Tag Archives: David McCallum

Almost forgetting

I’ve done that summery thing and watched old episodes of NCIS every now and then. Somehow it gets boring when all current shows come to an end every May, and there’s only so much Good Wife-watching a witch can do in one fell swoop.

I’ve been quite lucky, remembering the odd old episode that I’ve barely, if ever, watched a second or third time. This week I misremembered which episode I was after, meaning I got to watch both of them, and both were great, especially for not being worn out.

And then, as I was seeing the credits flash by, I suddenly remembered Quinn. It’s amazing how both season 14 and Jennifer Esposito had totally slipped from my memory.

I need some more oldies. And it seems as if the later episodes of most seasons are the least likely to have been watched too much. Take season 12, episode 21. It was one I was reluctant to return to for various reasons, but when I did, I discovered it was virtually perfect!

NCIS/NCIS: Los Angeles – Uncaged, Something Blue, Unleashed, Rendezvous

So. I’ve not written much here about either of the NCISs. The last bit of attention they got was when they both had a seriously good episode back in the winter. Since then I’ve restrained myself from moaning about the state of things.

And when both NCIS and LA managed to offer up pretty strong 23rd episodes I didn’t know what to expect of the season finales. What we got was weak; clichéd as far as LA was concerned, and slightly lowkey for NCIS, apart from the last five minutes. Perhaps it sensed me wondering whether they were about to leave us for the summer with nothing more than an ‘ordinary’ episode.

Seems we are to worry about the father-to-be for the next four months. The man who fainted last week, is now risking his life in South America. Oh well, I suppose Delilah can hold off giving birth until September, if that’s what it takes. Or are we to have more team sacrifices?

I didn’t like seeing Mrs Hanna taken hostage last week, but when I worked out where we were heading, there was no avoiding the admiration that they dared, yet again. Although, we are back to my old complaint that it’s the women who go and the men who stay.

And then we had Sam Hanna ‘going rogue,’ which is something we have come to depend on too much. Macho is all very well, but some common sense would be refreshing. DiNozzo was able to hold back when they cornered Trent Kort a year ago. There is more to life than revenge. I’d have liked to see Sam act differently. If they’d let him, there could have been a final episode with feeling instead of what we got.

All in all, LA was better this year than NCIS. The latter offered two good episodes out of 24. The biggest disappointment with LA was the end, plus the fact that so much of the action hinged on individual team members lives. What about the general public, or plain unbiased crooks?

A year ago a fellow LA fan voiced her concern that the show wouldn’t be renewed. That risk looks greater now, because they tied things up fairly neatly. No cliffhangers. Granger is gone and Hetty is feeling her age. And we have two couples in the small team.

As for NCIS, I don’t see how they can survive without Gibbs, but he could do with retiring along with Hetty. The way we left our heroes this week, Gibbs could be killed. But that would be the end of NCIS. I’d rather have left off after episode 23, when we had a ship-based crime, plenty of humour and a happy ending.

NCIS

NCIS – Keep Going

Wow. They really can do it if they try. Was this week’s NCIS a happy accident, or have they been listening? Or, perish the thought, had they kept a little something extra good up their sleeves in case the world needed cheering up?

I’ve been watching some old episodes this week, so feel quite confident in stating that Keep Going would have fitted in well in almost any of the older seasons. The middle ones. Some of the flashbacks coincidentally were from the episodes I watched. Weird.

Gibbs, Torres, Palmer and Ryan

So, first they actually wrote a good script. Then they directed it extremely well. They let Palmer be the main character, with Torres the only newbie there for him. And there was admirably little to be seen of Quinn. Gibbs behaved just as you’d expect him to, which means that he was back to old, normal Gibbs. The kind of Gibbs you don’t think about, because he just is.

Abby was given more time than of late, which is what we want. There was more life to McGee, and Ducky was Duckier than ever. Bishop was OK, and did I mention that Quinn didn’t get enough of an opportunity to annoy?

The vertigo was more than real. I almost fell off my armchair watching the street down below. Palmer was scared and not abnormally brave standing on that ledge, working hard to persuade the suicidal young man not to jump. He gave so much of himself. The flashbacks were clever, in that we both got to see snippets from the good old days of NCIS, but they also fitted in with the story, which isn’t always the case.

So it was feelgood on two fronts; story with wow factor, and revisiting the past. You could tell the end was coming, but it was no worse for being obvious.

(Photo © CBS)

NCIS – Willoughby

So, they could have killed Quinn.

Instead they had to go and ‘write out’ someone else from the show. Was it the viewers not wanting anything muslim-friendly that did it? I had even been watching Willoughby thinking it wasn’t bad. For season fourteen, I mean. It had things to recommend it.

And the end; not even a ‘to be continued.’ Although it feels as if this is another bad guy who has to be chased through a few episodes before they get him.

Strangely enough, while missing this episode for over a week, for various reasons, I’d been thinking back to season three, the first episode, and how I cursed myself for arranging to host a dinner party that night. I recorded NCIS and then couldn’t sleep, so got up really early the next morning and more or less cried my way through it. Then watched it again, crying almost as much, and it wasn’t until I woke Daughter and watched it for the third time with her, that I was almost back to normal.

