Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TV: Review- CSI, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY

The populace at large has spoken. The original, CSI (Las Vegas) is a consistent top ten show in the Nielsen ratings while its offspring, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York are both solid top 20 shows.

In my house, the ratings are upside down.

About 10 years ago, one of the top-rated cable shows was a program that just showed operations up close. People are apparently quite intrigued by blood, guts and gore. Me, I'm a tad squeamish, thank you very much. I'm not the kind that faints at the drop of a bit of blood, but neither do I find it endless entertaining. Nor do I think car wrecks and other wrecks of equally deadly nature are interesting. Seeing bodies turned into bloody pretzels interests me not.

Still, like MILLIONS of others, I tuned into CSI. I appreciated William Petersen's performance and thought the surrounding crew was interesting. The visuals were spectacular and the computer professional in me marveled at them. I can remember doing computer special effects for movies back in the 1980's. Times had changed.

However, I found CSI getting less and less compelling as they stretched the boundaries of what could pass for TV at 9pm, as the show went along. Sometimes, the subject matter was too stomach-stressing for my own liking. I found I could start watching a CSI show and decide, minutes into it, that I could do without watching it to the conclusion. In fact, if there was a single show that prompted me to go to disk watching all the time, it was CSI. Well, that and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Kid abuse isn't something I find interesting.

By now, I have become inured to a certain degree to CSI. Catch it, miss it, doesn't effect me all that much. On the other hand, I find both New York and Miami entertaining regularly. New York is closer to its parent in terms of gross-out factors, but it seems bizarrely more considerate of the watchers' feelings that does the LV version. Who'da thought New Yorkers cared!!

Petersen's detached scientist/cop remained interesting until the end. Laurence Fishburne is a BIG catch to replace Petersen, while trying to maintain the scientist-centric approach. To me, it hasn't worked. On the other hand, Gary Sinise, who seems equal parts scientist and cop works great in New York and the much-dismissed David Caruso is a cop/scientist in Miami. And it works for me.

Sinise's supporting crew still seems fresh. Melina Kanakaredes is getting better as she ages. Might be the prototypical brainy beauty. But I think the real trick to the show are the native New Yorkers, Eddie Cahill and Carmine Giovinazzo who play detective Detective Flack and CSI Danny respectively. Both REALLY ARE native New Yorkers and it helps. A lot.

I miss Sofia Milos, who could play Kanakaredes' sister, in Miami. But Emily Procter's still around. And we viewers all hope her character will finally hook up with Adam Rodriguez' Delko before one or the other gets offed somehow. In the meantime, I have absolutely no issue with Caruso's Horatio Caine. Sure, you'd think Caruso would eventually get a doctor to look at the crick in his neck, but it adds to the quiet man's menace in a silly way.

When it comes to picking which one to look at first, if given a choice, I lean towards New York by a hair over Miami. I'll watch Las Vegas if it's convenient, if for no other reason.


maven said...

Pretty concise review. Much of it echoes my attitude; some not so much.

Due to the dark and drab of night-shift LV and the pomposity of Petersen, I was never a consistent viewer, but hope Fishburne is an improvement.

Miami & NY are more to my liking, especially Miami, initially drawn to the Miami visuals, whether shot in Miami or SoCal. I favor Caruso or Sinise, love them together; Melina is a keeper.

I take issue with your comments about Calleigh/Eric (Emily/Adam). Miami's bid for the young viewer with that absurdity challenges my gag reflexes. Adam with Eva LaRue seemed a more natural fit.

LV and NY manage to convey a sense of life outside the job; Miami has woefully neglected this aspect. A good roll in the hay might be in order and could well improve those ratings.

Gary Mugford said...


Interesting comments. I've always viewed Petersen as a mannered actor, not unlike Caruso or say, Vincent D'Onofrio. Throw Jeff Goldblum into the same bin. For me, pomposity is almost comical, buffoonish. And I really don't think Petersen is in that camp. He IS odd, and either you like that sort of thing or you don't. We'll agree to disagree on that.

I quite like Eva LaRue a lot too. And yes, it appeared they were going to pair her character with Delko. And yes, there's been enough churning of alternatives that if you are a fan of both Procter and Rodriguez, you have to grit your teeth and hope they get over the "will he or won't he profess his feelings" situation. But with contracts coming up for renewal in what has to be an expensive series, I see one or the the other biting the big one before the culmination of the teasing finishes.

And that would annoy me. Let them have at it, then kill Delko off.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. GM