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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How can ‘NCIS,’ the most-watched, most-loved TV show in America, be so absent from online fandom?

Apparently NCIS, the military cop procedural, is the most watched scripted show in the United States. I would not have guessed this if given a million guesses. More shockingly, it’s also the “favorite all-time show” of more U.S. viewers, as determined by a recent Harris Poll, than any other show. Ever. Including M*A*S*H. Love for NCIS cut across gender, age, income, political leanings, etc. The only significant skew is education: those with a college degree or beyond call Seinfeld their favorite show ever.


William Bradley — who is, he points out, a political analyst, not an entertainment analyst — focuses on one particular oddity of this news at Huffington Post:

What makes this all the more interesting is that NCIS is one of the least written about major TV shows around. Quite unlike some of the others on the list, including Star Trek and Lost, which I’ve written about, along with 24.

Clearly Mad Men, which as many readers know I write about very extensively, is not on the list. It’s not all that popular, though it’s come to have immense cultural cachet. Nor are other critical faves such as The West Wing and The Sopranos, which did generate big audiences, especially the former.

Bradley hits on one likely explanation:

NCIS is not the sort of show that lends itself to a great deal of weekly analysis and intensive recapping, unlike a Mad Men or a Lost. (It also won’t burn you the way Lost did.) I’ve noticed that its advocates who do recap it tend not to do so at great length. It’s a procedural show, one with a lot of action. Though not as much action as 24, which I considered writing about regularly, but realized that much of what I’d be writing would be along the lines of “And then Jack Bauer ran around the corner… ”

And yet the same could be said about the Law & Order franchise, but my unscientifically acquired sense of the fannish standings of the two is that there’s a lot more love and fanac for L&O than there is for NCIS. (No one, as far as I can determine, is making NCIS Valentines the way that artist Brandon Bird is making Law & Order Valentines, for instance.) L&O seems a lot more iconic than NCIS.

How can NCIS, the most-watched, most-loved TV show in America, be so absent from online fandom? I’m willing to concede that I may simply not see the fanlove that exists for the show because I’m not into it myself… but it’s hard to avoid fanac online for lots of other series I’m not into at all, so I don’t think that explains it.

What do you think? Are there other much-beloved shows that seem to be mysteriously absent online?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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