Category Archives: Television

Leave of Gabse-sense?

We made you big. Now it’s your turn to honour that, by providing us with NCIS episodes worthy of your fans’ devotion. Instead you are ‘thanking’ us by invariably serving up complete rubbish, with the odd silver nugget every now and then. I put those good moments down to unexpected good writing coupled with appropriate directing.

It just doesn’t happen often enough for a number one show.

Because it could do. It used to. If anyone on NCIS or CBS had time and inclination to revisit the past, you’d see how it ought to be done. You’d see what made you number one.

You made the show. Us, the fans, made you number one. We deserve better. Hell, even you deserve better.

Instead of this gradual weakening, which means you’ll go out with a whimper at some point in the future, you could make us one last terrific season of NCIS and go out with a bang. Something to remember you by. Something that would make some of us sad, and make us miss you.

Get it right!

As I understand it, the actors get paid well enough, although I suspect the male actors might be paid more. Mark Harmon is certainly rumoured to make a minor fortune for every episode. I almost wrote ‘earn’ but realised that he doesn’t earn anything the way he’s forgotten to act, or even caring about the show or the fans.

This week’s dance around Fornell? Embarrassing.

McGee has let himself go completely. It’s not the twins; it’s something much deeper that’s wrong. The beard, obviously, but there’s more to it. Or less, depending on how you see it.

Bishop is mostly the way she was, but comes across as quite mature by comparison. Torres is a treasure. He’s cool in way DiNozzo never was (although I recognise that Michael Weatherly was what kept people together), and kind at the same time.

Palmer is good, managing to be a cross between his old self and Ducky. I’m a bit disappointed now with Sloan, who seems to forget how an agent behaves and babbles about things all over the place, getting emotional. But that will be the script writers, not the actor.

Finally Abby. She’s not quite herself, but based on the rift between Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon, that’s hardly surprising. I can’t work out how Abby’s going to go, but that almost doesn’t matter now. If the show is to continue (please no!) there needs to be a forensic scientist, but how they could make that work, I’ve no idea.

Back to the money. NCIS must make a fair bit of money, being number one and all that, and managing to pay its actors handsomely. I can’t help but feel that this means they have responsibilities too, to the viewers, and to their advertisers. It’s time you all worked for that money. It’s clearly too late for mature behaviour on the set, but I feel the money should pay for that as well.

So, you can’t – or won’t – have Abby and Gibbs on at the same time. If one or both of them is dangerous and a risk to others, the police should be told. If there is ‘merely’ a quarrel of some kind, a major CBS show like NCIS should be strong enough to make two actors work together like the adults they supposedly are.

Fixing it so they are never together is ruining not just season 15, but it really does take pleasure away from past seasons. Somehow you can’t un-see what is going on now. Watching season 14 backwards, you discover that the rift was already there. The last two episodes are almost totally free from overlap between the two, and the episodes before them have a really weird feel to them.

It’s too late to put all this right. I wish you could, because we really do deserve better. The odd, almost OK episode would almost make up for it, were it not for the Gabby split.

Advertisements

But what about the dead marine?

Gibbs, Gibbs, you’ve lost your sense of proportion here. There is hardly ever anything more important than a dead marine. You need to find out who killed him or her, and get justice.

But no, once we knew who had done the killing this week, however un-intentional, it seemed to get lost in the general cuteness of how to achieve a happy end for all. Apart from our dead marine.

So yes, it was a sweet – if not necessarily terribly realistic – ending.

The mix of two pairs of misbehaving teenage girls was a clever one, though, and kept us guessing a while.

And this was surely another new Kayla Vance?

Abby vs Gibbs

It’s amazing how little you see, unless you know to look. After what I discovered yesterday, I’ve spent the morning on some NCIS-based research. It’s anything but complete, and I admit I don’t have access to any official facts, but when a Facebook friend posted a photo of a couple of US magazines to illustrate a point he wanted to make about something totally unrelated, my eyes were drawn to another magazine on the edge of the picture, which prompted me to do a search on the words on the cover of whatever the magazine might be: ‘Harmon drove Perrette off show.’

Magazine cover

I’m one of the last people I know who would write publicly about something based on gossip, which might very well be just that. But, for once I am tempted to believe there is some truth in what I accidentally came across.

OK, maybe Pauley Perrette didn’t decide to leave NCIS at the end of season 15 because Mark Harmon insists on bringing his pitbull Dave to work with him, or that she’s scared of the dog. What seems clear after more looking into things is that a year before her announcement, Dave took a bite out of someone on the NCIS set. All sources at the time (October 2016) claim Dave has not been back.

But there’s a reason for Pauley’s decision to leave. I’d been intending to speculate a little on this, since short of her being ill, I didn’t have her down as a quitter. She has always seemed to be someone who might well be the last one standing, in fact.

Maybe Dave is now back. Maybe not. Perhaps Pauley complained about him and met only hostility. Maybe she is angry at this. Maybe Mark Harmon is angry about Dave-related issues, or about something entirely different.

