Monday, May 11, 2015

It's All About Anna J Stewart

Greetings sweet romance readers. Great to be with you again.

For those of you who don't know me that well yet, it's safe to say I'm a TV and movie-aholic. I watch far too much of both (although I don't go to the movies as much as I used to--wow, they're expensive), but when it comes to TV, yeah. I'm a bit on the pathetic side. That said, I do watch TV for a purpose: it helps inspire me when it comes to my writing and my stories. I've gotten tons of ideas for plots, and learned more about character development and interpersonal connections than I could have in a truckload of psychology classes.  I write a recurring column in my local RWA chapter's newsletter called THE WRITER'S BOX, where I talk about how movies and TV aid in my writing (or distract me when I'm procrastinating). It's what I feel most comfortable talking about aside from my own work, so chances are you'll be seeing a lot of blogs focusing on different shows that I think have a mass and wide appeal.  Which leads me to today.  :)

While I have my personal obsessions (Supernatural is top of the list), I'm a long-time fan of NCIS. I've watched from episode one and now, as we close in on the end of the 12th season, while the show has definitely had its ups and downs (and losses), it's still must see TV for me. 

I'm writing this just after watching the episode prior to the season 12 finale (which airs tomorrow night). I admit to seeking out spoilers online as I was well aware there was going to be a character killed off. I was pretty sure who it was and the promos were denoting a "significant loss" for the team. Even after hearing that, I didn't change my mind about who I thought we would be losing and it turned out I was right. But here's what really bothered me about this development on a show that has a rabid and dedicated fan base.

Many comments on social media, blogs, and the like denounced the claim the death was "significant".

Really?  Have they been watching the same show I have? If so, I think they've missed the point.  NCIS is more than a procedural involving the Naval Investigative unit. NICS is, at its core, about family. Extended family. The family we make for ourselves, especially in an environment where work becomes the end all of our existence. None of these people are related by blood, but tell me Abby isn't the daughter Gibbs needs (or lost), or that DiNozzo and McGee aren't the squabbling siblings currently looking out for new "little sister" Bishop. Ducky is both mentor, father-figure, and conscience of the group and there's overbearing Leon who oversees everyone with the mindful eye of a protective albeit stern father. But those are only the core characters.

NCIS has always had a plethora of secondary characters who, while not on screen as much, are just as much a part of the family as the aforementioned. They matter. Which means the loss of one of them--any one of them--is significant. Just as it would be to any of us. I write about large families--those related by blood, those chosen out of love and compassion, and those who merge into our lives when we least expect it. Family is an essential ingredient in romance because it shapes us into who we are as human beings and leaves us open (or closed) to the possibility of love.

It take a strong show to keep the audience coming back after twelve years. It takes a strong show with a strong sense of self to know that the loss of yet another agent, another friend, might just be enough to push Leroy Jethro Gibbs over the edge. How many more people can he lose? How many more will he have to bury? It's that tenacity that keeps the spine of NCIS solid and straight after more than a decade and to those who thought the recent death was "meh"?  You've never seen the true heart--and message--of the show.  So...RIP (spoiler free) character. You will be missed, but you did not die in vain. You added yet another layer of dimension to one of the most steadfast and admirable characters on TV today.

So tell me...what is your favorite "family" on TV (past or present)? I'll choose one random commenter to receive an e-copy of THROUGH HIS EYES, the second novella in my Lantano Valley series, releasing this Friday, May 15th!

Happy reading!
~Anna J

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for both Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Visit Anna online at

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  1. I came late to the NCIS party but both my dh and I are big fans. Losing Ziva was a blow to the series and losing Dorny last week was somewhat sad. I didn't know someone else was going. Oh, dear. I'll still watch though and see what I think!

  2. Hi Lyn! Don't worry--Dorny was the one I was referring to. As far as I know there won't be another death, but I do think this will be a turning point for Gibbs. Totally agree with Ziva, but at least it was her decision. :) Thanks for posting!

  3. Great post Anna, and you're absolutely right, it's because we invest in these characters lives that the shows become a success. A couple of my favorites are Bones (who doesn't love Booth and Brennan's story) and lately, Blacklist. Talk about dysfunctional families that still manage to make us care, Redd tops the list.
    Jacquie Biggar

    1. Congratulations, Jacqui! You're the winner of the copy of THROUGH HIS EYES! I'll email you privately . Thanks again for posting!

  4. Hi Jacquie! Thanks so much for stopping by! And I've actually just re-discovered Bones. I stopped watching a while back, but given the lack of quality shows these days (that networks keep on!), I'm back to it. And yes on Blacklist! Love me some James Spader

  5. I gave up watching NCIS when Ziva left, so I don't know what's been happening with the show. You make a good point about show characters being like family members. We come to care about them which is why we grieve when one dies. I watch Bones and Elementary because I like the characters, but I think Bones has just about run its course after ten years.

  6. Hi Patricia! Yeah, I know a lot of people left when Ziva did. It was a definite gut punch and I agree with you about Bones. I LOVE Elementary...but I'm glad he and Watson worked things out cause I was getting realllllly mad at them! :) Thanks for stopping by today.