Thursday, January 21, 2010

NCIS at its best

I just found my favorite NCIS episode, called "Call of Silence", on Netflix. This old man (Charles Durning) goes to NCIS headquarters and tells Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) that many years ago he killed a Marine with his gun.

I won't give up the ending, but the episode is suspenseful, and the ending is poignant.

"Call of Silence" is episode seven of season two.

I had been getting a bit tired of the Canadian TV show Murdoch Mysteries when I watched the episode called The Accident yesterday. That changed everything.

The episode featured David Hewlett, who played Rodney McKay years ago on Stargate Atlantis. Hewlett had played this character before on Murdoch, and I recognized that after a few minutes.

The episode was a bit convoluted, and I won't try to explain it here. Let's just say that Hewlett's character grew on all of the other characters while he was in mortal danger. You want him to live so badly -- you can't avoid feeling that -- but, alas, he dies at the end.

That character and the people around him lived a seeming lifetime in a few minutes. The others grew to love him in just minutes, and people, especially one woman, were crying for him at the end. I was, too.

I'm a little ticked. Acorn has taken Lovejoy out of its lineup. I only watched the show now and then, but it was one of the shows I wanted to watch when we signed up for Acorn again.

I just watched the sixth season of Downton Abbey and then saw a few episodes of Lovejoy. I'd never noticed it before, but Mrs. Hughes on Downton and Lady Jane on Lovejoy were the same actress, Phyllis Logan.

The two shows couldn't be more different, but I like them both. I found the last season of Downton in the local library system, and Lovejoy is on Acorn TV.

Yesterday, I watched an episode of Pie in the Sky, and I immediately recognized Phyllis Logan, playing an unfriendly cop who was trying to undermine our hero Henry and his boss Freddy. It was strange to see her in such a role.

For awhile, we had the Netflix, Hulu Plus, Sling, Acorn and Warner TV streaming services, but we've dropped Hulu Plus, Sling and Warner. I suspect we'll get Sling back before football starts up in the fall.

My wife and I recently tried Warner Archives, and we found two TV shows we liked.

Holly quickly went through a sort of spy series called Search, featuring Hugh O'Brian, Doug McClure and Tony Franciosa as the spies and Burgess Meredith as their control. I watched a few episodes -- it was OK -- but she loved it.

I fell for Harry O, a show I'd watched as a young man. It featured the late David Janssen (The Fugitive) as former cop Harry Orwell, who had to give up copping because he'd been shot. Now he was a slightly unrealistic private detective (those beautiful young women would NOT have fallen head-over-heels for Harry). Holly thought it was OK, and I really liked it.

We're not watching Warner Archives anymore, but that's OK. There's lots of other stuff to watch.


I recently watched an episode of Murdoch Mysteries that bothered me. It was similar to the movie Weekend at Bernie's, and it was easily the worst episode of Murdoch ever; in my opinion. I had to struggle to finish it.

I hate that a lot of episodes of Poirot have left Acorn and Netflix, but I'm happy that Pie in the Sky is coming soon. Pie was one of my favorite shows a few years ago.

I just found the most recent season of Murdoch Mysteries on Acorn TV, and in one episode William Shatner played Mark Twain.

Shatner looked nothing like Twain (more like Teddy Roosevelt with a huge mustache), but the acting amazed me. He's famous for overacting, but his work as Mark Twain was subtle and nuanced.

I was impressed (although I wonder if Twain was really that subtle).

We recently signed up for Acorn TV, and I've already watched more than a season (No. 8) of Murdoch. I've also watched some Lovejoy, every season of Agatha Christie's Marple and a few other things.

My wife Holly and I watched Second Chance's pilot last night on Hulu Plus and enjoyed it. It's about an old man who is "killed" and revived as a strong, healthy 35-year-old. His son is the guy (Tim DeKay) who played Peter on White Collar, and he's been typecast as an FBI agent.

It has a touch of Frankenstein, The Six-Million-Dollar Man, Forever and a few other movies or TV shows in it. I've watched the first few shows.

I have to say that CSI drove me crazy. I just watched the finale last night, and the show continued to bother me.

Hey, CSU people DO NOT carry guns. They don't interview people. They're not cops. They're simply forensic scientists.

But if they did that, they wouldn't have had a show.

But it STILL drove me crazy.

On the other hand, it was good to see William Peterson again.

The last several months, I've been watching a lot of British TV shows, from Downton Abbey to The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries to Campion (which I watched tonight). I've also watched every episode of A Touch of Frost, Pie in the Sky and Foyle's War, and I've enjoyed nearly every episode.

I've tried a few other British shows, and I like the slower pace. The updated Sherlock doesn't appeal to me as much as the ones featuring Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone.

I've been through several TV shows since my NCIS kick (see below). I went through periods with The West Wing, Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, Stargate Atlantis and Star Trek Voyager (I just finished the last show of Voyager last week, probably for the third time).

Right now, I'm probably on a Combat! kick, although I don't watch it that regularly. It's on at 3 a.m. on ME-TV, and I can see it occasionally on a Netflix DVD (I watched one of those DVDs last night).

I wonder what my next TV kick will be. Maybe the Rockford Files.

I've watched few television shows religiously over the years. When I was a kid, I watched Bonanza and The Virginian every week. Then came Star Trek, and I became a follower.

Years later, I was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and they put Northern Exposure on opposite it. I actually bought a second VCR, set one to tape ST:TNG and the other to tape NE.

I hooked the cable to one VCR, hooked that VCR to the other one, then hooked that one to the TV. People told me it wouldn't work, but I got both shows at the same time.

I watched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise often enough, but I rarely taped them. Not as compelling as the previous Star Treks (not totally true, since I watch a lot of Voyager reruns nowadays).

For awhile, I rarely had a conundrum. I just watched NCIS when it was on. It's interesting as the show changes, one rerun hour to the next. One show will be without McGee; the next he'll be there. One show will have Caitlyn; the other one Ziva David.

Dinozzo's BS grew tiresome, so I'm glad it's been toned down. I can identify a bit with McGee, but my favorite characters are Abby and Ducky. I remember David McCallum from my youth, when he played on The Man From UNCLE.

Don't worry, though; I'll soon find something else to watch. Maybe The Mentalist or Murdoch Mysteries.

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