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NCIS MODERATORS' BLOG 20
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NCIS FANFICTION & NEOLOGISMS
5th / 6th September
Yes, you are reading the dates right, I started this blog before midnight on the 5th and finished after midnight, i.e. early hours of the 6th, between lapsus in thought or falling asleep over the keyboard :-)))
NCIS Fanfiction - until I joined this site, I had never even heard of this, and much less read any, not to mention the jargon used. I remember the first time I read 'ships' and had to ask what people were talking about in a thread because I couldn't see what the sense of a 'ship' as in seagoing vessel had in particular thread, since it was the first time I had heard of romantic entanglements being described in this manner. Thus was my introduction into the world of fanfiction and the terminology used, which in point of fact is a series of neologisms, given how recent this area of fiction is, i.e. less than 20 years.
Shortly after this, I discovered the fanfiction sites going the rounds of the net in relation to NCIS, and ended up getting hooked to a few sites and several writers in particular, some of whom are members of this site, that's without counting the members whom I already knew wrote this kind of fiction, but did not publish on external sites, such as our very own MargyW or CatherineYetive or Abbiefan1 to name a few, whose work is only published on this site.
I was surprised how easily this kind of fiction could hook readers, particularly someone like myself, who prefers the historical novel preferably Regency period or earlier periods. I mean my normal fiction read is eons away from fanfiction, which goes to show how well it is written, some of it exceptionally so.
Along the way I discovered new terminology: slash meaning homosexual relationships in fanfiction/fandom - prior to this the only means I had for 'slash' were: oblique symbol in punctuation, tearing material or people with a knife or other cutting object, and a crude term for urinate. The mind boggles how this word came to mean a homosexual relation, 'ship' I can understand since it's the suffix of 'relation' when combined with 'relationship'. Then the terms 'in cannon' or 'out of cannon' when referring to characters being portrayed as per their TV counterparts - another term, which I have yet to fathom, and hope somebody will enlighten me, since as a translator the etymology of words and their evolution hold a tremendous fascination for.
Then of course, along with these neologisms came new acronyms like 'OC' - out of cannon, or 'AU' alternate universe, etc., all of which took me a while to fathom out where they were going.
All this of course, raises another question, why should become hooked on this fanfiction, when we still have the real McCoy, the series, that is, which is still alive and fighting fit. I mean, the logical thing, would be to indulge in this fictional area, when a series no longer existed as opposed to while it was still running, as in the case of NCIS. Does it mean perhaps, that those of who are hooked on the series and its corresponding fanfiction are suffering from some kind of obsessive compulsive order, given our need to hear something / read something / watch something, etc., because watching just one episode or several episodes in the case of TV marathons, like the one US viewers had on Saturday is insufficient. Perhaps we should get the eminent psychiatrist Luís Marcos Rojas to look into this phenomenon, and perhaps it's as well Freud is long dead or heaven help us as to what kind of dysfunction he'd come up with for us. Of course, I'm talking here about readers, but the writers themselves are just as hooked since they read and write this fiction, in addition to watching the series, taking part in webs various, including ours. Makes me wonder what kind of world we're living in today, with these ever increasing addictions.
Fortunately, this is the only series I watch absolutely every episode and am addicted solely to fanfiction related to the same, otherwise heaven help me, because I'd have time to do nowt else, were I to be addicted to any other.
LAST UPDATE ON 6th September 2009 1:15 AM - CET
SUBMITTED BY Sorgiña
WHAT MAKES NCIS A GOOD SERIES?
Rummaging through my mind about what to write without repeating, I came to ponder on what makes NCIS a good series. At first sight, this might be patently obvious, but that's not necessarily the case, since a good many potentially good series haven't made it past the first half dozen episodes (common in the Spanish State) or the first season. Remember also, how many good US series got left by the wayside as a result of the scriptwriters' strike; yet NCIS held on there and became even stronger, which is no mean feat in this day and age where audience share is what dictates the continuance or otherwise. Getting 10% of the audience is insufficient, TV channels demand higher ratings of series if they are to remain on air.
