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)…
Some of you may know that NCIS (the one with Mark Harmon) is one of my favorite TV shows. And, absent the occasional clunker, they still are turning out very good episodes in their 15th season. It’s quite an accomplishment to remain a top, and high quality, show for 347 episodes.
Some of you may also know that I forsook the first spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles, because it is — in my view — a silly-ass, lame-ass, stupid show (with too much gun play). I haven’t watched it in quite some time, and I haven’t missed it one iota.
And now it looks like I’m going to forsake their second spin-off, NCIS: New Orleans, because it also has gotten too stupid for me to enjoy anymore.
Come over here. Go over there. Let’s go over the bridge, over the wall, and over the plan (while we still have a roof over our heads). But let’s not get over-confident and allow our enthusiasm to spill over. (For that might over-turn the apple cart and we won’t get a do-over!)
Something can be over — that is to say finished, done. And one can be over something (finished with it, done with it). I’ve been struck, lately, by a number of things that are over as well as by the realization that I’m over some things.
The former make me a little bit sad, and a couple of the latter, especially one, took me a bit by surprise!
Some months ago, someone commented that I apparently watched a lot of TV. A recent Nielsen report claims the average American watches 5 hours per day, although age and race are factors. Children (2-11) watch a bit over 24 hours per week, and those 65 and older watch over 50 hours per week. It’s apparently close to a flat line with a dip in the teens.
My 50-64 age group supposedly watches nearly 44 hours per week (6.3 hours per day). For this TV Tuesday post, I thought it’d be interesting to see just how much I actually do watch.
It turns out I do watch a lot of TV; here’s the proof…
Once I’ve decided that I like something, I tend to be pretty loyal. That’s even more the case when it comes to people. But hate is very close to love; both are very strong and persistent emotions — they just have opposite polarities. The true opposite of love (or hate) is indifference.
And it does happen that, sometimes a single event that gets on the wrong side of me instantly flips the polarity of my feeling. Sadly, it’s always been from positive to negative. I’ve never had the movie experience of hating and then loving.
Recently two things have flipped my switch, and a third one is tugging at it.