Saturday, September 27, 2014

NCIS New Orleans stuck in the swamp?

Title: NCIS New Orleans  Movie or TV
Starring: Scott BakulaZoe McLellan, Lucas Black,
Category: TV Drama

How do you process a Scott Bakula TV role? Easy, think of it as an extended Quantum Leap episode. Dr Sam Beckett doing what he can to trigger another leap. Try it. Chuck's Dad. Paranoid with a scientific knowledge beyond his peers. Sounds like Sam Beckett. Captain Archer of the Enterprise. Leader who is able to face uncertain situations with a strong sense of direction and convictions. Sam Beckett falling back on his principles in unfamiliar situations. Mr. Smith from Mr and Mrs Smith. Suave and debonair star in a corporate spy agency (aka defense contractor). Sam Beckett turning on the charisma while thinking fast on his feet. And so and so forth.
I have never been a big fan of NCIS. Too much Mark Harmon almost-smirks.Tried NCIS Los Angeles, which was closer to any other cop show. So much so, it didn't fit into the NCIS mould. There is so much running in that show. I get that they want it action-packed and to show off the leads athleticism (and hunky bodies) but when you compare that with NICS, NCIS looks like they are strolling around and taking their time getting anywhere. Finally, I lost interest in NCIS:LA because it was so similar to other cops shows.
Maybe the deal is that with each NCIS show, they break the "NCIS" mould further. They saw how the CSI spin-offs fell. CSI:NY and CSI:Miami was different in tone from CSI Las Vegas but were very much similar in mould. Strong leader? Check. Quirky, goofy technicians? Check. Strong female character with a history but now acting as the anchor to the team.Check. Sexual tension between secondary characters, Check.
Well, with NCIS New Orleans they seem intent on further breaking the "NCIS" mould, making less like the other shows. But they do so in a strange way. NCIS:NO changes the trademark NCIS segment still shots, those black and white still shots at the start and end of each segment. Those are supposed to be dramatic images and capture a pivotal scene or expression. With NCIS New Orleans, those still shots are in color. An arty-filter color shot but still color. And those stills weren't even dramatic, they seem to be only of Scott Bakula. Or Scot Bakula trying to express something. Was it in his contract that every still shot had to have him in it? This trademark characteristic also looks like it's going to be given the boot. By the time the episode is over, they didn't bother to freeze the scene, they just changed the color.
It is too early to pass judgement on the series but the pilot is a misstep. Scott Backula's character, Dwayne Pride it too larger-than-life. Yes, Mark Harmon was too, but it was the first for him. For Scot Bakula, it feels "done this before". We get it that he is a character with a big back-story and deep roots to New Orleans but there simply too much exposition on his character versus the rest. Or there was just simply too much exposition. Any more exposition, they might was well have someone do a narration. The other members of the team hold promise, though. Merri Brody is the smart, sassy newcomer with a mysterious story of how she got transferred to New Orleans. Chris LaSalle is typically Southern (some say a bit too-Southern) gentlemen cop who definitely has eyes for Merri. Dr wade, however, is on the shortlist for replacement. The character is a walking, talking stereotype that can be replaced to shore up the rating in the future.
So Agent Dwayne Pride? Too early to say for sure. But I'd go with Sam Beckett deciding to live away from the wife so that she doesn't find out who he is and using his strong moral compass to right the wrongs in his world, while waiting for that next leap.

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