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Featured TV on DVD / Blu-ray Review: NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Three

August 22nd, 2012

NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Three - Buy from Amazon

NCIS: Los Angeles is a spin-off of a spin-off. The franchise was born with JAG while NCIS ended last season with an impressive seven episode winning streak. Season Three of NCIS: Los Angeles was consistently number two or three for the night and in the top ten every single week of the season. It has also been weaker in terms of quality when compared to its predecessor. But is the show starting to reach its full potential? Or is its path declining in that regard?

The Show

First some spoilers from season two. As you should know, Callen never knew who his parents were, but we learned a lot about his background by the end of season two. Henrietta Lange knew about Callen's connection to a Romanian organized crime family, but resigned and left for Romania. Her replacement, Lauren Hunter, does fit in with the group, and they all retire and follow Lange. That's where season three begins. Throughout the season, we learn bits and pieces of his past.

This part of the season is good, but for the most part, it's not a great season. The best episodes (Crimeleon, Blye, K. Part 1 and 2, Higher Power, and a few others) would only be as good as a below average episode for the most recent season of NCIS. It has the same major flaw as NCIS, where many episodes could be re-written for CSI removing all of the Naval aspects without changing the overall crime too much. This means it doesn't stand out very much in a very crowded genre. Unfortunately, it doesn't have nearly the same strengths. The show relies too much on action and not enough on mysteries. The cast doesn't have nearly the same chemistry. The attempts at romance between Deeks and Kensi feels calculated and not organic. Worst of all, almost none of the episodes are memorable.

When the fall season begins, there will be more than ten shows in this genre... on CBS alone. With that much direct competition, there needs be a solid hook to stand out. NCIS: Los Angeles just does not stand out. There are some good actors (Linda Hunt) and fun characters (Nell Jones), but the overall result is just way too generic. Not only can the show not stand out against the competition, but individual episodes blend together.

The Extras

Disc one has deleted scenes for the season premiere. Disc two has Raise the Roof, a nine-minute featurette on the new sets for the season. Disc three has Dishing... With Barrett and Renée, a 17-minute featurette with the two actors talking about their careers, plus there are deleted scenes on three of the four episodes. Aligning the Stars is about the technical advisers. Carmegeddon is a 12-minute featurette on all of the times they blew up cars and other vehicles during the season. The final disc starts with Pa Make Loa, the crossover episode from Hawaii Five-0, another police procedural that airs on CBS. Neither show has what it takes to stand out, so combining them doesn't help. Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen sit down for an audio commentary track for Neighborhood Walk. Investigating Season Three is a 28-minute long making of featurette, while Surf and Turf is a seven-minute featurette on the crossover episode.

The Verdict

NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Three is much weaker than NCIS and at this point, there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with all of the TV shows in the genre. I would stick with its predecessor.

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