondering if I still liked the show. The season cliffhanger (Ziva back from the dead) especially bothered me. When various news stories made it clear Ziva really was back, my doubt became extreme.

§

Watching the first episode of season 17 last night, I’m wondering if I’ve had enough.

It’s not the first time the premiere episode of the show’s season seriously missed the mark for me. But it’s a little hard for me to see how they’re going to get out of the arc they’ve established.

I’ll give them a chance to keep me as a viewer, but the show is currently on thin ice with me. That first episode was everything I don’t want to see in the show.

Worse, I thought the plot was kind of stupid (and very not-NCIS).

Let me explain. (Total spoilers ahead for this first episode.)

§ §

Last season ended with Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) showing up in Gibbs’ basement. Given that Gibbs had been hallucinating one of his ex-wives during that episode, there was an implication he was hallucinating Ziva as well.

After all, Ziva was dead — killed dramatically by mortar attack in the Israeli farmhouse where she was hiding out. That death lead to Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) discovering he had a daughter, taking on the role of father, and leaving NCIS.

It was some pretty decent, very poignant drama.

If Gibbs had been hallucinating Ziva, it would have made sense. It’s certainly not the first time he’s hallucinated his dead.

§

But no, Ziva is really back. She’s in deadly peril, and so is Gibbs. She’s shown up just in time to announce that they need to run.

And then massive automatic weapons fire streams through the basement windows.

None of which actually hits them, of course. A team of assassins blindly fires through the windows, alerting everyone in the neighborhood to their presence, while completely failing to accomplish their mission.

But gee. Automatic weapons fire. Bullets. Stuff being shot to shit. How exciting.

§

The heroes escape, of course. They climb through a never seen before convenient coal chute in the basement. The bad guys apparently cover it back up so McGee (Sean Murray) can notice something is out of place for the reveal.

The script has Gibbs improvising an explosive device that took out the one guy who came downstairs after them, so the NCIS team has a body to ponder.

Now think about this. The bad guys fire blindly through the basement windows, completely miss their targets and wake up the neighborhood. Only then do they invade the house, sending only one guy down to the basement.

They obviously know where Gibbs and Ziva are given the initial gun fire, so wouldn’t the smart move be to invade the house and attack from the stairs without warning?

Why would they cover up the entrance to the coal chute but leave a body behind? Wouldn’t the other end of that chute be right outside the house? Did they leave no one outside to guard rear entrances and watch for noisy neighbors or cops?

Plotting this stupid really annoys me. It’s when NCIS tries to do action that they seem out of their depth story-wise. (But plots like this are just stupid bullshit to begin with.)

§

It turns out that someone named Sahar is after Ziva and wants her dead (for reasons).

Per the usual nonsense of such stories, Ziva has drips and drabs of information, but is almost entirely in the dark. She doesn’t even know who this person is, but she does know Gibbs is about to be attacked.

As is often the case in these silly stories, the characters know bits of information that conveniently move the plot along. Yet the villains always seem to be right on their tail or sometimes even just ahead of them.

It’s all so comic book. The supervillain who holds all the cards and has all the knowledge while the heroes seem constantly in the dark (and yet prevail).

Case in point: Ziva is supposed to retrieve an SD card from a dead drop. It’s taped under the seat of a bus. (Which is a stupid place. What if the bus is rescheduled or taken out of service? And which of the many buses that serve a route? Gotta be sure to get on the right bus!)

Ziva and Gibbs, who manage to get on the bus from the side door, and ride it for some time without paying, have long enough for an info dump conversation while waiting for the guy sitting in the seat they need to access to leave.

This guy finally leaves, and Ziva discovers the SD card is gone! It turns out that guy, who sat there for many stops, somehow knows about the dead drop and has taken it. (How did he know? Why did he wait so long?)

They go after him, Gibbs shoots him with a gun he found in the sewer (that luckily had one live round in it), and they retrieve the card. Which has encrypted data that the bad guy already sent to… whomever.

