I’ve been a little ill recently and have been watching a lot of NCIS. When I was off work last week my days consisted of alternating between sleep and NCIS. NCIS is an American police procedural about a group of federal agents belonging to the titular organisation. It should be noted that it might not be the best show to watch whilst ill. Normally the dead bodies in a show like this don’t bother me. However when feeling a little sick you don’t want to see the corpses – even if you know they are fake – obviously. This was particularly true in the episode ‘The Meat Puzzle‘ where I had to cover the bottom of my screen.

I first watched NCIS back in 2013, discovering it through its parent series JAG, and lost track of it, before buying seasons 1-8 a couple of months back.

This style of program is rather formulaic but still enjoyable. Like Bones you have the investigators and the scientists. They all work together to solve the case. Unlike Bones its not driven, or not as driven, by a ‘will they/won’t relationship. There is nothing exactly wrong with that but it has become something of a cliche – indeed it was the driving force behind JAG.

What I like about NCIS is that they manage to keep the stories fresh. It is all too easy for this type of show to fall into the same story every episode. With this show I’ve found the stories to be nicely varied.

There will always be cliches though. The characters can be a little cinched but still enjoyable to watch.

Abby: The quirky, adokable, forensic scientist with a farting hippo.
Gibbs: The no-nonsense boss.
DiNozzo: The one who is rather silly.

I warn you though if you watch a lot of NCIS you may get the urge to start slapping people on the back of the head. I’m sure you have a candidate for that in your life.

Sometimes I get a little lost in the stories. Maybe my brain is in capable of keeping all the names straight in my head or maybe it’s just that I’m trying to figure out where I’ve seen an actor before. Actually that happens with most things I watch. And as I watch a lot of science fiction the last time I saw a specific actor they might have been a Cardassian.

Episodes of NCIS sometimes end without a wrap up. In other series there is usually a coda of sorts. This usually consists of seeing the perpetrator arrested, or shot depending on the story, and sometimes a character moment before the end credits. This is not always so in NCIS. Sometimes an episode ends suddenly and occasionally its not satisfying.

There are other series that go to the other extreme. In Monk there is always the ‘Here’s what happened…’ moment. Monk narrates the crime, it’s usually murder, and we see exactly how it was done. For someone who may not have the best of attention spans this is a very nice feature.

I look forward to watching more of NCIS and will probably expand into its two spin offs: NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans.

NCIS is well worth checking out. Technically its first episode was the backdoor pilot of ‘Ice Queen’ and ‘Meltdown‘ but stating with the first proper episode: ‘Yankee White‘ would be just as good.

What are you watching at the moment?

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