Archives for posts with tag: Michael Nouri

I don’t watch anywhere near as much TV as I used to. Over recent years I’ve whittled it down to a few favorites that go on for season after season, and tend to try one or two new shows a year. This time the new ones are The Crazy Ones and Almost Human, both of which I really enjoy.

The ones I’ve watched the longest from day one are Criminal Minds, the NCIS twins, Once Upon a Time, and The Big Bang Theory. Newer finds are Haven, Warehouse 13, Falling Skies, The Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead. And I have to throw in occasional bouts of Spongebob, because that’s the perfect show to chase away minor annoyances with its goofy yellow giggles.

Futurama deserves its own special difficultified category, because I love it so much. This year brought an awesome season that they insist really was the last one. At last. I add a whispered maybe, because it’s returned from the dead before. More than once…

Um…turns out I still watch quite a lot of TV. I guess I used to watch so much that the pruned back current version seems positively sparse. It seems like less since the seasons tend to be shorter and some series are summer only or split into two separate parts of a single season.

There’s usually an episode or two of all that I watch that take an emotional toll. This year has had so many that it’s been gutwrenching.

The worst one that comes to most minds is probably The Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding. That was absolutely a shocker, though I’m not as deeply involved as most fans. I’ve never read the books and only started watching the series because Sean Bean was in it. We all know how that ended after one season. I now refer to his character as Dead Ned’s Head. I didn’t watch the most recent season for quite a long time after it aired, so I’d picked up the general drift from frenzied wailing and gnashing of teeth that blew up Twitter. Then when I watched it, I’d thought it was one episode later than it was, and blindsided myself with watching it unexpectedly. It was painful, gory, and perhaps Michelle Fairley’s finest GoT moment. If a character has to go, it’s nice when their swan song is a tour de

Whether he’s Rumple or his Storybrook counterpart Mr. Gold, the baddie we’ve loved to hate has had a rough Once Upon a Time season. His journey has had enough twists and turns to make even The Dark One queasy. His reunion with Pan led to the kind of twist/reveal fest that makes TV shine, and the road that led him down made me tumble into a rabbit hole lined with alternating layers of admiration and disappointment, until he redeemed himself grandly. The final fatal twist left me horrified, though if next season’s preview was to be believed you can’t keep a great bad guy down…or doomed…for long.

NCIS did it to me twice. I was sad to see Ziva leave, but devastated when near the end of the previous season they killed off her father. I’m a huge Michael Nouri fan and always looked forward to his appearances as the complicated, sometimes difficult, always riveting Eli David. Blindsided, horrified, jawdroppingly disappointed. I kept waiting for it to turn out to be a ploy…still waiting…not really waiting anymore. Sigh.

And then there’s The Walking Dead. I didn’t start watching that until they were at the farm. Just had a chance to figure out pretty much who everyone was…in time for Sophia to go into the barn. Daryl is my favorite character there. I was impressed with Norman Reedus all the way back to Dark Harbor, and that drastically increased from watching him on The Walking Dead. It’s probably easy to see this next part coming. My second favorite character? Why Hershel, of course. By the time the fall season finale was through with me, I was left wondering if I want to continue watching a show that can hurt me so much. Ridiculous, isn’t it? To feel so devastated by the fate of a fictional character. There it is, though. Hershel put the human and the humane in what was left of humankind, as the zombie apocalypse wore on year after year. The walkers walked on and the infected living fought to live. It’s one thing to fight against herds of unknowing undead, another entirely another to go up against a broken, depraved, vulnerable, psychopath like the Governor. First the can’t look away little girl in the flashflood walker trap and then the didn’t look away fast enough brutal, grisly (senseless?) use of Hershel as a way for the Governor to discharge at least the raw, initial explosion of grief and rage over losing a second little girl to the new normal. That sequence seemed to go on and on, leaving little room for satisfaction in what came after. I’ll probably keep watching the show. It’s got a rare finger on the pulse of the place where bloody horror meets humanity at its worse…and finest. But I’ll be wary from now on, watching for the defining moments that gut me where I sit.

So it was a difficult TV year. I’ll hold out at least a little hope that 2014 will bring a little glee for Daryl and Michonne shippers, a fun and adventurous reboot for transplanted Storybrookers, and for Joffrey to fall face first into a dung heap…full of flies…with his entire kingdom watching…at the very least. However, at the same time I’ll be bracing for a not so charming ever after, for the rest of the Starks to fall into new ruin, and a new big bad that makes the Governor look like Gandhi. At least one of those shows will still manage to blindside me anyway.

I hope.

*Spoilers for this week’s NCIS episode!*

In my previous post Killing Off Characters, I wrote about doing it in novels and feature length screenplays. I just watched tonight’s outstanding NCIS episode, and find myself compelled to write about when a TV series does it to a character I love. A view from the other side of the fence, as it were.

Oddly, the same series triggered that other post. They left Ducky lying on that beach for months, and I was really wanting him to still be alive the next time a new episode aired. Cliffhanger time isn’t measured the same way as regular TV episode time. Cliffhanger waits are more like regular episode waits…squared. At the end of Ducky’s, he lives on to make me smile over his one-sided conversations with the nonverbal guests in his morgue.

I am very much afraid Ziva’s very complicated father will not fare so well. He is more likely to be on the receiving end of a Ducky soliloquy to the dead. Or is it actually a soliloquy, in the presence of another character, even a dead one? A ponder for another time.

Watching Eli David struggle with problems ranging from attempting to create peace from chaos to trying to connect on a deep level with the daughter he obviously adores despite his often contradictory actions, it’s impossible to resist being drawn to such a complex character. The writing is faceted and compelling, but for me it is the multilayered performance of Michael Nouri that makes it so riveting. I’ve been a great admirer of his work for several years, and am often moved by his ability to convey emotion with the simplest of gestures and expressions. I look forward to his guest appearances on NCIS, and would hate to see them end.

So, my writery brain latches onto the tiniest hint and hopes that there is more to come. Perhaps a plot twist I can only play guessing games with will keep the character around to wreak havoc and heartache another day. That’s what the words “To be continued…” always mean to me, until it becomes clear that in any particular case dead really does mean dead.

In a different sense, it’s interesting to be on the other side of the magic curtain made of words and flickers of light.  Of course I hope to someday have my own words and flickers of light absorbed by the masses in our entertainment hungry world. I realize that when I’m absorbed in writing, I’m thinking of the characters and what works best for their particular stories. It’s like tunnel vision, with the real world outside their microworld invisible to me even as I live in it, while I write.

A small part of that process knows that there are three layers of people to consider–the characters, their creator, and their readers/watchers. It’s really only when I am solely the consumer of someone else’s work that I’m hit hard by the idea of how much responsibility writers actually hold. It falls to them to make decisions of fictional life and death. If they get it right, no matter how much a character’s death may be a blow to the reader’s/watcher’s gut, it will still be a satisfying experience.
What NCIS did tonight is a fine example of making it count…assuming “To be continued…” doesn’t actually end up meaning Ziva’s dad, as well as the episode.