Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NCIS, "Reunion": Just one kid

Not a whole lot to say about last night's "NCIS," save that I'm pleased that the singing of "Chad Gadya" (a staple at the Sepinwall household at Passover-time) seems to be turning into a running gag. Because of "American Idol," my "NCIS" viewing tends to fall off late in each season, so I missed a lot of the Tony/Ziva/Gibbs issues that were being resolved in this one. Glad to have the team back together (not that there was any suspense about it), and a decent case.

What did everybody else think? And is anybody sticking with "NCIS: LA" so far? Feel free to talk about that in this post if you want.


Brandy said...

I liked the episode for the most part. Ziva's talks with Tim and Tony were good. I particularly liked how she jumped when Tim came up to her like some of what she's been through still is there.

I didn't like her talk with Gibbs. I couldn't tell what emotion Cote was trying to play there. Her smiley delivery just felt off to me. I know people who get smiley in tense situations but it still just felt off to me.

Thought Tim and Tony's sidekick bit was funny and I hope that some of the equality between Tim and Tony in these last two eps lasts after Ziva is integrated into the team, but it probably won't.

Matt said...

I liked the LA episode pretty well, actually. The Linda Hunt bits were, as always, amusing, and they're starting to figure out how to write for the "team." It'll take half a season to gel, but the pieces are there. Also, handled the blending of the personal and professional lives of Cool J's character quite well.

Zach said...

Yea Zivas confrontation with Gibbs was just cringeworthy. Calling him 'The closest thing I have to a father'? Really? In those words, to his face?

What, is this a 'Bones' kind of thing where Ziva secretly has been brain damaged?

De Pablos discomfort at trying to fit Zivas personality around the awful, awful dialogue was so very evident. Ridiculously bad scene, I suspect a quite jumpable shark swimming nearby, if this episode hasnt found it already.

Drew Sarver said...

The episode was very good. I'm waiting to see now if Ziva becomes a special agent since she no longer wants anything to do with her father.

Alan, you know you can watch the past episodes online, lol.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yes, I am familiar with streaming video, Drew. But because NCIS is mostly non-serialized, I don't usually feel compelled to catch up if I miss one, or a bunch. If it means I miss some nuance in the character relationships, c'est la vie.

Melissa said...

I've tried to watch NCIS:LA twice and have been bored to tears each time. First off, the set is cool but how is that supposed to be a government office? Maybe I missed that bit of exposition, but it doesn't look like a government building to me. It's way too decorated and 'warm' to be believable. I think I saw some moss or grass growing on a column behind G's head last night. Just weird. It takes me out of the show completely.

Since I've only halfway paid attention I don't really understand who these people are, what they're doing and how it relates to the military. That's my fault, to a degree (I shouldn't be reading the comments on your Mad Men post, probably). But, if the show did a better job of keeping my attention the I might understand the scheme of it better.

What it does have going for it is, like NCIS, it seems pretty kid friendly. That, if nothing else, might keep it on in the background while doing the prep for bedtime tasks.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Melissa, I don't know if it's been explained in an episode (I haven't watched all of last night's yet), but the rationale producer Shane Brennan gave for the place back at press tour is that this unit specializes in undercover work, so after the last office was blown (in the backdoor pilot on regular NCIS last spring) they set up shop at an old Spanish mission so it wouldn't be obvious they're a government agency.

Decide for yourself whether you accept that.

Anonymous said...

NCIS LA is at best a "C" grade show. The writing seems stilted and cliched at every turn. It seems like they let a first time screenwriting class do the dialog as an in class exercise.

Davy said...

RE: NCIS -- I liked the episode, but agree about Ziva's speech to Gibbs.

RE: NCIS:LA -- it's.... okay, given it's only three episodes in. I'm giving it more time, but it does feel awkward, like it's finding its feet. BTW, in the show, they explained about the hacienda that it had been "condemned" during a recent quake, giving them a hiding place in plain sight.

gc said...


Exactly which Naval Base are they supporting in the LA County area?

Anybody who lives in a Southern climate knows not to have a black interior in your Dodge Challenger.

Melissa said...

It doesn't look like a condemned hacienda to me. It looks more like a eclectic designer's showcase. Is that where my fictional tax money is going? ;)

me said...

NCIS: I'm fine with all of it. I do wonder if Ziva's startle response was a one-time thing, or if the trauma of her captivity and torture will continue to recur throughout the season. And perhaps a little survivor's guilt.

NCIS:LA: I'm still having trouble adjusting. First, because of the new digs. The backdoor pilot set the tone, opened up a big mystery, and established the power structure for the team.

Then the real season came with a new set, nobody's talking about how G got shot up the last time we saw him, and the team looks and functions MUCH differently. I also don't get O'Donnell and LL's relationship. I know they're spoonfeeding it to me, but it will take a little more time until I get the backdoor pilot out of my head.

