Sorry to be so negative, but that's how it is. I love that there is a hidden past for Callen, much in the way that Gibbs's bast was hidden for the first three years. Keep in mind, Shane Brennan is running both shows and he has yet to disappoint me on the original. Bland is being too kind in description. Normally with chemistry we're worried more between a woman and a man but it's also important between partners, or rather actors portraying partners.
Gibbs is more direct and impatient. So I watched the first episode and was happy it didn't bore me to sleep. The episodes so far, she is not even mentioned. I think this spin-off has some potential. Pulling in Oscar winner Linda Hunt to play Hetty was a masterstroke. The audience enjoys watching them no matter the current difficulties, whether it's just a threat to national security or literally saving the world.
She brings the team together, she brings cohesiveness and, despite her professionalism, she brings warmth. Other than those minor changes, it doesn't need much. I especially enjoyed her recent character arc while she dealt with her father's past and his death, working on her trust issues. No leader, except for the land of oz dwarf crossed with Harry Potter. I thinks this is so because it's about embodying the type of man you would imagine a chameleon would be rather than actively being a quick-change artist.
This is merely beefcake without any redeeming characteristics. The nerds suck, especially when you consider Abby from the original show. For the bulk of the pilot it was Callen and Hanna doing the bulk of the muscle for their investigation. Story-wise the show seems to have a couple of stories to pursue. We've now watched most of the previous episodes and are deeply attached to the screwball comedy aspect and ambiguous sexual tension between the character that give the show its special flavor.
While I do think this might have been better set in San Diego, I still like the premise. The other characters are strong and well played, also essential but they are a team because Hetty centers them. Have we stooped so low that the people producing this unrealistic piece of trash think we will watch anything. There are a couple of twists to make the outcome not seem so obvious. They've got crimes they're trying to solve.
In fact I feel most of the cast was chosen to enhance the stupidity of what the industry feels they can subject us to. Also, Kensi and Army Criminal Investigative Department Special Agent Steve Evans partner on a dangerous mission to recover a stolen hard drive with sensitive military intelligence on it. Did it really get through trial screenings? We wait for the little sounds bits from this diminutive character squirreling them away like precious nuts. Do I want Deeks and Kensi to get together…no, to be honest. And having Director Vance and Abby make short crossovers is excellent. She was an interesting and strong character, certainly posed a mental challenge to Gibbs.
Anyone sent to take her place is seen as our enemy and we long to see them eliminated. Without her we wouldn't care for Callen or Hanna as it's her feelings about them that motivate us. They're in good hands and hopefully, they'll get even better. Especially as Terry O'Quinn was the connection point, as her father being a friend of his makes total sense. I believe this is key to the popularity of the show as anything that shakes up the typical procedural format is looked upon favorably by television audiences. They play off of each other so well. She is definitely unlike Gibbs in many ways.
He doesn't know much about who he or his parents are, what his first name is beyond G or why people tend to try to kill him. The one flaw of the show rears it's ugly head quite often when I'm watching this show…it's a procedural with all the procedural faults. The other characters look to her, respect her, protect her. Why a clandestine type building that is an embarrassment to a government agency, a head of department that is out of a book of fiction, a buff agent who I think was hired just to show off his body. If we needed another mindless cop show, this would be perfect! We know this is only fiction but it's great fiction. The investigation is quite different, but expected.