Gibbs sends the data (or the card?) to McGee (how did he send it?) who is able to de-encrypt it, and this leads Ziva and Gibbs to the next action scene complete with automatic gun fire that takes out everyone there.

Except Gibbs and Ziva, of course.

§

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) has known Ziva is alive since last season. She found a note from Ziva that begged Ellie not to tell anyone. (For reasons.)

She’s kept that secret from everyone, and this brings me to a storytelling device that has seriously pissed me off forever: the idea of keeping secrets.

The usual reason for such secrets is to “protect” someone. (I’ve never understood why Peter Parker couldn’t trust Aunt May to keep his secret. These stupid secrets always imply an element of distrust for the very loved ones they supposedly protect.)

There’s a line in the show: “The more people know she’s alive, the more danger she’s in!” Why? How would Gibbs knowing someone he considered a daughter put her in danger? How would her former teammates, people who have earned security clearances, knowing she’s alive endanger her?

It’s so fucking stupid it outrages me. It’s an insult to good storytelling.

§

When McGee finds out about Ellie’s secret he is seriously pissed. Rightfully so!

Throughout the course of the show, most of the rest of the cast find out, one way or another.

(One bit of silliness: McGee, Ellie, and Fez, enter autopsy to find out about the dead guy they found in Gibbs’ basement. They don’t see Jimmy around, and talk freely, giving the secret to Fez. But, whoops, Jimmy was behind the autopsy table cleaning up something he dropped and didn’t announce himself when the others walked in and started talking. Ugh.)

So much of the plot business regarding the secret wouldn’t be out of place in a Three Stooges bit.

§

It comes down to a final cliffhanger to-be-continued scene at an abandoned diner where Sahar is hiding out.

For a supervillain, they take her down pretty easily.

Ziva’s landlady showed up with a trunk full of weapons. (Apparently Ziva trusted her landlady to know her secrets, but not Gibbs or her former teammates. Apparently even her daughter doesn’t know, nor the father of that daughter. But the landlady, sure, no problem.)

We learn that Gibbs and Ziva killed the henchmen outside the diner (because they wouldn’t surrender) without alerting the supervillain inside. We never see that bit of action. They only needed a couple of weapons, not a whole trunk load, but I guess it made a neat visual.

The episode ends with them capturing Sahar, and Ziva getting a little crazy in wanting to kill Sahar, so the to-be-continued has Ziva pointing her gun at Gibbs because he’s in her way.

§ §

Maybe it’s me, but that episode tapped into everything I don’t like about these action shows.

A high body count, lots of automatic weapons fire (that never harms the heroes), a meaningless death (Ziva’s), a vengeful supervillain with all the skills, and a lot of really stupid secret-keeping to “protect” people.

That last, especially, is the rotten fulcrum of too many stupid sitcom plots.

And now what? Ziva’s back on the show? For how long? The shippers are desperately want to see her and Tony back together. There seems a possible case of the show letting the fans steer the course. Or maybe they’re trying to boost ratings. Or have just ran out of good ideas.

Personally, I’m hoping they kill Ziva off (again) and that this time she stays dead. The whole back from the dead thing is so comic book, and it makes everything that came from that death meaningless.

So the show is on very thin ice. I’ll give it a chance for old time’s sake, but I don’t have high hopes. It may be a sign of the rot of broadcast TV.

Time will tell, but I want my NCIS back to its former mode of good, clever, intelligent detective stories.

Stay investigative, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

22 responses to “NCIS: On Very Thin Ice

  • Wyrd Smythe

    One point I didn’t make is that, after rejecting everyone’s help, and keeping everything secret, it’s actually the help and knowledge of the team that moves things along and reveals who Sahar is and where she’s hiding.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Another silliness: There’s a bit about Ziva taking some mysterious pills and an implication that maybe she’s sick!

    Turns out she’s suffering from anxiety.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Without spilling too many beans, I read today that Ziva will be leaving on her own mission after the continuation episode (although, apparently, she’ll appear in two more episodes later this season).

      I will say I’m not pleased by what I read about the plot of that next episode, but hopefully with Ziva gone the series can revert to its usual mode (such as it is these days).

