So I haven't watched a show on CBS in a really long time. It's basically "the procedural" network and I'm not a huge fan of those kinds of shows. I tend to like a more character-driven story. And while I knew that NCIS: New Orleans was a thing, it wasn't exactly on my radar until my mom kept asking me about it.
She likes to do this. If New Orleans is featured on any TV show ever, she calls me. If a rerun from any number of Anthony Bourdain's shows is on, she asks if I've seen it yet. If her and my dad are watching Deja Vu and Denzel Washington is hanging off of the Crescent City Connection, I get to hear about it. It's cute.
But NCIS is on a whole different level. My mom lives for these kind of shows (crime procedurals), and now that it's in New Orleans? She's just so excited. Plus, I think she really likes Scott Bakula. Like Mark Harmon in NCIS: Original Recipe, he's "mom hot".
But there's a problem. I totally forgot that I was supposed to watch it, because the one and only network show I watch regularly is on at the exact same time. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is my show. I love that show so hard. Agent Phil Coulson rocks my world, not Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula). But that's what DVRs and internet-watching is for these days, right?
So I made it a point to watch NCIS: New Orleans the other day. There are two episodes up on CBS.com. I was going in with an open mind even though I knew I didn't like crime procedurals. I wanted to watch anyway because it took place in my city … but the very first scene made me want to slam my head on my desk.
Picture it. Two shrimpers. One looks at the other's girlfriend wrong.
He actually says this. This is a written line of dialogue that someone created, thinking that people who catch shrimp in Louisiana would actually say something like this.
And then they find a severed leg buried in the shrimp.
I was so ready to hate this show … then the intro started.
And I loved the logo. I'm such a sucker for good design.
The pilot episode of any TV show is always going to be at least sort of clunky, needing to tell a quick story to an audience to hook them and also set the stage, usually with lots of forced exposition … so I can look past some of the more cringe-worthy lines. Such as when the main character Dwayne Pride says to a visiting colleague, "You just couldn’t stay away from my gumbo.” I'm pretty sure that everyone watching in New Orleans did a collective face-palm … because one, no one would ever say that. And two, it just sounds kind of dirty. "You just couldn't stay away from my gumbo …" wink wink nudge nudge.
But whatever, I kept watching.
Throughout the viewing, I discovered the main players, who are all refreshingly likable. In the picture up top, starting at far left … is Meredith Brody (Zoe McLellan), recent Midwestern transplant. She's my girl. Apparently, us midwestern transplants are so common in New Orleans now, that we warrant an area-archetype. Should I be proud?
Next we have Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula), who will always be Dr. Sam Beckett to me. I was a total Quantum Leap fangirl when I was little. Anyway, he's amiable enough and Scott Bakula usually does a pretty good job at the accent. At least he tries, you know? "A" for effort. He lives at his office, which seems to be a gorgeous French Quarter carriage house … even though it's hinted that he has a wife in a Lower-Garden District home. He also cooks (gumbo apparently) and plays jazz piano, because of course he cooks and plays jazz piano. He's from New Orleans, duh.
Then there is Sebastian. He works at the morgue and is a socially-awkward neurotic geek. Because what other kind of geek is there? He's teased for wanting a "Lord of the Rings" tattoo and I don't see what's wrong with this, like at all. But I digress.
The head morgue person is Dr. Loretta Wade played by C.C.H. Pounder, and I love her. She's been in so many shows and movies over the years that it's hard to keep up. She was amazing on the last season of Sons of Anarchy, and she acts circles around the rest of these people. Throughout the two episodes I watched, I was amazed at how she handled the clunky dialogue … LIKE A BOSS. She is my favorite.
And finally, we have Christopher LaSalle played by Lucas Black, who was adorable in that Jackie Robinson biopic 42 and is just about the cutest thing ever. He rocks an Alabama accent … probably because he's actually from Alabama. And he's the only person in the history of my life to say "Roll Tide" and I didn't want to punch them in the face.
I was actually about ready to write this show off as totally cheesy, until he had a scene with the midwestern transplant where she explains that she doesn't want advice on where to live because she doesn't like to mix business and personal lives. Christopher basically shuts her down and is like, "that's not how we do things around here, we're all one big family." Boom. Now there's some truth about New Orleans, right there. I can dig it. We're all one big family, even the transplants.
Also? About their office. It should be listed on Forbes best places to work ever, because these people work in a beautiful French Quarter carriage house that has a kitchen (where Dwayne Pride makes andouille sausage and remoulade sauce, as one does at work all the time in New Orleans), and a courtyard to chill, order bread pudding delivery, and solve crimes next to a picturesque fountain.
Just your typical workplace kitchen.
So my final verdict? I'll keep watching, because after you get past the stereotypical New Orleans-isms that they have to throw in, it's actually kind of a charming show. So far, no one is unlikable, which is actually pretty hard to find in a television show. Also? I watch for the unintentional comedy … like when Dwayne Pride (seriously, how awesome is the name "Dwayne Pride?") complains that his hazmat suit is too tight … he says "I feel like an andouille sausage in a really right casing." I laughed so hard. It really wasn't that tight.
Come on, you just really wanted to say "andouille sausage", admit it.
Want to NCIS: New Orleans? The first two episodes are up on CBS.com for free and new ones air on Tuesdays. I'll be DVRing. And perhaps collecting "Dwayne Pride-isms".