Writing: I frequently feel like the writers at NCIS get bored before the end. We'll have a spectacular episode, they'll go to the final commercial with me anxious to find out how it ends... and then they'll do a clumsy wrap-up, leaving me feeling like all that tension they built up wasn't worth it. I can name about half-a-dozen episodes that have done this to me. Criminal Minds does not do that, at least not so badly that I feel cheated.
Advantage: Criminal Minds (1)
Plot: Criminal Minds has one plot. They get an invite, they go, they catch the bad guy (or gal), they come home. And some bits of their personal lives are sprinkled in along the way.
Advantage: NCIS (1)
Casting: NCIS has Mark Harmon; Criminal Minds has Thomas Gibson.
Advantage: tie (2 each)
Characters: A full slate of likable characters on either side, which makes it hard.
Gibbs v Hotch: Gibbs
Tony v Morgan: tie
Kate v Elle: Kate
McGee v Reid: Reid
Ziva v Emily: Emily
Abby v Garcia: tie
Jimmy v Kevin: Jimmy
Vance v Strauss: Vance
Ducky v Rossi: Ducky
Jenny v Gideon: tie
?? v JJ: JJ
Advantage: NCIS (3)
Cast Changes: Kate & Jenny out; Ziva & Vance in. Elle & Gideon out; Emily & Rossi in. But wait... JJ out. Emily's screen time reduced. If Criminal Minds changes one more character, I'm going to picket outside of CBS headquarters.
Advantage: NCIS (4)
Family Issues: Geez, there are so many. Tony's dad shipped him off to boarding school and then lost all their money. Ziva's dad almost got her killed. Gibbs & his dad... are making progress. McGee and Abby apparently com from loving, happy families. (Whoa! Weird!) Oh, and Gibbs has one dead wife, one dead daughter, and two living exes. And on the other side: Hotch's father abused him, and Hotch's workaholic tendencies ruined his marriage. And then his ex-wife was murdered while Hotch and his team listened. Morgan's father was killed in the line (but Morgan's family is otherwise happy and loving). Reid's dad ran out on them and his mum is in an institution. Emily's mother is a hyper-perfectionist/workaholic. Garcia drove away from her home one day and never looked back (and they apparently aren't too interested in her, either). JJ and Rossi have loving, happy families.
Advantage: Hard to say, really. Better call this one a tie. (5-3)
Reality check: There's a real-life NCIS. There's a real-life BAU. And the writers on both shows consult with real-life agents.
Advantage: tie (6-4)
Scenery: I don't know if Criminal Minds goes on location to film, or if they just have crazy-good sets. But the plot takes them all over the country, and their backgrounds are intensely believable. NCIS pretty much stays around DC, although the backdrop of the navy yard out the windows is nice.
Advantage: Criminal Minds (5)
Favourite Character: Criminal Minds has four characters-- Emily, Reid, Garcia, and Hotch-- who rotate as my favourite. NCIS has three-- Abby, McGee and Gibbs. Really, it comes down to Emily v Abby. SUCH a tough call, but at the end of the day, I think I'd rather be Emily than Abby.
Advantage: Criminal Minds (6)
Grins: Criminal Minds isn't very funny. And Hotch never smiles, which is a waste of Thomas Gibson's really charming smile, if you ask me.
Advantage: NCIS (7)
Tears: NCIS has had a few episodes (like, four) that have opened the floodgates. Criminal Minds usually manages it once a month.
Advantage: Criminal Minds (7)
Watchability: Good grief. It comes down to this. When I watch Criminal Minds, I get nervous about running outside alone. The stats are mind-bogglingly in my favour-- there are about 30 serial killers at any one time working in the US, and the chances of them choosing my neighbourhood are so very slim, when you calculate the number of neighbourhoods in the number of cities in the 50 states and divide by 30, but there you go: If they are trying to make me nervous, they have succeeded. NCIS does not have that effect on me.
Advantage: NCIS (8)
So, with a total of 8 to 7, NCIS wins as my favourite show. And now if you'll excuse me, I'm sure at least one of the two is on.
Do you watch NCIS or Criminal Minds? If so, let's talk! Favourite episode, favourite character, favourite moment?