Posted in: Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on September 2nd, 2012
This Naval Criminal Investigation Service lead by Agent Jethro Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) continue to sift through suspense filled tales of deviance in the military that takes them from all the way from political offices to the streets to battle villains.
Previous seasons of NCIS have been covered on this site, such as this:
therefore I shall let those reviews be browsed for a general sense of what this show is about.
If you’re up to the Ninth season, you very well know how this show is frequently intense but always has the occasional shmear of wacky. This season opens right were the last left off, where an agent of NCIS has been gunned down and a fellow agent is suspected of committing the murder. This particular story weaves together many scenes of suspicion, violence, evil conspiracy and tension. It is hard to imagine this show goes from this level of drama to episodes where the NCIS team encounter a gaggle of wanna-be superheroes as well as a story involving NCIS’ resident goth, a forensic expert who always sports a spiked choker and died hair, finding her long lost brother (the latter story more suited to a goofy sitcom than a military drama). In fact, all throughout this seasons there are moments of high tension matched with goofy gags and appearances by comedy actors like Larry Miller (whom plays the same sort of quick-witted jackass he always plays).
The stories tread familiar territory as far as pacing and action is concerned. I must gripe about the occasionally lazy writing, such as using a super-computer to find a suspect in a case instead of having the characters use actual detective work or thought (work and thought also being the key thing lacking in the writer’s efforts here). The direction also shows signs of laziness as I’m not a huge fan of the way characters tend to gather in semi-circles for discussion and stand unnaturally as if this were a stage production cheating their bodies towards the audience. Perhaps these gripes are not so much laziness but signs of fatigue after 9 seasons. It isn’t all bad of course. There is still enough here for fans of the crime-drama to be interested, but this is falling short of competition like Law and Order (and that show has several offshoots using the identical formula it has for longer than 9 seasons).
Widescreen 16:9. The picture has that Vaseline-esque haze that some TV dramas sport. I would have preferred much more crispiness in the picture quality for a show that is trying to present itself as a slick thriller at many points.
Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo are both available. The score and non-diegetic sounds boom as they roll through all the surrounding speakers. These sounds are decently mixed with the dialogue and diegetic sounds that occur mostly in the front most speakers.
Subtitles available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
In an interesting move, instead of placing all of the special feautures onto the final disc, one is placed onto each of the six discs in this box set (except disc 5 for some reason). Each a chapter looking at the different types of people it takes to create this show.
Nine is Fine: This is a lengthy look at the ninth season that functions as a healthy synopsis for anyone looking to catch up in a hurry since it goes through the entire reoccurring cast, and even a few guests, one by one.
The Finish Line: Here we get a look at people behind the scenes such as camera, special f/x and editing people that strive to complete each episode by their tight deadline (the proverbial “Finish Line”). Not really in-depth but one can appreciate seeing their efforts without immersing ourselves in their stressful situations.
Casting Off: Sort of like the first Features about the cast, except seen from the view of casting director(s) and Producers instead of interviews with the cast themselves (which has already been covered. This is largely designed to pump the tires of the casts’ egos.
Episode Two hundred: Another feature patting itself on the back. Strictly an uber-fan would want to see this teensy bit of reflection from cast and crew.
NCIS Season 9 Cast Roundtable: Another bit of fan service (very literally) as the cast sits around and answers fan-submitted questions.
Psyched Up: Jamie Lee Curtis: A feautre dedicated solely to the enthusiasm cast members and producers had for landing Curtis for s guest role. Nothing too revealing.
There are certain episodes that also come with the option of viewing deleted material once you enter the episode selection menu.
Honestly, I was a little surprised as this show’s longevity. I will give it this, it clearly knows how to make a whopper of a cliffhanger as it was clear to see why fans would be aching for this season to start to resolve the intense season 8 finale, and THIS season ends on an even larger scale “Holy Crap” moment that will surely rock fans more than any previous season has.