So, getting back to the question, title of this entry: What makes NCIS a good series? Actors? Scriptwriters? Directors? Production team?
I'd say it's a combination of all four reasons, one alone is insufficient. The actors in series both veteran and new are not only good quality, but also there is cohesion, unlike in other series where you can have top notch actors but each of them aims to steal protagonism from the rest whatever the cost. This doesn't exist in NCIS, where there is a clear balance, and protagonism is decided by script/story arc, which is how an ensemble series should work, and yet an ucommon occurrence today in this cut-throat industry of television. The scriptwriters on this series are writers who clearly work together so we can see a development in characters, without the characters losing their original definition, simply because the scriptwriter of the episode is different from the previous week's or the forthcoming week's. Again the cohesion factor at work, something which doesn't always work in other series, probably in part due to the diva-ism of many actors in other series, who pressurise, not to mention the bad quality of many scripts in today's top series on both sides of the Atlantic.
Obviously the directors have to be good as well to get results from the actors and make good use of the scripts written, all of which requires a lot of co-ordination not to mention insight on how to get each actor to produce their best, without too many takes.
Then last but not least there is the production team, which covers a pot pourri of other areas ranging from makeup through costume, casting, photography, sound, etc., etc. Since it is these touches, which puts the icing on the cake. Let's take something as basic as makeup, just how many series (not to mention films) make a pig's ear of it in this area, with the less than credible facial colouring, excessive makeup for actresses, or unbelieve lesions - too many to mention. Yet again in this department, NCIS comes out with flying colours, although that doesn't mean to say there haven't been occasional faux pas as in the other areas, since perfection doesn't exist thank goodness.
Just one last important factor here, is the casting of actors of episodic or recurring characters, the quality here is again quite exceptional, which on the one hand is logical, since episodic actors are looking to be hired again and for a greater length of time, so they tend to make a bigger effort than those who form part of the regular cast of any series. But perhaps, due to the lack of cohesion in other series this effort goes unnoticed very often, or the episodic actors stands out way above the rest of the regular cast, whereas in NCIS, these episodic or recurring actors blend in with the regular cast in such a way, that they are very much a natural part of the scenery so to speak.
I was going to finish here, but just remembered another factor in favour of NCIS, and that is, the series was not designed to be a blockbuster, but one which became consolidated asset, steadily moving up the ratings to reach a firm position, with a fairly constant audience rating. This long distance runner attitude of this series is another key factor to its success, since sprinter's can only run so far without using up all their energy, unlike marathon runners who pace themselves, and in the end they not only get to the top, but they're also capable of holding their own thanks to their enviable stamina. NCIS is this long distance runner, and are there aren't too many around with this kind of staying power, fortunate for we, the viewers.
LAST UPDATE ON 4th September 2009 11:35 PM - CET
SUBMITTED BY Sorgiña
GABBY - LET'S JUST NOT GO THERE
3rd September 2009
Of all the imagined relationships so beloved of shippers, the one that induces a near terminal bilious attack in me is Gabby. For the uninitiated, this is shipper shorthand for Gibbs and Abby.
The grounds that Gabby devotees use for declaring such a pairing exists is minuscule at best. Their basis is the supposedly flirty exchanges between the characters. Let's look at that shall we? These exchanges are all from season 1. What people tend to forget is that in season 1 no-one really knew where the series was going or what the characters were going to be like. A lot of fans don't realise that originally it was Gibbs who was the movie buff, not DiNozzo. In the first half of season 1, Gibbs has a keen knowledge of cinema. Name-checking "Airforce One", "The Apartment" and "Shane". DiNozzo on the other hand, did not know who Alan Ladd was or know the movie "The Maltese Falcon" !
