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The Telefile
<I>NCIS: Los Angeles</I>: I Guess I Just Don’t Get It The ridiculously popular NCIS has officially spun off into SoCal, with, really, a brilliantly guilty pleasure-tastic cast. LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell are buddy cops who investigate crimes committed against military personnel, and the principal from Kindergarten Cop is their boss. Fair enough. I like all those people, and generally think they're fun to watch running around doing important things, but I feel the same way about Mark Harmon. Doesn't mean I watch NCIS every week.

The thing I don't get about both NCIS: Los Angeles and its predecessor is what is supposed to be appealing about the writing, other than the fact that it's very easy to grasp, particularly while not paying very close attention to the show. I thought the same thing while watching the pilot of this new show that I always do whenever I watch the OG NCIS -- "This is enjoyable, but predictable and formulaic and I should really be devoting my precious TV watching time to something better -- or something overtly awful, like Rock of Love."

Neither show is categorically bad by any means, but it's the mediocrity of them that just isn't exciting. I get the appeal of a show that you can just leave on and absent-mindedly watch, I suppose, and God knows I understand the appeal of Mark Harmon. It's just that you can't expect me to get excited about anything that happened in last night's Los Angeles premiere. Of course the dead officer was just trying to protect his niece, of course the mother of the girl was hiding something, of course her weird dad was the one who kidnapped her, etc, etc. You people are solving a crime, here. On television. There's supposed to be some mystery, or you're just doing it wrong, and anyone who's ever watched any TV whatsoever in their lives before saw every one of these plot developments coming a mile away.

Still, though, very happy to see Chris O'Donnell back, as well as the adorable and very talented husband from Notes from the Underbelly working again. Like the original NCIS, I'll happily watch a few episodes on long plane rides (Virgin America gets USA, or "The NCIS Rerun Network," as some refer to it) after my laptop's battery dies, but every week until the day either I or this franchise dies, I'm still going to be baffled by each show's regular 18 million+ viewers.

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