Going back quite some time, my posts about CBS’s NCIS, or its spin-offs, all express disappointment. I gave up on the spin-offs long ago, but their parent show (itself actually a spin-off of JAG, another show I loved) has retained a favored spot in my heart despite my growing disappointment with it.
That I let three episodes accumulate before I got around to watching says something about my disengagement. That I liked the two episodes of Bull more than any of the three NCIS episodes says even more.
What I’m trying to figure out now is how much of this is me and how much is the show. Some of both, for sure.
This TV Tuesday post was originally going to be another rant about WTF is going on with NCIS (I held off on because I didn’t want to kvetch on Christmas). But then I had a really interesting thought about my other favorite (broadcast) TV show, The Good Place.
There’s an old joke about the philosophy professor who says, “Every time I think I’ve had an original though, it turns out some damned ancient Greek thought of it first.” There’s a more serious version in Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun.”
It turns out I’m not the first, by a long stretch, to notice how The Good Place echos and references The Wizard of Oz.
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.
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.
If I reverse the first two words of the title (and call the question mark to attention), it removes all uncertainty, but for now I’m on the fence and asking. I’ve already reached certainty with both spin-offs (the oldest many years ago, the younger sibling just last year). Now, either I might be over their parent, NCIS, or just maybe the show itself is over.
I sometimes get the sense I’m more attached to the idea of over than many. I’ve mentioned more than once that I try to look forward, and around, rather than in the rear-view mirror. I’ve also mentioned how a primary ask of mine for stories is: “Take me someplace new.”
Nostalgia never had much pull for me, nor did more-of-the-same once a story has been finished.
In a coincidental bit of symmetry, the last post I wrote (“NCIS: Spin-off Spin-out”) before writing 14 Westworld posts in a row, was about my disappointment with NCIS: New Orleans and how it was getting really hard to enjoy anymore.
Here now is a bookend post making the breakup official. The show has turned into something (or maybe it always was) that I don’t find any value in watching anymore. The fourth season has ended and, with it, so has my viewership. This is the second NCIS spin-off I see as a fail, which is sad when I’ve loved the original for so many years (15 of them, in fact).
It was the spectacularly stupid season finale that was the final straw (I mean, seriously, who writes this crap)…
This isn’t about the astrological sign of Leo, the Lion; it’s about television shows with LEOs in them. That is to say, Law Enforcement Officers. Cops. Heat. The Fuzz. The term covers civilian and military police, the FBI and any member of an organization charged with enforcing the law (Secret Service and Treasury agents or LEOs).
For our purposes, the term also covers lawyers and judges and others who adjudicate the law. As put by a hugely successful TV show, there are “two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”
So here on the last day of this edition of TV Tuesday, “cop shows” are in the house! And some court room dramas! (You have the right to keep reading. If you choose to keep reading, any thoughts or memories you may have can be written down as comments and won’t be used against you.)