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NCIS has been characterized by strong characters, good plots, and good directing. This IMHO is not the real source of its popularity. NCIS has been so popular because its characters are patriotic and care about honor and integrity. They are front line soldiers working for something greater than themselves. Last season was not a great one, due to a weak character, who has now left the show. There’s only been one episode of the new season, but it was excellent. If the writers are going to expand McGee and Bishop’s roles, that will be great. The writers definitely haven’t lost their touch. If you liked it before, you’ll still like it. Unless the rest of the episodes just collapse (unlikely) I anticipate a very enjoyable season.
Update: Just watched the second episode. Interesting developments in Gibbs’ and McGee’s characters. The story itself was typical for NCIS. Quirky and convoluted. The writers are laying the groundwork for something interesting!
Further update: The show continues to be strong and entertaining. No spoilers here — you’ll have to watch and make up your own mind. There’s lots of speculation that this will be the last season. I can’t know, of course, but I’d rather see the show go out on a high note than deteriorate into second rate repetitious crap, as some shows do.
Further further update: Just watched episode 7. One of the best ever IMNSHO. This is why I enjoy this series so much.
Current update 2/28: Still enjoying show — this may well be the last season, though — Perrette won’t be returning, looks liike McCallum’s fading out. Can’t imagine the show without Abby! The writers still have it, exploring different sides of characters — who would have thought that Bishop would be so attracted to undercover work? Looks like Fornell is fading out of the action, too…..
More current 4/9: Show still at high level — still enjoyable. McGee is now a more forceful character (after Panama — not sure why it took so long). No clues in the plots what will happen, but they usually use the last two shows for that purpose.
4/24– Season has had a couple of weak points (Drew Carey — really?), but overall quality is pretty high. Lots of speculation that Harmon will leave. If that were to happen the show might continue for a season, but the guts would be gone. Also, Perrette’s departure will make continuance more difficult. If Gibbs leaves (or dies), I’m done.
5/9 — (Spoiler Alert) — Abby’s gone — at least they didn’t kill her off. I find myself dissatisfied with the show — she recovered from being shot and an arterial bleeder awfully quickly — and they seem to be building up McGee a bit. I’m not sure whether there are more shows this season — there are usually 24 and this was 22. No matter what they do, the show won’t be the same. If they try for too quirky too fast, they’ll ruin it. If they get a place filler for Abby, it will sink slowly into mediocracy. Abby’s value to the show was that all the other characters played off her. It’s a challenge for the writers and the casting department. We’ll see — one way or the other.
Final Episode — Season over, last episode a cliffhanger but strangely can’t bring myself to care a lot. Not sure what direction writers will take and want to keep open mind. Season was good but lustre is fading.