This week ex-Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise star, Scott Bakula, made the 'leap' to police procedural as the star of NCIS: New Orleans. Stacy Embry checks out the opening episode.
"Just trying to keep it light..." says Dwayne Cassius Pride, played by Star Trek: Enterprise and Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula, as he premiered this week to high numbers in the US starring in NCIS: New Orleans. I'll admit my admiration for Mr. Bakula goes earlier than any of those television productions and all the way to Broadway when he starred in the time shift musical Romance/Romance. The hero from Victorian days to modern day, he soared and has never come down from the heights.
Bakula can sing, dance, act---play any role like an American everyman, but Scott never did, or does, accents well. To his credit, he's already dropped the full attempt at a thick accent from his introduction in "Crescent City" on the original NCIS last spring, but he needs to ease it out even more. Bakula has a rhythm he owns and brings here.
Mark Harmon acts as the executive producer of this spin off, which is interesting since the original NCIS series was originally produced by Donald P. Bellasario, the creator of Quantum Leap, as a star vehicle for Harmon. Scott Bakula has a similar ethos and strength and he'll need it to survive NCIS:NOLA.
The pilot started with a highly emotional victim... and a personal one for the team---and for Bakula, specifically. Long/short... there are a lot of stories to be discovered in New Orleans, but I am concerned that the flavor of the culture isn't authentic Creole. This episode never got my attention nor did there seem to be anything memorable in "Musician Heal Thyself." I really wanted to like it... it's Scott Bakula!
In the end, it was too derivative of the original NCIS and this series will take time to shake out into a watchable show. For the record, the weakest link is clearly actor Lucas Black as Special Agent LaSalle. From Alabama, his accent is thick as a burnt étouffée. He is no poster model or actor... so exactly why is he here? (Shouldn't a poor actor at least be eye candy?) Zoe McLellen is only marginally more tolerable, and her desire to be a middle-aged cheerleader masquerading as Special Agent Meredith "Merri" Brody. Merri, a fitting name, is in a word: Grating. McLellen does show an ability to grow if she would calm down. She had a very good confrontation interrogation scene.
Ultimately, resting on heavily mirrored roles that work for the original series leaves this untried and questionable B list cast in over their heads. I did enjoy Rob Kerkovich's tech, read as Bakula's version of Abby Sciuto (our beloved Pauley Periette). I hope we see more of him. And CCH Pounder (Sons of Anarchy and Brothers) is a powerful star in her own right. The morgue scenes are more than equal to Bakula's presence and the NCIS name. Unfortunately, they are the only ones in an hour episode that were engaging.
So, rumors and legal decision resolved, Harmon ended up with the whole NCIS pie. Salaciousness aside, Harmon's stance and personal integrity are unquestionable, but the magic of Donald P. Bellasario is missing here. Hater's gonna hate, but the show misses its creator. I find it odd that for the good of this valuable franchise, and the past excellence achieved in Quantum Leap, all involved felt they could create magic without their magician.
Stacy enjoys sharing her occasionally polarizing opinions to elicit
discussion. In a phrase, she states: "I don't want readers to be
parrots...unless they are of the Python variety wherein a "palindrome of
BOLTON would be NOTLOB." A former university professor and current
secondary educator... Ms. Embry is also a writer, Educational
Psychologist and Grief Counselor in Indianapolis, Indiana USA.