Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NCIS Improves But Major Shake-up Coming

I’ve been watching NCIS since the series began, and over the years I’ve had a sort of love/hate relationship with the show. Last season, the show seemed mired in an overly complicated story line with “La Grenouille” (Armand Assante) and the intolerable “Madame” Director (Lauren Holly). Added to the mix was overly juvenile sexual innuendo from Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo). Despite what appeared to be a dumbing down of the show, I stuck with it because I liked some of the other lead characters, such as Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), Doctor Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) and goth techno-geek Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perette).

This season, NCIS seems to have jettisoned some of the juvenile banter. Oh it’s still there, just not as forced and it’s a little less obnoxious. The two post-strike episodes that have recently aired seem to be a little tighter and a little more interesting. Maybe the crimes have been somewhat simplistic, but when the cast has great chemistry, I almost don’t mind if the plot isn’t overly complex or oppressive.

Now that the show seems to be growing up and gaining viewership, one can almost predict that an upheaval would have to come along, just to because that’s how things seem to work. And of course, an upheaval is coming. A story being reported from many sources, including Michael Ausiello of the TV Guide, says that a major cast member and series regular is going to be leaving the show. Michael Ausiello said “And as tempted as I am to blab this person's identity, after much soul searching, I've decided that doing so would prove WTS (Way Too Spoilery). And here's why: The actor in question will exit the series in a dramatic fashion. I might even go so far as to call it a major freakin' twist, the repercussions of which will be felt well into next season and, perhaps, beyond. One thing I feel reasonably comfortable letting you know is that the aforementioned twist does, in fact, occur this season — i.e., sometime between tomorrow night's post-strike return and the season finale in May.”

Well, part of me hopes that it would be Madame Director because I just absolutely cannot stand her. In fact, I don’t think many fans of the show DO like her, which makes me immediately exclude her from the list of people leaving. The reason is that fans wouldn’t consider it a twist, since most of them wish she’d have left the show a lot sooner.

Last year there were reports that there was trouble between the show’s producer, Donald P. Bellisario and Mark Harmon. But last fall there was news that Bellisario was backing away from having close hands-on involvement in the show, which seemed to appease Harmon because he’s still there. (Maybe this is why the show “grew up” a bit.) Still, I can’t help but think that Mark Harmon will be the one to leave. And you know, while I would be saddened to see him – or anyone else (except Madame Director) leave – I think the show has established itself enough to the point that it can afford a major shake-up.

So as long as this show can keep up the positive trend, I think it can handle a big change. In this day and age, a show can’t get too comfortable with its cast and it has to keep reinventing itself in order to keep things exciting. Let’s hope that NCIS is grown up enough to handle the change.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must agree that Madame Director should go but so should Weatherly. His character is an awful lot like my 12 year old grandson at the mall arcade shooting whatever, conspiring with his buds and leering at the "availables", as he put it!! Oy, what a kid! Persoally I'd like to see them add a married characte to the team, somewhere in his or her late 30s or early 40s, rank Capt. or higher, but married for sure.