CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Season 9 (UK - BD RB)
OMI: Our Marcus Investigates Season 9 of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on BD
Back for a ninth season, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had a little bit of an out with the old and in with the new rejuvenation. With the departure of Grissom (William Peterson) and the introduction of Raymond Langston (Laurence Fishburne) it’s all change for one of the world’s biggest shows, as the investigation team go about solving crimes with science.
Hands up, I’ll admit I’m not a CSI watcher. Whether it be the original series or its many spinoffs, I think at best I’ve seen a handful of episodes and off the top of my head those included the Tarantino episode, one where a guy got shot because a farmer thought he was a coyote and one where a dog accidently shot someone with a shotgun. Oh and I think I saw one about the aftermath of a hurricane, but that might have been the CSI Miami variety.
So, going into this the ninth season may as well have been me going into the first season but to the show's credit (and it’s a pick up and play set up) it welcomed in a newcomer with open arms. As I travelled through the episodes and got to know characters a little better than just in passing, I certainly saw why this show is such a big hit globally. It’s relatively safe (despite the murders and dead bodies and such), it certainly doesn’t mess with its audience, sticking to a pretty samey structure (well other than that goofy sci-fi episode) and of course it has that charm of tying up its episodes well enough that when it works, its audience can talk about it with friends.
The show has its moments (mainly revolving around the characters' interactions as opposed to the crime solving—Grissom leaving was pretty damn heartfelt even for a newbie and Fishburne has a pretty good introductory arc), but for me it has that easy to swallow daytime TV sensibility to it (also known as the take it or leave it quality) as opposed to something I could ever really get into. I’m pretty picky when it comes to dedicating myself to a show as it is and unless I’m challenged, intrigued or invested in the subject of an ongoing drama, I tend to walk away pretty early on, especially if nothing sparks or I don't care for where the show is going. Despite being dead easy to watch, CSI just doesn’t lure me in for more, despite providing well structured TV, a handful of good actors doing solid work and some fleeting moments of glory.
Despite the over stylisation of the lab scenes (seriously, turn the frickin’ light on) CSI looks pretty bloody great in HD. Colours are bold, details are rich and it’s exactly the treatment you’d expect from such a big show.
Daytime scenes look particularly good, showing off small things like beard and stubble detail as well as textures of clothes but even the darker scenes hold up pretty well, with the combination of shadows and skin textures faring particularly well (shows what some well placed neon lights can do).
CSI, looks every bit as good as most other big shows presented in HD that I’ve seen and with its bright colours and very well presented darker scenes, it has areas where it actually exceeds them.
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 seems a little hardcore for a TV show that deals primarily in conversations about dead bodies, but it actually provides quite an immersive experience. As an example, the lab scenes that usually involve two people talking have a constant audio presence of people walking about in the surrounding corridors. Same can be said for exterior scenes as streets scenes always have a strong sense of the surrounding crowd talking or police officers chatting.
Add a further layer to all of that with the atmospheric music to make you feel even more suspicious of the strange goings on or the booming bass sweeps for flashbacks or theory flashes and you’ve got a track that offers up just about as much as a mid budget big screen movie can offer—pretty impressive stuff.
With the features spread across the six discs, the first hit comes with the ‘Interactive Investigative Mode’ on episode 0904 Left of Dead. There’s a short introduction to the mode, but essentially it’s a lot of picture in picture interviews with the makers as well as pop up fact tracks covering scientific details and CSI information.
Next up is ‘Crime Scene Initiation’ (14:43 HD) which introduces us to newbies Laurence Fishburne and Lauren Lee Smith. It’s pretty typical for a TV Featurette and covers the usual tales of how these two got to be cast (also gave me a bit of a catch up on previous story arcs as well).
Disc one wraps up with a deleted scene on episode 0902 and access to BD-Live.
Only has a BD-Live selection.
A CSI Mode is offered up on episode0 911 The Grave Shift, as well as the BD Live option and some deleted scenes on episode 0909 (oh and the Who—‘Who Are You’ introduction is wearing thin on the menus).
George Ead’s, Tom Mularz and special guest star Taylor Swift provide a detailed (if not all that exciting) commentary on ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ and there’s another episode that gets the Interactive Investigative Mode option. This time it’s 0915 Kill Me If You Can.
Again, there’s the BD-Live option.
Things get a little meatier as we reach the penultimate disc. There’s another commentary, this time on the episode Space Oddity with Naren Shankar, Wallace Langham, Liz Vassey and Bradley Thompson. It’s a slightly more upbeat track, mainly due to the episode's fairly goofy set up, which involve the show's ‘lab rats’ or lab technicians in a sci-fi/ Star Trek inspired episode. This is covered in even more detail with the ‘Rats in Space’ (27:19 HD) featurette.
‘From Zero to 200 In Nine Seasons’ (18:55 HD) covers the two hundredth episode landmark which was directed by William Friedkin and once again there’s a BD Live option as well as a deleted scene on episode 0920.
Beyond the usual BD Live option and a couple of deleted scenes on episode 0921 and 0922 there’s a fond farewell to William Peterson with ‘Goodbye Grissom’ (17:38 HD). Even to a non watcher of the show, I understood the importance of the departure of this character who was one of, if not the face of the show. The featurette is a heartfelt one and paints a nice picture of the actor as well as how his leaving affected his co-stars and the show's creators.
Even with a whole season laid out before me in one hit, an okay set of features and very good presentation in HD, CSI just doesn’t grab me (even though I’m sure I’ll catch the odd episode in the future and cast an intrigued eye over them wondering what’s changed since the events I’ve seen here).
I guess most of the massive global audience will tell me I’m missing out, but I’m sure in the years to come CSI will be repeated the hell out of at around the mid afternoon slot, so one way or another, I figure I’ll get plenty of opportunity to catch up with it, if so inclined. Much like I did with Diagnosis Murder (did you ever see the episode where Dick Van Dyke chased after the guy on roller skates? Genius!)
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 1st March 2010
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English
Extras: Comentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Crime Scene Investigation Mode.
Easter Egg: No
Cast: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Laurence Fishburne
Genre: Crime and Drama
Length: 979 minutes
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