Fans Say This 1 Thing is Making ‘NCIS’ Difficult to Watch

After 17 years on the air, it’s still a miracle NCIS is still watchable at all considering most shows grow stale before the tenth year. Thanks to Ziva (Cote de Pablo) coming back this season, it’s pumped new life into the show, including making past episodes that referenced her over the years after her departure all the more intriguing.

If that’s reinvigorated the ratings, there’s an argument to be made the production of the show isn’t perfect. Reviews of NCIS on Rotten Tomatoes give some interesting insight into what fans like about the recent seasons and what they don’t.

One negative review recently went after something unusual: The show’s soundtrack.

No, it has nothing to do with the type of music played and more the volume. Is it true NCIS is making their background music too loud so viewers can’t hear the dialogue?

Mark Harmon in NCIS
Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. | Ali Goldstein/CBS via Getty Images

Is this really true or a fraud review?

Take a look at Rotten Tomatoes’ NCIS Season 17 reviews page, and someone wrote this on November 20, 2019:

The music overpowers the story. The music is way too loud while the actors are talking. It does not help with the drama if you can’t hear what is being said. Worst so far was S17 Ep8.

Whether this was some kind of joke or truly serious, it’s something worth exploring since TV isn’t usually known for having blaring soundtracks to a point of overpowering the dialogue. If going back to Episode 8, there is some evidence the music maybe was too loud.

This episode was called Musical Chairs, ironically, and was about a military band where a murder occurs. Apparently some of the music played during this episode was a little overbearing at times. 

Others might say the person complaining simply didn’t have a good enough sound system on their TV. Whatever the truth is, it does open a door toward examining the problem of loud sounds in TV and movies and whether it’s being done deliberately.

Maybe ‘NCIS’ is trying to stay hip with a younger audience

One of the biggest media mistakes today is playing music too loud with the assumption it attracts a younger crowd. With an aging show like NCIS, maybe playing the music louder than it should be is an attempt to keep it hip with younger viewers … if it really attracts this demographic.

More likely, the most loyal viewers are older and who’ve been watching since the beginning. Ziva fans have probably come back as well, or at least for the episodes where she’s been appearing.

All other episodes may be beefed up to keep viewers tuned in when the Ziva stories take a break. Assuming this is what’s really going on, it might be a production faux pas in thinking fans want to hear a powerful soundtrack when it may be too annoying.

Of course, all of this transfers over to the movies as well where loudness is still a problem that far too many complain about too quietly.

Soundtracks are a major part of entertainment nowadays

Watch any TV show today and songs played during the show are usually meant to help sell a single or a soundtrack album on streaming services. Some kind of vocal song is usually played during a pivotal scene toward the end of an episode to capture the most emotion.

NCIS does this sometimes as well, though not so much with vocals. Their background music, though, can sometimes enhance the drama and has been used to sell soundtrack albums in the past.

Music is one way to help a show pull in further profit. Part of this may be to play the music louder to help audiences pay more attention to it. Not that playing things louder always helps.

Movie trailers and commercials keep turning the sound up, even if it may be causing people to tune out rather than in. Going quiet may really be the only way for everyone to sit and up take notice. NCIS (and, reportedly, other CBS shows) may have to take note of that before the series is over.