      I just hope to hell they don’t “ship” Ellie and Fez like they’ve been hinting at. Please, god, no!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Well, true to news articles, Ziva was only in the first two episodes, although she’ll apparently appear in two more this season.

        I remain very underwhelmed by the whole thing, and I’m glad to see her go. In episodes #3 and #4, the show seems back to its usual groove (yay!).

  • Wyrd Smythe

    In general the series has way too often used the “some mysterious person with all the skills and knowledge” wants a major character dead.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Speaking of which, one of my least favorite episodes (a two-parter, “Judge, Jury…” and “…and Executioner”) from last season featured guest star Mike Ferrell (B.J. Hunnicutt from M*A*S*H) as a corrupt judge who, with other corrupt judges, was leading a conspiracy to kill egregious offenders, killers, who managed to escape legal judgement.

      The central plot point is that they were trying to kill Gibbs because Gibbs had, long ago, killed the Mexican drug lord who was responsible for killing Gibbs’ wife and child (his wife was going to testify against the drug lord).

      What they never explained is how the judges knew! Only a few people even know Gibbs’ secret, and those that aren’t dead bad guys are deeply trusted friends. (Part of the drama of the episode was Gibbs’ having to tell his team about what he did.)

      So how did the judges find out? It’s never explained, and I can’t see how it was even possible, so the whole double-episode fell a little flat for me.

      And, as I said, way too much “mysterious person trying to kill a major character” stuff, so this latest arc seriously underwhelms me.

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    I think I’ve mentioned before that I watched NCIS intensely for a few years, then at a certain point, found myself losing interest. In retrospect, part of the reason was Gibbs. The guy’s a jerk, but because he has great-man-aura about him, everyone tolerates his jerkness.

    Does McGee still hack into a super secure military network every episode, like the Pentagon, in about 30 minutes?

    “I’ve never understood why Peter Parker couldn’t trust Aunt May to keep his secret.”

    In the original comic book, Aunt May despises Spiderman as a criminal, having believed the inaccurate stories in the Daily Bugle. And she’s elderly with a weak heart, so Peter is afraid to tell her because he’s afraid how she’ll react, and what the stress might do to her. (Of course, she went on with that weak heart year after year, for decades, but never mind.)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “[Gibbs is] a jerk, but because he has great-man-aura about him, everyone tolerates his jerkness.”

      I’m not sure I’d agree with jerk, but he is a guy with a strict code and uncompromising beliefs. Maybe that amounts to the same thing for some, but his skills and abilities buy a lot of latitude in my book. I’ve always said I’d rather work with a competent asshole than an incompetent “great guy.” (But I’d rather bend elbows with the great guy. 😉 )

      “Does McGee still hack into a super secure military network every episode, like the Pentagon, in about 30 minutes?”

      😀 😀 I’m not sure if it was this past season or the one before that, but the team got the boom lowered on them for that kind of illegal behavior. There were some investigations, Gibbs was in a bit of hot water over it for a while, and it was made clear they needed a warrant for anything like that going forward.

      A lot of the computer stuff still amounts to convenient plot magic, more often than not, though. (It usually manages to be a little better than many shows where the assumption is that a skilled hacker, or the right magic chip, grants god-like powers to make any computer do anything the plot needs.)

      “In the original comic book, Aunt May despises Spiderman…”

      Ah, yes, you’re right, I remember that, now. Less true in the modern reboots (how many are there now, 27?), but she was supposedly a frail old thing originally.

      So maybe that wasn’t the greatest example, but my point stands: that secret-keeping business is stupid.

      (The one thing I really liked about the original Ghost Rider movie was that Nicholas Cage told his girlfriend pretty much immediately what was going on. Bravo!)

      ((This post got long or I would have gone on about how much I hated the secret-keeping in Grimm (an NBC show I rather liked). I’ve blogged about it, though. The damn secrets caused a lot of heartache, and there was no excuse for them given how easily it all could be proven.))

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On Gibbs, on one of the DVDs, there’s an interview of Mark Harmon where he’s asked if he knew Gibbs in real life, would they be friends. Harmon rolled his eyes and said, “No.”

