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.
This is the first of a series of articles that discuss something I believe is unique to humans. In fact, I think it’s one of the few things we can point to that does differentiate us from the animal kingdom. And it is something that goes deep into our past. It is our ability to use language to create and tell complex stories.
It is also one of my favorite topics. If you’ve read many of my posts, particularly those about movies and TV, you’ve seen me write about my love of stories.
There is an interesting continuum of storytelling modes. Books lie at one end; movies at the other. Plays and TV lie between. The continuum describes—in part—the experience of the audience. Here’s the deal…
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.)
TV Tuesday now turns to the third serious contender for All-Time Favorite television series. I’ve taken the liberty of excluding Star Trek from consideration, because it’s so integrated into my life, so big that it transcends being just a “favorite TV series.” That leaves four in the Fave Five, and in the last two days I’ve celebrated the two top contenders.
Today I celebrate the series that, until it was knocked down by the other two, was easily my favorite show ever. It’s one of the only two series I tried to fully capture to video tape back in the 1990s (before DVDs made all that effort a sad, silly waste). The other series was Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The third place contender, formerly number one, is M*A*S*H.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s episode, there are two shows that vie for All-Time Favorite television series. Today’s episode of TV Tuesday is about the series that would—by just a nose—place in the race rather than win. (Tomorrow’s episode is about the show that shows. That’s the Friday Trifecta here: my television picks for win, place and show.)
And I have to say, it’s a really tough call, a photo finish. It’s quite possible that if you asked me at the right time, the order would change. In particular, if you asked me while I was in the middle of re-watching the series (which I may do this coming election season), I might be inclined to say that this horse was the winner.
The horse in question is The West Wing, created by Aaron Sorkin.
The next two episodes of TV Tuesday concern two shows that are easily in my Fave Five and sure contenders for Top Three. As I mentioned in the first post, there are two that really vie for the top slot, and one that would probably win. This episode is about that show.
This episode is about House, M.D.
As I’ve mentioned before, I watch television for stories that engage me, but more than that I watch television for the characters. This is one place where television shows—especially long-running shows—are superior to movies. A well-drawn character on a television series has a longer “life span” than any movie character can. To approach the life time of a TV character’s life, even for just a single season, requires something like the Harry Potter movies (eight movies amounting to almost 20 hours).
TV Tuesday now takes a slight detour from the public airwaves and shows of our past to consider what’s been happening in the cable TV world. Some of the shows mentioned here deserve their own article, but in this post I’m going to fly over the landscape as quickly as I can manage (those who know me are laughing their ass off about now). If I don’t (at least try), this will be even longer than my usual lengthy longitude.
The problem is that the landscape has gotten huge! Even taking just the “premium” cable channels, such as HBO and Showtime, I find a large selection of shows to mention. In fact, HBO and Showtime each offer so many shows, either one alone offers much territory to explore. With that in mind, the flight won’t be stopping at any one destination very long. We have a very tight schedule today!
Before TV Tuesday can proceed to the television I love, I need to clear the airwaves regarding an entire genre of television I cannot stand.
I suspect I’m about to offend some people while causing others to cheer. To those who cheer, you are clearly members of a discerning, intelligent television audience. To those who are offended, your presence in the gene pool is no longer required, please hit the showers.
As you may have gathered, yep, it’s another opinionated rant. This one is about what I consider the worst thing to hit television since Manimal or The Ropers. In fact, it’s worse, far worse, than those two combined, plus Cop Rock and Mr. T. and Tina.
It’s about the form of video excrescence known as “Reality TV.” And that really does need to be in quotes, because there isn’t one thing “real” about it. Quite to the contrary, a more accurate term is “Unreality TV.”
Welcome to TV Tuesday here at Logos CC. Today begins a series of posts concerning that daily invader to most of our lives: television. For good or ill, television has become a fact in the fabric of our families. And certainly there is both much good and ill to be found on the video airwaves. That is an ongoing topic on this blog, but this series is about the shows I love (and some that I don’t).
I suppose TV Thursday might have been a more logical choice, though it doesn’t have quite the same ring. I say that because Thursday nights was the NBC Must See TV night that brought us such classics as The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Friends, Night Court, Mad About You, Seinfeld and Wings. (How many old friends did you find in that list?)