We Recommend: NCIS
It’s hard to believe there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen NCIS (or NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service or Navy NCIS depending upon the year, the decisions and the whim of the network) but just in case we at The Digital Fix implore you to sit down in front of FX this coming Friday 13th January at 9 PM and watch episode one of the latest season - number nine - announced shortly after achieving show best ratings and being voted America's favourite television show.
A spin-off from JAG, NCIS follows Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ team as they investigate and solve any and every crime linked in part or in completeness to the US Navy. Fundamentally it can be thought of as a military CSI but manages to avoid many of the pitfalls each of the three forensic shows fall into whilst also combining everything Las Vegas, Miami and New York provide into the one, now superior (arguable - CSI, after another evolution ahead of and continuing throughout its 12th series, is showing signs of becoming stronger than ever; that is a discussion for another day) show.
Gibbs is very much the inspiring leader and one many would aspire to emulate (not least Tony DiNozzo in the show!). Think of him as The Gil Grissom if you must but over nine years he has become a fully-rounded individual and one of the finest characters in modern television. The aforementioned DiNozzo is the funny man, the ladies man and the great investigator all in one. His straight man is McGee, a massively intelligent chap who somehow is field rated and also does the job for love given his lucrative second life as a published author. Ziva is the Mossad trained fish out of water and Abby the slightly freaky, portrayed as geeky, science officer who is pretty much better than the entire US crime lab all on her own. We musn’t forget the lovable British pathologist - Ducky - either, with his inimitable, quaint and evocative style. There are, and have been, others but the core of the show is to be found within this group.
Starting life as very much an episodic show, it’s grown over time in many regards. The actors and characters work brilliantly together ensuring their onscreen personas are perfectly evolved and interact fantastically well together to deliver the laughs, the hearts and the crime-busting in-between to a tee. Recent seasons have provided more arcs throughout, such as season eight’s port to port killer. The show continues to go from strength to strength both in its content quality but also in terms of ratings - hitting a show high of 19.46 million last year in the US. At least until the ninth season, anyway, which blasted through 20 million viewers (by comparison CSI rakes in around 12 million these days versus it’s career high 26). Each year has seen a growth in those watching prompted by the quality delivered from year to year.
Since season eight ended in early Summer 2011 I’ve been waiting for the ninth and looking regularly at the FX website and channel listings. Quite frankly there are few better shows around these days and when looking at US imports, this sits right at the top of the tree along with one or two others. If you haven’t seen it before start now. If you have, then get ready for your latest treat.