        I read something years ago on career advice from a successful businessman. It said, “All things being equal, I prefer dealing with friends. All things not being equal, I prefer dealing with friends.” From what I’ve seen, real agents who need to produce results seldom act like Gibbs. But that’s true of most TV detectives. It does make for good drama.

        “that secret-keeping business is stupid.”

        I agree. It seems to originate from The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro, where it was a valid plot point, but it continued through The Shadow right into Superman, where it became hardened into the superhero template. I think it persists because, again, it can make for good drama.

        Of course, it only makes good drama if the audience doesn’t think about it too hard.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “On Gibbs, […] an interview of Mark Harmon […] career advice from a successful businessman […]”

        Oh, I have no doubt most people respond better to nice people, or people they can like (and it’s often fundamental to my ability to enjoy a TV series), but I’ve always placed a much higher value on ability and knowledge than I do being pleasant. Having both is preferable, certainly, but if I have to pick one over the other, I’ll pick the former every time. (Having neither is the worst! 🙂 )

        “From what I’ve seen, real agents who need to produce results seldom act like Gibbs. But that’s true of most TV detectives.”

        Totally agree on both counts.

        Truth is, I like Gibbs. I understand him, and I respect him. He’s the kind of guy who, if he was your friend, or even your boss, you’d know he had your back, and that’s a quality I see as rare these days.

        But, as with all strong flavors, he certainly isn’t for everyone. (And he is definitely a strong flavor!)

        “It seems to originate from The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro,…”

        Just yesterday I was reading an article about how Marvel has done away with that in its movies. They figured it interfered with their Infinity Gauntlet arc if the heroes didn’t know who each other was.

        The secret identity thing even exists in Asian martial arts movies, usually in the context of a masked hero taking on ruling forces who have the power to retaliate if they knew the hero’s identity. (And in real life protesters and rioters often mask themselves for the same reason.)

        As far as Superman, I’ve enjoyed those parodies mocking how ace investigative reporter Lois Lane was fooled by a pair of glasses and a suit from recognizing that two of the key men in her life were the same guy. As if.

        (What comedy movie is it where a Superman-like hero keeps fooling a character by repeatedly putting on and taking off his glasses? One minute the character thinks he’s talking to the superhero, who then vanishes, and now he’s talking to the alter ego. It goes back and forth a bit… it was one of those comedy pastiche movies that were popular awhile back.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        “usually in the context of a masked hero taking on ruling forces who have the power to retaliate if they knew the hero’s identity”

        Which is pretty much always the excuse. But it makes sense for those types of stories. It makes sense to keep it secret from the public for regular superheroes, but maybe not for spouses, family, etc. Of course, the more people who know a secret, the less chance it will remain secret.

        What’s interesting about superheroes, is just about everyone has a villain who knows their real identity, but somehow never gets around to revealing it to the media.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “It makes sense to keep it secret from the public for regular superheroes, but maybe not for spouses, family, etc.”

        Yep, exactly.

        “Of course, the more people who know a secret, the less chance it will remain secret.”

        “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” ~Benjamin Franklin

        So, yeah, there is some risk, but it would be nice to think the importance of keeping such a secret would impress itself, at least on rational adults.

        “What’s interesting about superheroes, is just about everyone has a villain who knows their real identity, but somehow never gets around to revealing it to the media.”

        Yeah, just one of the many silly contradictions inherent in the whole superhero silliness. It’s funny how comicbook stories have become such an adult staple these days.

        I was reading an article about how intelligent SF movies wow the critics (and SF fans), but leave the general public cold. Meanwhile, quasi-SF stories, like superheroes or Star Wars, are big business.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I enjoy superhero movies, but mostly because I don’t take them too seriously. If you regard the whole thing like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, it’s a lot easier to look past the silliness.

        But one thing I learned when I posted on Marvel movies is, some people take them pretty seriously, and don’t react well to criticism of them.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “If you regard the whole thing like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, it’s a lot easier to look past the silliness.”