The writers were experimenting with the characters. No decisions had been made as to where each character was going relationshipwise. This shows in the lines written. But it is obvious that Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette decided that there was going to be no romantic/sexual relationship between Gibbs and Abby. By midway through season 1 the lines that were designed to be delivered with a bucketload of innuendo were being delivered straight.
Abby: Ready to have your world rocked again?
Gibbs: I'm barely over the last time!
By season 2 Gibbs and Abby had settled into the Father/Daughter relationship that is now so familiar to us. Abby knows that whatever happens, what ever she does, Gibbs will be there for her. That wonderful, magical Father/Daughter relationship beloved of the movies, but oh so rare in real life.
LAST UPDATE ON 4th September 2009, 6.24AM Australian Time
SUBMITTED BY MargyW
COMMERCIAL BREAKS during NCIS airing
Yet another of my pet rants, commercial breaks during an NCIS episode. Whilst I realise that TV channels make their money from the commercials aired, particularly just prior or during the airing of a top series in prime time like NCIS; I object strongly to the duration of the same, not to mention the frequency.
Here in the Spanish State commercial breaks are notoriously long, on average 15 minutes duration!!! The so-called "short" breaks are where the channel broadcasts the message "back in 5 minutes" or "back after 2 commercials" or similar. These messages only appear for commercial breaks, which last 5 minutes or less, where there is no mention of time then it's 15 minutes on average, sometimes longer!! This is no joke believe me! Although admittedly it gives you time to prepare the dinner or take a shower or walk the dog or translate some pages, etc. However, this is soul destroying when the programme in question is cut in the middle of a crucial point as they are want to do.
With regards to NCIS, there are usually 2 breaks - one last some 15 minutes and another of around 5 minutes, and fairly frequently there's a short break, i.e. less than 5 minutes. The worst of it is, you never know where in the episode the long break is going to come, because they have a habit of chopping and changing at will - I suppose it depends on whose shift it coincides with and whether or not they've had dinner before the episode starts; and considering the episode officially starts at 22:15h although there is frequently a shift of say 10-15 minutes if there's a basketball match on beforehand on the same channel or an extremely important soccer match on of the other major channels.
As I recall in the UK commercial breaks used to be shorter, but times change and maybe they're no longer so short. In the US and Canada, I believe your commercial breaks are not so much long as frequent, which I'm not sure isn't worse than the Spanish case. I mean if you have frequent commercial breaks isn't this rather frustrating for the episode rhythm?
Given the short duration of an NCIS episode (from a Spanish viewpoint at least), wouldn't it better if there was just one commercial break in the middle? I would have thought this would be more interesting for the advertisers, since it's extremely important for the big advertisers of certain brands that need no mention (or should I say more publicity) here, to get their products advertised not only during prime time when there are more people seated before the TV, but also it would be more profitable for the channel and consequently the importance of the series in question, in this case NCIS.
Of course, like any viewer, I'd much rather there were no commercials like on BBC, but then I suppose that's why we all buy the DVDs so we can watch the episodes without the annoying interruption of commercial breaks.
LAST UPDATE ON 3rd September 2009 9:25 PM - CET
SUBMITTED BY Sorgiña
Latest page update: made by MargyW
, Sep 5 2009, 7:53 PM EDT
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|Sorgiña||What makes NCIS a good series?||15||Sep 21 2009, 2:38 PM EDT by DebbieVeylupek|
|Sorgiña||NCIS FANFICTION & NEOLOGISMS||3||Sep 17 2009, 2:05 PM EDT by Sorgiña|
Thread started: Sep 5 2009, 7:15 PM EDT Watch
Late entry posted because I had a few difficulties finding a topic but came up with this, related to my interests in words and their etymology, a fascination linked to my profession as a translator. Your feedback as always is welcome
|MargyW||Gabby - Let's Just Not Go There.||12||Sep 6 2009, 10:24 PM EDT by cassierules|
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