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Years: 2009, 2010
Genre: TV series, Crime, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell, Linda Hunt, Peter Cambor, Daniela Rush, Adam Jamal Craig, Barrett Foa
Guests on crossover episodes: Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Rocky Carroll, David McCallum
Creator: Shane Brennan
Run time: 17 hours, 25 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Related reviews: NCIS Season Seven
NCIS: LA is pretty much, for me, the dictionary definition of “guilty pleasure”. I know it’s awful. I know it’s not even as good as the original NCIS, which I don’t really like. And yet I enjoy it. I watched the first disc. There were two crossover episodes with the original NCIS, then the first two episodes of this show. I was hooked. I watched the second disc, all four episodes. I had to stop. I had eleven more movies and TV shows to review this week, and I was never going to get around to MacGruber and The Guardian if I watched all seventeen hours of NCIS: LA. And yet, I had momentum. And I couldn’t stop myself from inserting the third disc and watching that as well. Dog Pound and Stardust can wait!
The thing is – I get it. NCIS: LA is absolutely, in every frame, a totally slick, glossy, stylish TV show with no substance. Every character is a caricature. The buddy-cops, LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell, who are always joshing around with each other and taking the piss. One is a tough-guy badass (LL) who is constantly threatening the other with empty jokes. “Does the house have a pool?” “If it does, I’m gonna drown you in it.” He never follows through with any of this badassery, however. The other guy is a poor, unfortunate orphan who has never been loved and has learned to mask his pain with a carefree ne’er-do-well attitude. Nothing bothers Chris O’Donnell! He’s having a blast at life!
There’s the greenhorn rookie who is a crazy genius that knows everything but still tries so hard to fit in! He so desperately wants to be one of the guys! There’s the tiny little woman (a terrific Linda Hunt) who runs the whole office with an iron fist. She’s always giving the guys a hard time about their expense accounts! Then there’s the smoking hot chick (Daniela Rush and oh my, is she ever hot) who is obviously a forensics expert! Then there’s the nerd-surfer and the socially awkward staff psychologist. See, HE always tells them how SCREWED UP they all are.
This show is SO formulaic it’s almost a tribute to all TV shows that have come before. It’s SO cartoonish it may as well star Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. The thing is, I really, really like watching it. The actors are all good. CSI: Miami is a spinoff show that does all of this slick formula the wrong way, mostly because I find David Caruso to be unwatchable. But I like LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell and their chemistry so much that I can’t stop watching it. Disc Three finished just as I stopped typing this review. I might now put on Stardust so I can review that Blu-Ray movie this week. But then…I might never get to it at all!