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.