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October 8, 2015

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.]

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Late to the discussion here, but: I keep watching in hopes things will firm up. LL Cool J and Linda Hunt are keepers. My biggest issue is the location. Yes, the "secret hideout" thing is dumb, but I could overlook it if LA made any sense at all. As someone who lives in So. Cal., I can assure you that Camp Pendleton isn't just an easy hop down the road. Presuming headquarters are somewhere near Venice Beach, it takes about 1-1/2 hours to get to the nearest Pendleton off ramp if the traffic is good. During rush hour (6 hours per day), figure about 2-1/2 hours or more. Sooner or later they'll need to expand to cover cases involving the huge Navy presence around 28th St. in San Diego; add another 1 hour + to the drive.

So we have the Navy at 28th St.(2-1/2 hrs), Miramar (2 hrs.), and the Amphibious Assault base (1-1/2 hrs) all in San Diego. There is some Navy in LA and Ventura, but not even close to their numbers in San Diego. Venice Beach is always fun with beach volleyball, roller skates, and the sidewalk market, but that isn't how central offices are generally located. And no matter how much fun Venice is once you park your car somewhere, it is a fact of life that traffic always sucks for 20 miles minimum in every land direction around Venice. Forget getting anywhere in a hurry. The more episodes I see, the more this bothers me.

November 19 2009 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone know why they dumped Macey? The 2 crossover episodes in the spring were superb and I couldn't wait for the series to start. I never miss NCIS but I only half watch LA.
It had such potential with the Macey/Gibbs connection and then, poof, like it never happened.

November 13 2009 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ras Thavas
I had the exact same reaction from the scene where the female agent vandalized someones car. The show wasnt holding my interest to begin with, but that was so stupid and unrealistic that I was done at that point. Maybe I will give it another shot later, cause I really like LL Cool J as an actor in about anything, but they need to get their act together.
Loved Allisons comment about Mr. Palmer from NCIS. Palmer is such an affable, happy go lucky guy, especially for someone who works in a morgue, that I cant help but be drawn to him whenever he is in a scene.
I see from other comments here that I am not the only one who disliked Lauren Holly as the NCIS Director. She was totally miscast in that role. It was painful to watch her try to seem tough and in charge while the whole time Gibbs ran roughshod all over her and disrespected her at every opportunity. Vance is a different story though. I like him. He is tough, smart, intense and takes very little crap from Gibbs. Has anyone else noticed that he almost never blinks?

November 02 2009 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I deleted it from my SP after the first episode. It simply didn't grab my interest enough to use my time.

It's nothing like NCIS in format or storyline, so I was disappointed and didn't like it.

It could be a decent show with a totally different name and expectations. And perhaps, no matter what you call it, I wouldn't like it.

November 01 2009 at 8:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ras Thavas

I stopped watching when the female agent scratched and dented some poor slobs car so she could stand near the bad guys to eavesdrop on their conversation. The blantant violations of the law by the NCIS agents was just too much for me.

October 30 2009 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia R.

It's on my DVR... and I keep telling myself I am going to watch it... but somehow it never quite happens.

October 30 2009 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agree with all your dislikes....because I'm not hooked on this series as well....actually I no longer watch.

October 30 2009 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

THANK YOU!!!!!! While i do not like this show something seemed so similar about the older lady(who's name i don't even know). Then you fixed it all. SHE IS EDNA MODE!!! THat's awesome. The need to make a live action Icredibles just because of her.

October 30 2009 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lady Olivier

I agree with you. No Chemistry!! It's tries too hard and delivers less than you wanted. NCIS has such a quirky screwball chemistry it still outclasses this mess. I watch because I like Linda Hunt (Although I believe this role is beneath her) and LL COOL J. Chris O'Donnell I could care less about.

October 30 2009 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your reasons 3 and 4 are big ones for me too, although maybe it's true the chracters will evolve over time. Linda Hunt is better as a Ducky-like character, a side character with an extensive past and lots of interesting stories and hidden history. Linda Hunt is great when they play that up. I also was disappointed they cut Louise Lombard. I like the actress and hoped they'd have a "female" Gibbs. As long as we didn't get another Lauren Holly, SHE was annoying.

The one thing that annoyed me from day one is why the "hidden" HQ, and the oddball surroundings? Why do they seem to always be undercover ("what's our story this time?")? They are not secret agents, they are Federal agents. NCIS. In the original show, they often wear suits and work in cubicles in an office complex. I know it's "LA", but I bet the FBI offices in LA are pretty similar to the ones in DC -- NCIS probably as well.

October 30 2009 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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