Follow us on

Featured TV on DVD Review: NCIS: Season Eight

August 22nd, 2011

NCIS: Season Eight - Buy from Amazon

NCIS is quickly catching up to its predecessor, JAG, in terms of longevity, with season nine beginning in just under a month's time. The ratings for season eight were as good as they have ever been, just topping the ratings of season seven, which I previously reviewed. However, while the ratings ticked up a bit, was the show able to maintain its impressive quality as well?

The Show

As has been the pattern the last several years, season seven ended with an extended storyline culminating in a cliffhanger. In this case, and this is a spoiler if you haven't seen the previous season, it involves Special Agent Gibbs' past. Specifically, a murder he committed 20 years ago, when he shot the Mexican Druglord that had put the hit out on his wife and daughter. Abby gets invited to Mexico by Alejandro Rivera, a high ranking member of the Mexican Justice Department, to give a speech at a conference and becomes involved in a cold case, Gibbs' case. Turns out the Alejandro Rivera is the brother of Paloma Reynosa, the new head of the Mexican Cartel, and the kids of the Druglord Gibbs killed many, many years ago. The season ends with Paloma going after Gibbs' Father. This season begins with that coming to a head and it's a great way to start the season.

In fact, nearly all the episodes on this six-disc set are great. It makes it hard to pick out enough to focus on. Cracked is an Abby episode and those are always fun. In this one she becomes obsessed with a chemical engineer who was obsessed to the point of paranoia, but was also poisoned. Broken Arrow involves a possible recovered nuke that might be sold on the black market. It also involves the return of Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. and a guest shot by Bruce Boxleitner. Enemies Foreign / Enemies Domestic also deals with familiar bonds as Ziva's father Eli David is at the center of a possible terrorist attack. NCIS teams up with CGIS (Coast Guard Investigative Service) in Ships in the Night, which is a good episode (and features the return of (Special Agent Abigail Borin (Diane Neal)) but my first thought was: "If this is a backdoor pilot for yet another spin-off, I will be forced to hurt someone."

In Recruited, Bob Newhart shows up as Ducky's (David McCallum) mentor. Scott Lawrence from J.A.G. shows up, while the team has a psych exam while investigating a murder aboard a submarine. Timothy McGee is starting to turn into a ladies man. In Defiance, while protecting the daughter (Elena Satine) of a politician who is in town to sign a treaty she starts hitting on him. While in the next episode, Kill Screen Beth Riesgraf (from Leverage) also shows interest in McGee. (On a side note, he's a damn lucky guy with those two women.) Not only is One Last Score a good episode, it is an important episode, as it marks Michael Weatherly's directorial debut. In Out of the Frying Pan, Leon Vance gets personally involved in a case when his friend is killed and it looks like his son did it.

At this point, we run into the final arc, so I don't want to give away any more episodes. Suffice it to say, the season ends on a high note and I'm looking forward to season nine.

The Extras

Extras are good, and include audio commentary tracks on four episodes with a wide variety of participants from cast to crew. There are also several featurettes spread throughout the six disc set, starting with an 12-minute featurette on the first disc with the cast taking questions from the fans. Technical adviser Leon Carroll, Jr. is the subject of a nine-minute featurette. Practical Magic is a four-minute look at creating a younger Leon Vance. Lights! Camera! Weatherly is an 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette on Michael Weatherly's directorial debut. Grab Your Gear is a wrap-up of season eight and it runs nearly 30 minutes, so it is quite in-depth. There is a ten-minute featurette on the special effects. Finally, there's Murder, They Wrote, which is a ten-minute interview featurette with the writers.

Overall, that's better extras than last season.

The Verdict

There's this celebrity survey called the Q Rating. It looks at how much people like an actor or actress (or an athlete, brand, etc.) divided by how well they are known. It is helpful for producers to know which cast members they should promote more or use to sell the show in general. Of the top ten TV stars, five of them are from the cast of NCIS. (The only main actor who isn't in the top ten in Sean Murray, which saddens me, as I like McGee.) With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the show is great and Season Eight is easily worth picking up. In fact, given the quality of the show and the extras on the six-disc set, it is a contender for Pick of the Week.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review