Doing a 180 on the Crescent City

NCIS spins off NCIS New Orleans
NCIS (Photo: CBS.com)

Part Two of the NCIS: New Orleans crossover shows that there’s a real need for a showrunner with some style.

Oh man. Big Easy, you big tease… You give me a promising enough glimpse of deep-fried, almost hard-boiled Southern military crime solvin’ in one episode, then what looks like the second unit from the mothership got the run of everything the next.

I’m not turned off to the prospect of NCIS: Crescent City (or whatever they’re going to call it come fall), I’m just a bit bummed. The bits of style, the change of pace,1 the character moments from the first episode – all gone in the second. Having to include two whole casts (McGee, Dinozzo, and Abby all take up screen time instead of really introducing us to their replacements) didn’t help. Having two different directors for the two halves really didn’t help. There’s no soul to the second episode. The investigation feels like everyone is walking through the motions. The scenes could have been shot almost anywhere. I honestly thought they’d switched sets at one point – nope, just a director’s choice2 to color things differently.

The new cast gets roughly three scenes to fly solo, and the first one – an intriguing little exchange in a bar early one morning – was a prime opportunity to put a little style on the camera choices3 and a little warmth back in the exchange between teammates. Instead, it felt first take, get it done, move on. Also, I needed subtitles for half this episode, and it wasn’t the drawl. Someone, somewhere, please get network actors to enunciate.

All right. Enough griping. Backdoor pilots necessarily involve a lot of shoehorning and mixed styles. The new addition of musically-inclined lab tech Wendell Hobbs4 was, again, rushed, but the actor could be fun if he’s not just presented as a trope. Lucas Black’s LEGO obsession is… a thing, but not one that turns me off. CCH Pounder is going to be fun. Y’all can skip the adorable slick-talking moppet of an informant and I’ll be much happier.

NCIS:NOLA (or whatever they’re going to call it come fall) is still in my queue. With the right showrunner, this will be my new CSI:Miami. And I loved CSI:Miami. I would stay up way too late when visiting my parents to watch the post-midnight runs on A&E. So c’mon CBS – add some saturated colors, keep the jazz flowing, style us something different, and much tastier, than you just gave us here. The numbers show everyone’s eating it up – stop with the empty calories.5

  1. Literally – if the spinoff doesn’t get all Southern and laid back, then I’ll be turned off.  
  2. Wrong. Bad. Incorrect choice.  
  3. Okay, there were one or two brief lingers that wouldn’t have happened quite that way on NCIS.  
  4. Great name. Love it.  
  5. And I will, in exchange, cease the tortured metaphors.  

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About Aaron Mucciolo 206 Articles
He does things. That's all we can say at this time. E-mail: mooch@whatelseison.tv