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.
I wrote about the CBS show, Madam Secretary, back when it premiered. Interestingly, that post is among those people still sometimes read. In fact, it’s one of the older of my posts people still sometimes read. That post also talked about another CBS show, Scorpion, which (to my surprise) lasted four seasons, so I’m not entirely sure what the attraction is.
Madam Secretary, informally retitled Madam President for its sixth and last season, aired its final episode last Sunday, December 8th. And while nothing is perfect, and all runners stumble, in its six-year run, this show gets an unqualified Wow! rating from me.
I’m really going to miss it.
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.
As I recall, I discovered Perry Mason, somewhere in the early-to-mid 1960s, when I was in grade school. I don’t recall if I first found the Erle Stanley Gardner books or the TV show starring Raymond Burr. I am sure one followed the other very quickly (probably why I don’t remember which was first). Either way, it started a love affair with courtroom drama that exists still today.
The most recent courtroom drama I’m aware of is The Good Wife (2009–2016), and I just finished re-watching that series on Hulu. There is a spin-off, The Good Fight, done by the same producers, and which has some of the supporting actors, but which is part of CBS’s streaming service, so it’s not really on my menu.
And then there’s an old show called The Practice (1997–2004)…
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.
Because I knew I’d be dog-sitting Bentley for two weeks, I spent the weeks prior getting a lot of work done with the specific intention of burning out a bit and needing some loaf time. I figured I could spend Bentley time, when not actually interacting with her, reading and catching up on TV (both queues are long). The Yang to the Yin is that, after a goodly break, the work would seem fresh again.
The point is that I’ve been watching a lot of TV. During the day (when not “dogging it”), I’ve read (more about that another post); and in the evenings, I’ve watched TV 5.0.
Which is to say cable-cut internet-streaming wifi TV using downloaded apps from the manufacturer’s online store. We’ve come a very long way (baby).
I think I’ve reached the breaking point with The Orville. Watching episode five of the new season, I found myself yelling at the TV for the fifth time, because the writing seems so stupid and the characters seem so lame. I’m angry that a show with so much potential is so infuriating and dumb. I had to turn the episode off and start this post.
When the second season started, I re-watched the entire first season as an appetizer, and my conclusion was that there were many more good episodes than bad. There’s really only one I found a stinker (and couldn’t watch all of), but overall it was positive. I was looking forward to the second season.
Sadly, I’ve really hated all five episodes so far. I’m really torn about watching the show anymore.
This past weekend, weary of political pundits pondering the pending Primary, I thought I’d submit to the advertising and buzz surrounding the new NBC show, Blindspot. All of the first ten episodes are currently available through Ondemand, and the network has really been pushing the show.
So on Saturday I sat down, popcorn at the ready, to binge watch those episodes. I’ll give you the punchline now: By the tenth episode I was pretty fed up with it.
It seems to be an inferior take on another NBC show, The Blacklist.
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…