'NCIS: New Orleans: The First Season'
(Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, Daryl Mitchell, Rob Kerkovich, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2015 / Paramount Pictures)
Overview: Set in The Big Easy with an ingratiating cast of characters and featuring much of what makes the port city so special (the show is actually filmed in New Orleans rather than having Los Angeles backlots and locations sub for it), 'NCIS: New Orleans' may not have established anything particularly new or fresh with the procedural genre, but the odds are if you like the original (and who doesn't?), you’re going to love this offshoot.
DVD Verdict: OK, sorry, but I have to tell it like it is here! I wanted SO much to be polite, graceful about this new show, but it truly cannot be done! That said, this show could have been really good. Could have been!! Still could, but they just have to change a few things. Firstly, relax on the whole in-your-face NOLA culture! We know where the show is based, it's in the title. Let the scenery and sounds of the locale speak for New Orleans. They can do it better than any writer or actor ever could.
Secondly, Scott Bakula needs to lose the stupid and lousy attempt at an accent! If you can't do accents, you shouldn't try accents and Scott can't do accents. The really bad one he attempts takes away from his acting and the show. Thirdly, and I am SO sorry to have to say this, but Zoe McLellan needs to go! Her facial expressions are lousy and unrelated to the mood of the scene. Her acting is barely adequate, and her character is unrelatable, in general. Lose her and replace her character. Job done re: a better season two!
Phew, ok, and with that out of my system, for those who are looking to get some actual info on the show, let's give you all a quick synopsis: The team is led by Dwayne Cassius Pride, sometimes called "King". He is a friendly NCIS Agent who loves the city of New Orleans, his family, cooking, making music, and catching bad guys. Christopher LaSalle is next in line, he has been on Prides team for a while, raised in Alabama he talks sweet to the ladies and talks strait with the guys.
Both Pride and LaSalle have strong southern chivalrous demeanor's and very good reputations throughout New Orleans. Team newcomer, and JAG-alumni Zoe McLellan (mentioned above) is Meredith Brody, who rounds out our main team as a profiler and interrogator. She is intelligent and can handle herself both verbally and physically, but man, those facial expressions at the wrong times drive me NUTS! The support team is CCH Pounder as the Medical Examiner Dr. Loretta Wade, Forensic Analyst Sebastian Lund, and Computer Specialist Patton Plame.
This first season also featured lots of cross-over visitors from the original 'NCIS', including NCIS Director Leon Vance, Very Special Agent Tony Dinozzo, and Coroner Dr. Ducky Mallard. Coast Guard Special Agent Abigail Borin is a frequent and welcome visitor. ATF undercover agent Sonja Percy figures prominently in the second half of the season, which was actually produced by the lead actor of 'NCIS,' Leroy Jethro Gibbs aka Mark Harmon.
But, and sorry for harping on about this, but I have honestly always liked Bakula, so I was disturbed (as you can tell) by how he seemed to be struggling with the N'Awlins drawl. let alone how emotionless his delivery was, especially in key scenes, sadly. If an actor can't draw you into the character he is portraying enough to make you forget that he is that actor, there is a problem, and that was the issue throughout this entire first season. Anyway, the twenty-three episodes contained on six DVDs here on this first season DVD box-set are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentaries - Producers Jeffrey Lieber and James Hayman on both the season beginner, “Musician Heal Thyself” and “Careful What You Wish For.”
“Crescent City, Parts I and II”: The backdoor pilot for the series that aired during the 2013-2014 season of NCIS.
Launch Promos (4:17)
Spooktacular (5:09): Producer Jeffrey Lieber introduces costume designer Ann Walters who then both talk about the planning and execution of the Halloween episode “Master of Horror.”
Mardi Gras: The NCIS Way (4:45)
After the Storm (5:54)
Starting Up in New Orleans (14:07)
A Big Easy Success (30:04)
How Rob Got the Job (3:58)
Touring the Sets (4:47)
The Write Angle (21:30)
Strike Up the Band (8:39)