NCIS — the most-watched scripted drama on network television — has become a cultural phenomenon boasting viewers spanning the globe. With millions tuning in weekly, the series has surpassed the like of M*A*S*H (11 seasons) and Cheers (11 seasons), while slowly encroaching upon the crown jewel that is Law and Order, for season 17 of NCIS is right around the corner.
At the rate it’s going, NCIS may never end. Unless, of course, Mark Harmon retires, for no one can replace the legendary man (of few words) behind Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. While its ratings may continue to prove worthy of renewal – despite consistent drops in the one million range with each passing season — not all fans are confident in what’s to come this September.
If you take to the internet and browse through the dangerous territory that is a comments’ space or read a few posts on various forums, you will realize that fans have a few central reservations concerning the upcoming season. Many feel it may be time for the writers and actors to quit while they are ahead. So, what’s the problem?
1) The writing (narrative and character relationships) in ‘NCIS’ has gradually declined
Many NCIS fans have concerns about season 17, as they feel the writing has gradually gotten worse; weak narratives and unfounded plot points have surfaced more frequently in the last few seasons. One fan argued:
I have mixed feelings about this renewal – on one hand, I guess it’s good that the story continues; on the other hand, the writing hasn’t been the best. The last couple of episodes were improvements. The occasional hints at romantic sparks between Torres and Bishop still grate since there’s no chemistry between the actors. It’s also always bothered me that the Bishop character’s original quirky data analyst personality was jettisoned after her first season – that was a lost opportunity for story lines imho, or at least an expertise that would have brought some depth to the character
Others chimed in to support the argument mentioned above, agreeing that the writing has grown cheap, and the characterizations (especially of some of the newer additions) have fallen flat.
Many fans worry that Bishop and Torres will finally seal the deal, and argue that this is the last plotline the show needs, as it feels utterly out of place when accounting for their divergent personalities. One fan stated:
They definitely need to end the stupid sexual tension. Bishop is way too wishy-washy for any sort of relationship and Torres is self-centered and about as deep as a mud puddle. His best relationship would be with a mirror.
The above statement illustrates the sense of laziness many feel has come over the writers, as they pull at narrative arcs and interrelationships that, they themselves, have not provided the foundation for.
2) Bishop was a missed opportunity; fans wonder where her character will go from here in season 17
Most fans agree that Bishop, in particular, has been painted quite poorly, and they worry that her character will continue to feel inconsequential and “off.” Speaking about Bishop, one NCIS enthusiast noted:
They had the makings of doing something ‘different’ with her, in that she was closer to McGee and Abby on the spectrum, than Kate or Ziva.
Plus, the fact that she was already in a stable marriage really stood out from her peers. Getting rid of those aspects didn’t enhance the character a wit, which makes one wonder why they were there in the first place.
Though Bishop has been at the center of a contentious debate for quite some time, Cote de Pablo’s return has proven to be the more divisive factor as of late.
3) Fans worry that Cote de Pablo’s return as Ziva will destroy the progress ‘NCIS’ was just beginning to make
While many fans are happy to see Cote de Pablo return to NCIS as Ziva, others argue that it’s a destined-to-fail gimmick to lure back some since-departed viewers. Meaning, her storyline may become overly consequential, just as the series was beginning to work without her. One NCIS fan stated:
I like Ziva a lot. But I feel like the show, in season 16, was finally hitting its stride without her. The chemistry on the show was finally good, the writing had improved, things were getting going again. The show really, really doesn’t need Ziva to come back right now right when it’s hitting its stride again.
Many NCIS fans feel that, though the writing has been a bit poor as of late, it was starting to improve right before Cote de Pablo returned. Thus, fans worry that de Pablo’s return will catalyze too much change, and send the writing spiraling back down.
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