Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NCIS Grows Up

I started watching NCIS when it had the redundant name “Navy NICS” or the more bloated name of “Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service.” I wasn’t sure exactly why I watched it, though. The stories were tepid, and the antics of the characters were sometimes overly juvenile. But, I stuck with it for a long while, getting very comfortable with the chemistry of some on the show. Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) leads the NCIS team, with quirky characters like examiner Doctor Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) and goth techno-geek Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perette).

I was originally drawn to the show because Harmon and McCallum have been favorites of mine for a long time. (In the case of McCallum – a VERY long time!) I continued to come back to the show each week, well, almost each week. You see, there was just something wrong with the show, something just a little - off. I couldn’t get past the increasingly rising number of juvenile sexual innuendo, which seemed to be spreading on the show like kudzu. I started not feeling the need to watch every week. And with last season’s end and a storyline becoming too complicated that it wasn’t even interesting, I wasn’t sure I would be back this year.

Hearing rumors of trouble between the show’s producer, Donald P. Bellisario and Mark Harmon, and the hearing the later news that Bellisario was backing away from having close hands-on involvement in the show, I thought I’d continue to watch to see how the dust settled. I’m glad to say the show seems to have grown up a bit, and in a good way. After wrapping up the overly complicated storyline, the cases seemed to be getting more basic, but still more interesting. They’ve cut back in the innuendo, or at least it’s grown up past the grade school level. Finally, they gave Director Shepard (Lauren Holly) some hair so she doesn’t look as cold and harsh as last season. (It doesn’t always look like real hair but it's an improvement.)

But what’s more likable about the show is not the cases but the chemistry between the characters. It still works very well. Ducky and Abby continue to shine with their idiosyncrasies; in fact, Gibbs seems almost human around those two people. The show’s viewership continues to rise, despite seemingly being virtually ignored by the TV Guide and other publications.

So I’ll stick with the show – and if you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you give it a try. You may be surprised.

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