        Yeah, exactly. They’re what are sometimes called “popcorn” movies.

        “…some people take them pretty seriously,…”

        Oh, good lord, don’t they. Hours spent analyzing them and eagerly looking for clues from Comic Con as to what’s coming. They fight over costumes and all sorts of things. Some of the news articles that show up in my reader really have me SMH.

        I guess everyone has their hobbies, but the bitterness and acrimony are so childish. And the misogyny (and occasional racism) really bother me, though. Same thing happens in the gamer world (you may have heard of “Gamergate”?)

        I’m not a fan of fans. 🙂

        Taking this back on topic, there has been similar angst about Ziva’s return (and various other side aspects of the show — never the writing, just the characters and actors). I can’t believe how many news articles I’ve seen. (Part of the problem, no doubt, is that once my reader knows I have some passing interest in a topic it gives me more of the same.)

        One downside of social media in my eyes is the way it’s given the fans power to influence content creators. Fans have always had a sense of ownership, at least as far back as ST:TOS, but social media has really amplified it beyond reason.

        There are very similar issues with Doctor Who, and it annoys the crap out of me. It’s one thing to write a review — knowing you’re just one voice among many — but that sense of owning and wanting to control just isn’t where I live.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I remember Gamergate. And its antecedents and spin offs, such as the Sad Puppies with the 2015 Hugo Awards. Yeah, sometimes the internet vomits up the worst of humanity.

        My cousin and I last night were discussing George Lucas, and the fact that he decided not to do a third trilogy, and ultimately to sell the franchise, mostly due to the abuse he took from fans during the prequels. Ultimately people who spend a lot of time in a fictional world do seem to feel a sense of ownership, and grievance when the world doesn’t go in the direction they prefer. Of course, Lucas was crying all the way to the bank.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “…the 2015 Hugo Awards”

        Oh, I’d mercifully forgotten about those. That really upset me; I expected better from SF readers. (But given the SF book fluff and crap that seems extant these days, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.)

        I hate living in a world where there’s almost nothing one can count on anymore. I’ve always felt like an alien, but lately that feeling has gotten extreme.

        “George Lucas, and the fact that he decided not to do a third trilogy, and ultimately to sell the franchise, mostly due to the abuse he took from fans during the prequels.”

        Well, they were really bad. (Comedian Brian Posehn once quipped that what I call “the other SW trilogy” was like waking up in the middle of the night and discovering that your favorite uncle had snuck into your bedroom and put his penis on your face. That sense of utter violation and betrayal. I was never that invested in SW to begin with, never really saw it as SF, but I get his meaning.)

        I’m slowly working my way through the South Park catalog and just watched the one where Cartman steals the election for Obama as part of a scheme to allow the Chinese to buy the SW franchise, something they want to do to preserve its purity from Disney. Kind of strange to watch given that Disney owns it now.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On the Hugos, I actually think the Puppies had a kernel of a point. The awards are political. They always have been. The chances of an author winning are much higher if they work in the publishing industry, or are already famous.

        But the way they addressed it, by recruiting essentially drones to vote for books that aligned with their own politics, was utter BS. If they’d instead focused on simply trying to bring more people into the process, without controlling their votes, I think they would have had a better reception.

        As it stands, the Hugos are largely orthogonal to the works I like. Sometimes novels I enjoy make it as finalists, but most of the times they don’t. So I’ve learned not to put too much stock in them.

        It’s been a while since I’ve watched South Park. I didn’t realize they were still on. I need to check out the latest. I imagine they’re having a field day with the current politics.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “But the way they addressed it, by recruiting essentially drones to vote for books that aligned with their own politics, was utter BS.”

        That’s what bothered me. And, truthfully, I’ve never viewed awards as anything other than political popularity contests. I stopped watching the Oscars, and all the others, long ago.

        The Hugos thing reminded me a bit of how a different bunch of fans conspired to get (IIRC) the first Nolan Batman movie not just on the list of “100 Best Films” but high up on it. It’s a fine movie (for me, they progressively went downhill after that, and I liked the third least of all — kind of the opposite order for most), but it’s not even close to be a classic or best film ever.

