I used to love watching JAG (yes, this post is about NCIS, bare with me, people). It was interesting, engaging, had likable characters, and mostly smart story lines, specifically if you compared it with what was on television at that time. You don’t remember JAG? Let me give you a taste:
It’s spin-off NCIS was an absolute improvement though. Instead of focusing around two main characters who would dance around the fact that they were attracted to each other, despite trying to maintain a professional relationship, NCIS was less personal, yet relationship driven, a mix off well planned action with relate-able and deep characters, which never seemed flat, and all had enough of their own baggage, to make your head spin.
I am staying away from the whole switching the female character issue at this moment.
Then came it’s own spin-off. Unlike the improvement that brought the JAG to NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles never really got me as interested. Even after watching it a few times, it does not have the depth or flair of the main NCIS show. Worst for me is the person in charge of the team, Hetty Lange, who is supposed to have this long list of skill sets and knowledge that would make a person the size of L.L. Cool J envious, yet she barely reaches to his arm pit. She speaks too many languages while being a supposed great fighter, and marksman, all that while having lived in a time where women were rarely taken seriously, and even less if they were as tiny as she was ( she is 4’9″). Oh, and did I mention she is also a novelist?
The rest of the cast is better, and they do carry the show enough to make it interesting enough to watch it. The line-up – right after the main show most likely contributes to it’s high ratings, which is a clever move on CBS’ part.
Here is a taste of NCIS – Los Angeles in action
But because that was not enough spin-off action apparently, we got another one. Let me introduce this falls “NCIS: New Orleans”
Scott Bakula will be in charge of this new twist on the NCIS family. So far we had an introduction to this aspect of the family during a two part episode of NCIS in March. My first impression was rather non-favorable. It overplayed the stereotypes of what people think of when they hear New Orleans, to the point that if it would not have been for Bakula, I would not have watched the second part. When it will appear in this falls line-up I am sure, I will be reporting on it, hoping it will be better then its introduction.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. NCIS might be touching on that boarder by creating another version of itself, watering down the quality of the shows, rather then having CBS focus on something new, exiting away from the formula. Instead keep on bringing the high quality we are used to for the main show.