Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What I’m Watching: NCIS & NCIS: Los Angeles (Season Premieres)

NCIS: Season 8, Episode 1 “Spider and the Fly” (B) / NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2 “Human Traffic” & “Black Widow” (B+)

This will likely be my last review of these two shows. Although it’s probably less than usual, it feels like there are so many new shows premiering, and I imagine I’ll be swamped in the coming weeks and months with a number of new and returning shows. Additionally, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to review both of these programs because the characters are fun but the plotlines are much more procedural than the other shows I tend to watch. Since “NCIS” ranks as the longest-running show that I’ve watched since the first episode was originally broadcast, I figure it’s worth bidding it a proper farewell, and though I don’t have the same loyalty to the most recent spin-off, the two-hour second season premiere did leave me with a few things to say about it.

To address the original show, this seemed like an appropriate episode for closure, as it sealed up the plotline begun late last season without providing enough intrigue to make me want to stick around (the text from Eli David to Vance saying “I found him”). This was a living in fear episode just like the season three premiere after Kate’s death, though this time that target was Gibbs’ family rather than the NCIS team. It also featured another pair of duplicitous siblings, although this time both were actually bad guys rather than last time when Ziva ended up killing Ari. I do have a bit of a problem believing that a legitimate law enforcement agency would allow someone to be intentionally murdered as part of a sting operation, but I won’t press the matter.

The L.A.-based spin-off definitely earned points with me for opening the episode in media res with Clint Mansell’s “Lux Aeterna” track from “Requiem for a Dream” thundering in the background, not to mention all the jumping over cars and mall structures. The new intro images are fun, and the first episode would definitely have been more suspenseful regarding the mystery of Deeks being dead or alive if Eric Christian Olen hadn’t been officially announced and credited as a regular cast member. The second episode featured the cool plan of having the agents pose as members of a crew only to discover that they were posing as the wrong members (only a test, as it turned out). I couldn’t place the actress who played Emma, and after a quick IMDB lookup, I learned that it was Liane Balaban, recently seen as Auggie’s open source-thumping Russian ex-girlfriend on “Covert Affairs.” The sting operation in the supermarket was also definitely pretty intense.

So that’s it for me and the “NCIS” shows, unless you’re watching and think I should too. Leave any thoughts in the comments; otherwise, adieu.

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