Because there has to be a reason why – just like the gossip magazine claimed – Gibbs and Abby are not filmed together in season 15.

All right, a few episodes is not proof of anything, and I can’t believe I never noticed that one is not there if the other is; that there are no more kisses for Abby when she’s done well. Other people visit her in her lab. The one time I found them talking to each other, it was over the phone.

I don’t know. But it makes the public comments from Mark about her departure sound rather hollow. If the set is still really like one big happy family, there would be no need to keep the two in separate rooms.

What’s more, it makes it harder watching older – and happier – episodes, as I found when I happened to catch the beginning of season three last night.

Not just a pretty face

It’s amazing how coming face-to-face with someone off television makes you feel as if you’re meeting an old friend. And in this instance I don’t mean in the street, but seeing them on a different television screen. Like the Christmas University Challenge.

Now, I do know a few people who’ve been on the ‘celebrity’ teams anyway. But then the other day, Daughter and I were taken aback to find Bishop’s screen ex-husband (the snake..!) Jake on one of the Cambridge teams, as himself; Jamie Bamber.

We did always like Jake on NCIS. At least until he cheated on Bishop and had to be escorted off the premises by Gibbs.

Anyway, it was nice to see him again, and even nicer to find he’s a knowledgeable and intelligent man. Somehow you suspect actors and musicians of being a bit substandard in a general educational way. Here I have to say that without Jamie his team would have done a lot worse.

In the semi-finals they were up against an Oxford team, on which we were very happy to find Frank Cottrell Boyce, and happier still to hear him describe himself as a children’s author (and not the man responsible for having the Queen fling herself out of a helicopter in the company of James Bond). Frank is a very educated and intelligent man, and more than a credit to his team.

There have also been a few musicians this year, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what they know.

And then you tend to be equally surprised by how little some others know. But as Jeremy Paxman says, they did not have to do this.

My feeling is that more women would make for better teams. And more authors, preferably children’s authors. I can provide a list of suggestions, should the BBC require help.

NCIS – Double Down

And then we all cried a little.

That’s the thing about Christmas episodes. They are likely to be sadder – in a good way – and generally likelier to have its temporary characters survive. But you obviously can’t be certain.

I was sure that there was going to be bonding going on, and how right I was. You start by loathing someone and end up admiring them. The interesting thing is that even when you know to expect a slightly clichéd story, you can still enjoy it.

Palmer and Abby

This was one of the better Christmas stories, after the baby born in the petrol station. And it was about loving your children, and sometimes love in the other direction too. McGee has to learn that his babies will not hate him for having worked their first Christmas. Palmer’s father-in-law has already discovered what it’s like at NCIS at Christmas, so shouldn’t be a problem. (Script-writers take note.)

Torres and Sloane went to Afghanistan; with Sloane seemingly having an agenda (I wasn’t clear on what she dug up), and Torres having no objection to shooting spiders. That was one well used film location, btw. I know it almost as well as I do my own neighbourhood.

NCIS

People seemed to recover pretty quickly from bumps on the head and being shot. It’s the Christmas effect.

With a couple of exceptions, it ended well for most. And it was a great exercise in honouring the military. You can always find good use for a hanky under these circumstances. When they played The Little Drummer Boy towards the close, it made my hair stand on end.

(Photos © CBS)

75 years of Sir Billy

What can I say? There is a lot of stuff about Billy Connolly wherever you look. I started reading his Wikipedia page and it seemed to go on, if not forever, then for quite some time.

There’s obviously even more in his wife Pamela’s book about him. It’s one of the best biographies I’ve read. It would have been interesting even if I’d never heard of Billy.

Although, it’s difficult not to have heard of Billy. He’s done so much and for so long. And what’s amazing is that he turned out so decent, after all that happened to him during his childhood.

Since his health problems in recent years, there’s been fewer opportunities to see Billy. I reckon my last ‘encounter’ was in the film What We Did On Our Holiday, where he died in the most dignified manner.

What we did on our holidays

What to say?

Happy 75th Birthday, Sir William!

NCIS – Ready or Not

Babies, bullets and bombs; they all have to come out. Somehow.

OK, I thought I’d have no more NCIS posts until I’d found something else to waffle on about, but after last week’s weird episode, here we had a perfect Thanksgiving. A bit of crime, a bit of family.

Bishop and Gibbs

They were probably asking themselves how they could avoid a Christmas baby. Or how to manage a Thanksgiving baby instead. The answer to both is make it twins and it/they will be born early. Easy.

So the babies had to be born. And they had to avoid giving them really stupid names. That’s the problem with geeks like McGee and Delilah. But that nice man had a purpose. Well, he had two, and he performed them well. But remind me never to give birth assisted by Abby. (Unlikely at my age. But you never know.)

Delilah and Abby

Bullets. Yes. It hurts when they come out. Or so I understand. Nothing John Wayne about it. And that girl; I saw what she did.

Bombs. How could they send two such twits together, to deal with a potential bomb situation? Torres, and the man from MI6 who actually buys his cranberry sauce. Not even I do that.

But all’s well that ends well.