Movies/TV

NCIS: New Orleans First Impressions Review


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Wait, I’m not ready. (Leaves for a few minutes) Okay, I’ve got my Louis Armstrong playing, I’ve eaten some Crawfish Monica, taken a ride on the street cars, purchased my tickets for Jazz Fest, and had a long discussion with Tigers fans about why Nick Saban is evil. All right, now we can talk about NCIS: New Orleans.

If you can’t tell based on that opening, one of my biggest complaints about this right from the start is that New Orleans is basically treated like its own stereotype in this series. NCIS has been known for broad archetypal characters anyway, but this series in particular starts off reinforcing what everyone else in the United States thinks of when they think New Orleans. Between the two part pilot during the last season of NCIS and the show’s actual pilot, they managed to include a Jazz funeral, a coroner who plays jazz at work, several Bourbon Street parties, lunch or dinner always being Cajun food, and the murder of a Navy sailor who’s father is a jazz musician. I don’t mind having local color in a show, but when everything about your show seems to revolve around the location, instead of the characters or plot, you’re going to bore me really quickly.

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And that problem is apparent through both the backdoor pilot during NCIS and the show’s first episode. All of these characters are types. Agent Brodie is just the typical awkward, female badass with a gun. CCH Pounder is a good actress, but her character has little to no definition to it, which just makes me doubly mad that she’s doing this instead of playing Amanda Waller on Arrow. Lucas Black, who people might know as that kid from Slingblade or the one white guy from Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (I will always know him as the dumbass called Jeep in Legion), is basically just playing Lucas Black again. So, if you like Lucas Black, then good for you. There’s a lot of Lucas Black being Lucas Black.

The one big thing that saves this from being completely generic and unwatchable is Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne “The King” Pride. This is not just because Scott Bakula has more charisma and charm than anyone else in the cast. It’s because he’s the only one playing an actual character so far. He has dimensions to him; he has hopes and desires, and problems at home with an actual living person instead of a dead wife or a forgotten past (getting sick of those clichés). If they do more with Scott Bakula and try to develop the other characters a bit, then the show might actually be worth watching occasionally. If not, it’s going to fall into the same pit as CSI and its various spinoffs (including the upcoming CSI: Cyber which I don’t understand). The only glimmer of hope on that front so far is the potential for a war between Bakula and the corrupt (I know, corrupt politicians in a show about New Orleans; shocker) and morally shady city councilman played by Steven Weber. Weber appears to be a good actor so far, so I’m trying not to hold it against him that he was the lead in the Stephen King TV miniseries remake of The Shining.

NCIS: New Orleans

It’s hard to really hate this show, as much as I want to, because it’s just too generic and mediocre to hate. The cast isn’t bad. They’re just playing types. Scott Bakula’s good, and they’ve set up some good character stuff for him, but if they don’t find something interesting for him to do, the series is doomed to boring mediocrity. It’s nice seeing New Orleans, but I would like a story that actually focuses on New Orleans and the people who live there and not a boring cop show that uses a fascinating city as window dressing. So, based on the pilot, it’s pretty generic. Might get better, but I’m uncertain if I want to keep watching it.

NCIS: New Orleans First Impressions Review

Final Thoughts

NCIS: New Orleans is just as generic and boring plot and character wise as every other NCIS show so far. All of the actors except Scott Bakula, who adds some much needed charm and charisma to his role, are just playing types or are just too boring to care. Seeing New Orleans is nice, but its just window dressing and the city itself is treated as much like a stereotype as the cast. If you like NCIS, then fine; it's worth watching. If not, this will bore you to tears.

Overall Score 2

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