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Why CBS shouldn't pick up the NCIS spinoff

by Allison Waldman, posted May 15th 2009 1:35PM
NCIS spinoff
Next Wednesday, CBS will be announcing its schedule for the new season, and while rumors have swirled that Cold Case or Without A Trace might be on the chopping block -- despite good ratings -- one sure thing seems to be the spinoff from NCIS.

Well, now that I've seen the two-part NCIS episode that served as a pilot for the show, I'm hoping that CBS gives this new series a thumbs-down. I don't expect that to happen, but if it were my decision, I wouldn't dump a solid series with a loyal viewership like Cold Case or Without A Trace, for the hope of LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell's overly fussy, overly procedural NCIS derivative step-child.

Here's the thin:, because NCIS has emerged as something of a phenomenon for CBS, i.e. a series that is getting more and more popular as it goes on, the network is psyched about capitalizing on that success. The problem for me is that while I love NCIS and give it props for what it's accomplished, the spinoff just didn't show the potential of the original series.

A pilot has to have that promise or it's doomed to failure. What I saw in the two-parter was a lot of bells and whistles, a lot of action and car chases, and a real lack of characters that would make me come back for more. And believe me, the strength of NCIS is in the characters. It's the interaction between the team, Gibbs and DiNozzo, Ziva and McGee, Ducky and Abby. Even the scowl on Vance's face when he goes up against Jethro is all character driven. NCIS fans tune in not for the forensics and murder scenes; we're there to see the guys dealing with each other while doing serious crime solving.

The spinoff tried to make the Callen character mysterious and compelling, even leaving him in critical condition at the end of part two after being shot down in the street. Chris O'Donnell's a good actor, but the character was a dud. I was shocked that he was shot, but I didn't care if he made it. LL Cool J's character was so vacuous that I don't remember his name. He was too busy playing with the Minority Report touch screens in the high-tech loft that housed the OPS branch of NCIS to really be evaluated as a character. I guess he looked proficient with the screens, kind of like John King on CNN last year during the election coverage.

As for Louise Lombard as the chief of the unit, she lacked any of the brio or power I'd expect from a leader. She left me cold, and I don't think she ever got out of the loft. She was watching the action, not part of it. Compared to Gibbs, she came up very short.

So, on Wednesday, I'll be really curious to see how CBS plays it. If the show gets a spot in the fall lineup, I won't be surprised, but I also won't be watching.

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I for one love NCIS. Have been a fan ever since the pilot on JAG. But when I saw the Pilot for the spinoff. I was excited. First Chris O'Donnel. One of my favorite actors plays a very interesting character. He can change his personality in a split second and looks good in a suit. At first I had my doubts about the idea of a spinoff of a spinoff. But by the end o the second episode of the 2 part pilot I wanted to see more. And the great thing is that NCIS will still be going so we still will have those characters. Although I only forsee one more season of the original NCIS. They are going into the 7th season that is a very successful series and I think that they should end it in a good way rather than keep it going for 10 more years and end up losing peoples interest. NCIS LA I think will be a great show. It may not be as good as the originall but who cares, its not the original it is its own show and story. So lets give it a chance before we drive by and shoot it down in the street.

July 17 2009 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why mess with agood thing? The
spin off may be good but the people on NCIS is what makes the
show. I watch NCIS ever time it is on.It is my and my friends favorite show.I hope NCIS will be
picked back up later.

June 13 2009 at 1:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I could not agree more with your evaluation of the spinoff vs. the real NCIS. While the spinoff had technology, bells & whistles, the personality of the characters left me cold. CBS has a winning mix of characters and should they remove any of the core characters for next season, they will hurt the show. If they were to remove Gibbs or DiNozzo, perhaps even McGeek, they would likely lose me and many others as viewers. Likewise, should the scripts become soap-opera'ish or flat out stupid (remember the final years of X-Files?) then the show will die a slow death. I've always been impressed with the scripts on this show, but it's the interaction of the characters that make it work. Technology can get your attention for a few episodes, but if a viewer can't be drawn by the personality of a shows characters, you can't turn that viewer into a loyal fanatic.

NCISfanatic (on Twitter)


May 17 2009 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Manuel Reis

For me, there's a reason why the NCIS spinoff should be picked up: Daniela Ruah (or Kensi Lyle (or Lo, or whatever), for those of you who don't know who I'm talking about). :P

What? She's hot. And Portuguese (she was born in Boston, but raised here).

Search Google for some pics of her in our Maxim (here is called Maxmen) and you will see my point of view.

BTW, she's also a good actress. You will like her. :)

May 15 2009 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree. It just was not entertaining. The reason the original "pilot" of NCIS was boring was because of the secondary plot line of terrorism. The new spin-off (as well as the last NCIS) just has too much of it. We are bombarded with it in our news channels everyday, I don't want to watch it on a show I watch for entertainment.

May 15 2009 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Allison Waldman you are a MORON!!!!!

May 15 2009 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They should make L.L. Cool J's (James Todd Smith) classic song "I'm Bad" the theme song.

May 15 2009 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did you ever see the NCIS pilot that aired as an episode of JAG? It was nothing to get excited about. Moreover, the first season of NCIS was a bit of dud. The series only really took off in its third season when Cote de Pablo was added to the cast to replace Sasha Alexander. I don't necessarily disagree with some of your points, but I'll give the spinoff a chance.

May 15 2009 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree about the absurd tech, but otherwise I was pleasantly surprised with this show. That shrink dude needs to go, and O'Donnel needs a little work, but LL Cool J, Louise Lombard, and the others were good. It may not be as good as NCIS, but IMO it's better than Without a Trace, which really needs to be put out of its misery.

May 15 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that what makes NCIS so good is the characters and their interactions with each other and to me its what separates it from all of the CSI's. Also all that "Minority Report" stuff was neat for one scene but was overused and was annoying me by the end of the second episode.

May 15 2009 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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