Jerry Bruckheimer becomes yet another A-List film producer to take a shot at the television drama. I have to admit that I never gave this show a prayer of success when I first saw it three years ago. It’s not that I thought it wasn’t good. I loved it. I thought it would be too cerebral for the normal Joe six-pack audience. Boy was I wrong. CSI has become the hottest drama in prime time, and like Law and Order before it has begun to spin off into another incarnation with CSI: Miami. The characters are engaging and it seems we’re all obsessed with some morbid fascination of murder. You’ll get a hefty fix with this box.
The CSI audio is a somewhat disappointing Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Being a more modern program I expected at least a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track for the DVD. Still… the sound delivers what it is intended to, and that is dialogue. You’ll find it always clean and clear.
My disappointment is compounded tenfold with the video. CSI is presented in the standard “full screen” format. Yes, this is normal for TV, but CSI is from the era of HDTV. The original masters are indeed letterboxed, and broadcast that way for those who have HDTV signals. Combine this with a big film name like Bruckheimer, who tells us in the extras how important a cinematic quality is to the show, and I have to ask why the DVD doesn’t offer the best print out there. Format aside, colors are vivid. Blacks are deep. And the picture is clean.
This is a six-disc set with all of the season one episodes. There are a couple of very short extras on the sixth disc. There’s a “Who Are You” music video featuring clips from the show and The Who in concert. “Character Profiles” offers a description of each character by the actor who portrays them.
The best feature is called “People Lie… But The Evidence doesn’t” This 20-minute extra provides a hefty backstage view of the work that goes on behind the scenes.
The menus are very nicely done and easy to use. The packaging is an awkward booklet tucked into a fragile sleeve. This one’s going to get very frayed.
Make no mistake. CSI is a quality show. I wonder, however, if CBS was too quick to release this package. It appears to have been rushed to cash in on the popularity of both shows. This show is less than three years old. I’ve seen tons of neat behind the scenes things that would have gone a long way to making this a better deal. I hope they do a better job on season two because this really is a great show. With 23 episodes, you’ll have hours upon hours to “follow the evidence”.