Whereas this time I didn’t mind the wait from the week before the week before Christmas. They need to bring some of that sense of expectation back. I believe NCIS can be rescued, despite DiNozzo’s departure. As long as someone does something about Quinn.

NCIS – Pay to Play

Really? They flipped their episodes round? You can’t introduce the team to Clayton Reeves now, when Torres was talking to him two weeks ago.

The episode before last was the very worst I’ve seen, and that’s saying a lot. What were they thinking? Quinn fantasising about Gibbs, and him letting her?

But we all make mistakes, and the Thanksgiving episode was pretty good. Not old good, but passably good. They seem to feel that Bishop should do her relationships in the Thanksgiving episodes. That’s three years in a row, if I’m not mistaken. I liked her brothers, and they had the best line at the end.

Made the mistake (see, told you!) of checking what people on Facebook thought. Basically that if they are going to be muslim friendly on NCIS, they will stop watching. So that’s reassuring to know. And it appears the new British Prime Minister is a fan.

And then this week we’re back to crap again. Except, if they made the programmes in the opposite order, there is still hope for the post-Thanksgiving one, yet to come. A date for Vance? Well, maybe it’s time. I almost hoped he’d opt for the night security detail.

There is still time to sort this show out! But the scriptwriters need to sharpen their wits and the directing needs to be better. And perhaps if Mark Harmon showed a bit of interest…

NCIS – Bête Noire

I’ve been relaxing with some top-notch season one NCIS. Well, someone has to!

Having previously complimented them on the line ‘I can’t wait to weigh your liver’ there is no reason to mention it again, except I just did, and for the reason that it’s a terrific line. They might not have fully worked out where NCIS was going back then, but they knew how to get there. It’s for stuff like liver-weighing lines and the plot of Bête Noire in general that the early fans were quite so fervent.

I can’t stop being fervent even now, but only as regards the older seasons.

And if part of the reason for writing Bête Noire was to get rid of Gerald, he certainly got a good start to his send-off, without having to be killed. At least, I’ve heard there was someone they couldn’t wait to write out, and Pancho Demmings is the only one who fits the bill. Shame, as I liked him (but clearly slackers can’t be tolerated), but then he was replaced by Palmer, and we like Palmer.

Gerald and Ducky

The plot is very good. The writing and the acting likewise. Kate has warmed up as an agent, and how perfect her love affair with Ari would have been had they both not, well… you know. Gibbs talks about ‘his people’ which is only slightly clichéd. Abby gets to be weird, but she has to do that every now and then. And several of the recurring agents like Paula Cassidy and Pacci have cameos.

Not only are they beginning to show Gerald the door, but for Ari the door opens a little. Enough to invite him back in later. He’s crazy and violent, but in a nicely restrained and almost British way. The type who ‘gets’ steam trains and old cars.

Can’t help but wonder if Gibbs would have got on better with him had Kate not been in the middle.

But we know how that ended.

What’s worse, we now know what they are like today. As Son said recently, when he’d finally caught up with season 14, he wondered if they are ‘taking the piss’ and he has no interest in getting to know the new people. He’s lasted this long, but I agree; it’s not new people we don’t like. It’s having these particular new ones thrust at us in one fell swoop.

So, taking a leaf out of Gerald’s departure, maybe someone could be swiftly despatched elsewhere. No need to kill them.

(Photos © CBS)

How to introduce new NCIS team members

The most disappointing thing about the lack of a new NCIS episode this week was how little disappointment I felt. Where once I would have waited for a new episode with baited breath, and would have been quite upset at a delay (I’m guessing we might have to miss next week too, for some reason…), I barely minded. All I felt was that I had expected to watch something that evening, and I had a slot to fill.

So I watched Silver War, episode four from season three. It’s where Ziva becomes the new member of Gibbs’s team. We’ve already met her, but this is when she starts work.

Ziva

Silver War was never a popular episode with me, so I’ve watched it less than many other episodes. But hindsight is a beautiful thing, and it was amazing how great I thought it was. Well written, and reasonably well acted. It has a lot of little sub plots, which give it some depth. And whatever you thought of Ziva, she was well introduced. She behaved like a creditable addition to the team, albeit a foreign newbie. No particular hang-ups that disturb the pace, and the viewer isn’t left wondering what on earth possessed them to create Ziva, or to hire Cote de Pablo to play her.

NCIS was still having to prove itself back then. Presumably that’s why they took care in choosing a replacement for Kate. They needed to persuade fans that this was good.

It’s a pity they forgot this. I’m almost tempted to say we need Donald Bellisario back.

I love the way DiNozzo comes into work to attend to his morning ablutions. Jenny Shepard’s reaction to Gibbs giving her his coffee. The involuntary ‘bath’ for McGee and Ziva. The latter’s dangerous driving. The way Ducky actually doesn’t remember the beautiful doctor, or falls into her trap.

Abby © CBS

OK, there were inconsistencies. Clearly DiNozzo Sr has never been into Civil War Reenactment, but it fitted the plot, so he was. Abby has been given orders to dress properly. She is devastated, but recovers unusually quickly after that. And you knew from the fact that Gibbs handed Ziva her weapons back that they’d be needed.

But, looked at from the height of season 14, this was one fabulous episode. The way things are going, I’ll be sticking to season three.

(Photos © CBS)