        It’s that difference between what’s good and what one likes. Completely different things.

        “As it stands, the Hugos are largely orthogonal to the works I like.”

        There have been some I thought worthy and some where I really wondered how they won. (Kind of like how I wonder why so many consider Infinite Jest one of the best 100 novels ever written.)

        And it’s always true that really great books, movies, TV shows, or whatever, never get the recognition they deserve. It’s all part of why I disdain the whole awards thing — it’s never fair.

        As you say, no reason to put any stock in them.

        “I imagine they’re having a field day with the current politics.”

        They did a trump analogue a couple of seasons ago, but have kind of laid off since then because the humor is just too easy — the reality being its own clown show.

        I skipped the last season and haven’t watched this one because I realized that, while I’d seen a lot of episodes on CC over the years, I’d never really followed the show. Now that the whole catalog is on Hulu, I’ve been working my way through it. (Which is a bit tedious because I have seen so many of them — in some cases several times.) I just started season 17, so I have a ways to go.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I actually liked all the Nolan Batmans. But the only one I’m ever tempted to rewatch is the final one.

        The only thing really bad about those films is their success convinced DC that all of its films needed to be dark and gritty. Dark and gritty works for Batman because that its source material. But for Superman, and Justice League? They didn’t really pull out of it until Wonder Woman.

        “but have kind of laid off since then because the humor is just too easy — the reality being its own clown show.”

        That’s surprising. I would have thought he’d be a regular, an orange yelling fat ogre with tiny hands. I wonder what the political demographics are of their audience, and if that’s a factor.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I actually liked all the Nolan Batmans. But the only one I’m ever tempted to rewatch is the final one.”

        That’s, by far, the usual view. But I disliked it enough to post about it, for whatever that’s worth.

        “Dark and gritty works for Batman because that its source material.”

        Yeah, it really made the Superman films hard to take.

        They haven’t pulled entirely out of that trend, as Suicide Squad showed, or as in (from what I read) the new Joker movie.

        Justice League was okay, but I’ve twice tried to watch Wonder Woman and given up both times. (My “Yeah, but!” alarm keeps going off, which is too distracting.)

        “I would have thought he’d be a regular, an orange yelling fat ogre with tiny hands.”

        In that previous season, Mr. Garrison runs for office in a clear analogue for trump. His running forms an arc over the entire season. It may be they feel they’ve said all they can.

        As I understand it, the new season has a show that touches on the immigrants in cages thing.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        The dark take, to me, seemed appropriate for Suicide Squad, but I didn’t find that movie nearly as wretched as most people. But I say that as someone completely unfamiliar with the comic book version.

        For Justice League, I agree it was okay, but Steppenwolf came off looking more silly than menacing to me.

        I enjoyed Wonder Woman, and my crush on Gal Gadot had nothing, nothing I say, to do with it.

        Aquaman was also entertaining in a purely popcorn-turn-off-your-brain manner.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I agree on both counts regarding Suicide Squad (all three counts including not being familiar with the comic book version). I haven’t seen Aquaman (yet), but I’ve read that it’s definitely a popcorn movie.

        There’s a YouTube site I like, Cinema Sins, that does “Everything Wrong With…” videos that are a lot of fun. They often give me a sense of whether I’ll like (or respect) a movie I haven’t seen. Their take on Aquaman made it pretty clear what the movie’s like.

        I don’t share your crush on Gadot (who can say why, she’s stunning; matter of taste, I guess), but Hulu has a series from a while back that I always liked, My Name is Earl. Last night I watched a few of the first episodes for old-time’s sake (and really enjoyed them; may have to watch more; it was an excellent show). Point is, I’d forgotten what a major crush I had on co-star Nadine Velazquez. I mean major, can’t take my eyes off, baying at the moon, want to freeze frame and just stare, major.

        She’s a good actor, too. Some of her facial expressions as she reacts to the antics of Earl and company crack me up. In some ways, she’s the sane viewer that grounds the others. Pretty much every other major character is nutty!

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