Five reasons I'm not hooked on NCIS: LA
by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 30th 2009 10:03AM
If I tell you right now, before November sweeps, that CBS will renew NCIS: Los Angeles for a second season, you won't be surprised. The pre-season projections for this show were that it was a guaranteed success. It wasn't only that it was a spinoff from CBS's top-rated drama series, NCIS. No, it was programming. CBS slotted NCIS: LA in the hour right after NCIS. It had a very strong spot, a monster lead in.
So, it's doing great in the rating... but why haven't I caught on? Why do I begrudingly keep the channel on after NCIS and watch the LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell series without much enthusiasm? I think there's a few reasons.
1. Who's the Boss?
Unlike NCIS which has a military hierarchy, it seems like the special ops unit in LA is just a hodgepodge of officers. Isabelle wrote about this, too. Sam's a former Navy Seal and carries a lot of authority around with him, but he's not in charge. Vance is there once in a while. Hetty is an authority figures, but she's more like a strict aunt or Mother Superior. Callen could be the leader because he's involved in every case, but he's undercover all the time and seems to reject anything regimented.
2. Callen and Sam, another Starsky and Hutch?
The two main guys are clearly Callen and Sam. They're like partners, Starsky and Hutch. The two of them have each other's backs and work most missions together. When you have two strong centerpieces like that, the focus is on their teamwork and not the rest of the team.
3. Extras or Characters?
What about the team... are they real characters or just glorified extras. I don't see any one of them emerging. The psychologist, the pretty girl, the young guy. That's what they are to me. Compare them to NCIS's McGee, Ziva, Ducky and Abby. Even Mr. Palmer is more of a personality.
4. Pay attention, 007
I think Linda Hunt is wonderful as the sort of Ducky west. Or maybe she's like James Bond's Q, with a large dollop of E, aka Edna Mode, from The Incredibles. As a bean counter and expert in organizing the branch, she's great. But she's not in the field and I can't imagine she ever was.
5. Where's the chemistry?
I know it's still early, but I don't think I see a lot of chemistry on this show. There's also a lot of bells and whistles, equipment and touch screens, but just a little bit of heart and character development.
...So, do you feel like I do or are you happy with the new NCIS: LA?
[Check out episodes of NCIS: LA on SlashControl.]