Pilot Preview: NCIS: Los Angeles

Like NCIS, but set in LA. Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

(This is the only video I can find and it’s not great – it’s surprisingly hard to find trailers that aren’t region restricted)

One of only two franchise additions this season (the other being Stargate Universe), NCIS:Los Angeles is actually a spin-off of a spin-off. NCIS:LA follows six years of NCIS, which in turn followed eight years of JAG; over 350 episodes pre-date this new series!

And that right there is a problem, what on earth can they do to make this something new? If the three pilot episodes (a two part ‘special’ embedded in last season’s NCIS and the first real episode of the series) are anything to go by, plot wise there’s not much new here. There’s more of a focus on undercover work and cool spy technology, but it will almost certainly follow a similar case of the week format, which will be almost entirely forgettable.

What NCIS:LA does have is an extremely talented and charismatic cast. Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J are the buddy cop duo and they work really well together. O’Donnell’s character is a slightly hyperactive undercover expert, Cool J (Mr J?) is a former navy SEAL who is the calm voice of reason. Both have what could be mysterious pasts, but actually they reveal quite a lot pretty quickly. They’re both interesting independently, and together they’re fascinating. The supporting cast also has a lot of potential with some pretty quirky characters. The only thing missing is a strong leader for the group, sadly they seem to have dropped Louise Lombard’s character who appeared in the NCIS crossover episodes and I thought worked well with the team.

With the names behind this show, I can’t see how it can fail. It’s got the budget, a gorgeous set and the pedigree to guarantee ratings success. There’s nothing new about the stories or concept, but that’s not what I’ve watched six seasons of NCIS for. I watch for the characters and their dialogue, the actors and their chemistry and it seems to me that I’ll enjoy NCIS:Los Angeles for the same reasons.

Links: Official Site, imdb, TV.com

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