Recasting NCIS, a culturematic in action

Choose one from each column.  

Keep choosing until you have recast NCIS to your liking.  

Notice the dramatic difference a casting difference makes.  This is culture in action.

For extra points, identify the mechanics of this Culturematic.

7 thoughts on “Recasting NCIS, a culturematic in action

  1. Rick Liebling

    Full disclosure: I’ve never watched an episode of NCIS in my life.

    Couple of ways you could go here:
    1. Get the best actor/actress for each role

    Good, but no break-out star because they are all too good as actors, too committed to the craft to make the show their vehicle.

    2. Get the best complimentary cast that you can assemble

    Great, but obvious and ultimately too formulaic. Recasting for recasting sake.

    3. Cast for maximum friction

    Potential for complete disaster, or the most compelling thing on television (not mutually exclusive notions).

    1. Grant Post author

      Rick, I know there had to be a soft spot in that amazing range of knowledge. But NCIS? Sir! Abby is a hero to millions of teen girls and she is filling science classes. I love 3. That would be a wonderful train wreck. I guess the question is whether we can mix in enough grist and discomfort without tipping the thing into disaster. I would guess that agents and casters are constantly working the formula. Thanks, Grant

    2. Grant Post author

      Rick, thanks, yes, I was looking for duplication and then violent friction, to see what difference the difference would make. The question is, do casting agents have one of these in their heads?

  2. Megan, blogger

    Gah Grant, you make a cruel experiment! With each different combination, I found it hard to imagine these different actors stepping into the much beloved shoes of Mark Harmon (though James Woods would be a comprable second). However, with each actor (Jenna Elfman as Ziva? That could be verrry interesting), I felt myself comparing the list of attributes I associate with the characters compared to the list I associate with the actors. If there was any discrepancies (Ziva just sounds like a brunette’s name), they were removed from my list.

    1. Grant Post author

      Megan, I tried to move away from obvious choices by degrees until the choice was wildly wrong and would inflict an act of (conceptual/casting) violence on the show. It says something about our culture that this is possible. Doesn’t it say that there is an architecture of knowledge underlying these casting choices?

    1. Grant Post author

      Jean, please let me know! This could even by done Harvard Business Case style. As in, “Don Bellisario the creator of NCIS, who left the show in 2007 has decided to return. He wants to freshen the show with some casting changes. What should he do? Please choose 1 new actor and tell us what effect it would have on the show. Specifically, what difference would the difference make. Now choose 1 actor from the list you would NOT cast, and tell us why, very specifically, why he or she would be wrong for the part and the show.” Thanks!

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