Also, it makes more sense when I imagine them as Tony and McGee bantering.

I hope they can make a stronger Navy tie-in in future episodes to make it more "on brand". Otherwise, why didn't they just make a regular cop show in LA that's not Southland or Dark Blue?

Robbin said...

I loved the scenes with Ziva and Gibbs! Their relationship has always seemed a bit different--there's always been alot unspoken. I loved the continuity--reaching all the way back to season 4!

Neither character is great at expressing emotion so I think the scene played just right for the characters.

NCIS:LA--I'm trying to like it. I don't dislike it. But if it's a spin off of NCIS it should have retained some of that feel while developing its own style. Much like the 3 CSIs have. Right now it just feels like another southern California cop show. Is this supposed to be a team? Then who's in charge? What is there to care about in these characters? On NCIS each character has been created to be distinct. I'm afraid L.A. lacks that right now. Except maybe for the Hunt character anyone of those characters could exchange their dialog and it wouldn't affect the scene. They all sound the same!

Isaac Lin said...

The problem I have with Ziva's scene with Gibbs is given her background, and her specific orders on her mission when she killed her brother, it's hard for a dispassionate observer (which Gibbs has always shown the ability to become when required) to discount the possibility that Ziva is exercising her professional deception skills once again.

ninaruth said...

I guess having Tony pronounce it "Chad" (as in hanging) rather than
"Khahd" is part of the joke. I think he knew Ziva was in the bathroom before she spoke.

Farm Girl Pink... said...

I tend to agree with the overall thought that the show is not good. I had not cared for the back door pilot. And the two episodes that have aired just did not keep my attention.

For me it is a combo of lack luster writing and casting choices. I just don't see any chemistry between any of them. Add that and the weak storylines... I have already dumped the show from the TIVO.

I still love NCIS. Happy to see Ziva back within the group. The show seems to be quickly tying up the loose story lines from last year. Which is nice to have happen. I was fearful Ziva being held captive was going to be dragged out for awhile.

Graeme said...

I liked NCIS well enough. I think the problem with the Ziva speech to Gibbs was not with Cote De Pablo but rather the ridiculous amount of plot hoops they required her to cover off with that speech. It's as though, having Gibbs discover in the finale last spring that-everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-Ziva-was-wrong, the producers suddenly decided to do an abrupt U-turn and do an everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-Ziva-was-wrong-but-actually-was-right. I think that would be a challenge for any actor to do with either a straight face or a general clue of what was going on...

NCIS: LA is to NCIS what Torchwood (or at least the first two seasons of it) is to Doctor Who. A spin-off that has completely missed the point of the original show. As I said previously, NCIS is a workplace comedy diguised as a espionage/crime procedural. And that helps the more far-fetched elements of it to go down generally. Here it's trying to do less of the comedy and more of the procedural and it just seems far fetched. That said, I like Linda Hunt.

Unknown said...

I didn't see the backdoor pilot for NCIS:LA. Maybe if I had I would like the new show better. Mostly, though, I find myself missing Gibbs, or at least some "leader" to come up and smack the others on the back of the head. Like Robbin said: who's the leader? It's like if, on the original, Gibbs left and we were left just watching Tony and Tim bicker. Funny, for a while, but you keep waiting for some authority to come up and direct things. In any case, I start watching the show and just can't keep going.

The regular NCIS, though, I still love.

Ariadne said...

I liked NCIS a lot. I liked the subtle things, like Ziva no longer wearing her Star of David and that both Tony and Ziva described the shrink the same way (man hands, pretty eyes) but not much direct affection, which is the right way to write a ship on a procedural.

I thought the whole idea that Ziva had been ordered to kill Ari smelled like a retcon but I liked the way they explained it because it is consistent with Ziva's character and background; she very much wants to trust those she cares about but she's been betrayed before. I thought it was also consistent with Gibbs to remain suspicious of her even while he understands her enough to know that she wants back on the team. It was rather clunky to get through but I though both Mark Harmon and Cote deP did a good job with it.

I also liked her make-ups with Tony and Tim, all of them in character.

Abby's freak-out was the most forced but then Abby is often too forced a character.

I hope they keep the Tony/Tim dynamic going from the last two episodes.

Overall, I thought it was a good wrap-up to the end of last season, as if the world has settled back into its proper orbit.

NCIS:LA: I'm still not feeling the love for it. Maybe because I don't really care about Callan and LL Cool J's character (whose name I still haven't noted)or because it feels like too much of a Boys Own adventure including the toys for the boys. Too many male characters I can't differentiate and the only female team member is a non-entity. Right now, I wouldn't mind keeping the psychologist and Linda Hunt's character and replacing the rest of the cast.