Let’s see. We started with J.A.G. And then spun off the current NCIS series that is still running with Mark Harmon. They added NCIS: LA and NCIS: New Orleans. Annnnnd now we have NCIS: Hawaii. I’m sure it was a toss-up between Hawaii and Florida. Magnum P.I., Hawaii Five-O, and now NCIS, I’m sure someone will want to suggest more cross-overs somewhere. Anyway, I digress.
When I did my initial prediction, I said:
NCIS: Hawaii premieres this week on CBS, another outing for the series that started way back with JAG a loooooong time ago. I generally like the premise of the different series, but I don’t watch all of them each week. One is enough for me. I’m happy to see what this one is like — a bit like Hawaii Five-O, I imagine, but I’m not sold on the main actress, Vanessa Lachey. The only thing besides the trailer that I’ve seen her in was a small part in the Fantastic Four, which isn’t making up for a terrible trailer. I’ll give it a maybe for watching, yet vote for likely renewal.
The series premiered, I watched EP01, and I’ll stick with my prediction for renewal. But I really don’t care about the characters.
Vanessa Hachey plays the leader, Jane Tennant. She’s supposed to be no-nonsense, I guess, and their “big scene” of her moment of importance was her kids soccer game being interrupted by a Navy helicopter arriving to pick her up on the soccer field. Completely and utterly ridiculous. This is Hawaii, not Kandahar. That’s not a slam against her acting, it’s a completely different slam. Add in two kids for angst, and well, I don’t care.
She has a young woman on her team, Lucy Tara, played by Yasmine Al-Bustami. Lucy is a “green” agent, not a Probie, but not that seasoned yet. The character is okay, but a bit all over the place playing at playing in a few scenes. Oh, and likely gay if that helps. I don’t know what her role in the series will be, just “young and eager”?
I suggested Lucy was gay because there is a confused scene with Tori Anderson’s character, Kate Whistler, where it’s a “will they / won’t they” romance thing, and nobody in the scene has any idea what they’re doing or where it’s going. Anderson is in two other scenes, and they’re both really annoying scenes. I confess I don’t remember Anderson from KillJoys exactly, but yes to Blindspot, where I thought she was decent. Here? It looked like panic-induced acting?
Alex Tarrant plays Kai, an ex-Marine who has returned home and knows all the locals, but has a complicated family life with father and sister. Kind of the Torres’ character from regular NCIS, but well, I didn’t care. I’ve seen Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park do it better in Hawaii Five-O, S01.
Noah Mills plays the new Tim McGee i.e., most senior “second in command” for the team, aka Jesse Boone. You don’t get much from him in EP1, so it’s hard to rate. He’s fine, but nothing that stands out. He’s more personable than Lachey at least. I don’t remember him from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, one of Karli’s followers, nor anything else. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But there are two bright spots. The first might be a small spot, hard to tell yet, but Enver Gjokaj plays a local military officer and likely someone that Tennant will deal with regularly (Captain Joe Milius). I really liked Gjokaj on Emergence before it was cancelled, but I had to rely on IMDB to remind me that he was Victor way back on Dollhouse. I hope he ends up being a regular character, maybe a stand-in for Director Vance or something, for the military chain of command.
And then there’s the resident tech, Ernie Malik, played by Jason Antoon. If you watch the other NCIS series, you’ll know that the many of the techs have ongoing recurring scenes. Some are soft roles that grow (NCIS: LA), others are big roles that run out of steam (NCIS’ Abby). Antoon steals every scene he is in. I thought I had seen him in other things, but checking his rap sheet reveals nothing I would remember him from. Maybe I’m just confusing him with a character look from way back on Babylon 5, but he’s awesome. Definitely a keeper.
Which leaves me with a cold team leader (but so is Gibbs, except he inspires loyalty and supports good people without questioning their abilities), an okay team lead, two weak junior members, a weak lawyer type whose role is undefined, and two other support characters who are good.
None of it screams “watch me”. EP1 dealt with people targeting naval personnel for potential corporate espionage, and the firewalls the military puts up to protect the program are silly. If they had evidence their crews were being targeted, the people in charge would have fallen all over themselves to support the investigation to prove it was false, not stonewalled for no reason. Bad writing. Don’t get me started on the fight between Kai and his sister. The only other bright spot I saw in any of it was the dialogue between the locals. Some of it seemed pretty legit, using phrases that Haoles (pronounced Howlies) wouldn’t know. I had trouble even following some of it, and that seems like a good thing.
As I said in my prediction, renewal is almost certain. Will I be watching? Maybe a future binge, but LA and New Orleans will be ahead of those, when regular NCIS ends. Which isn’t going to happen soon as someone backed a truckload of money up to Mark Harmon’s door and said, “Please continue” for S18.