Some portions of this review regarding general show information are shared with the Season 2 and Season 3 reviews.
When the original CSI was put on the air, I was a huge fan. At the time it was totally unique, entertaining, and to a certain degree educational. Not to say that hasn’t changed over the years, but it has certainly lost its uniqueness over the course of two spin-offs. However I won’t judge the quality of these spin-offs because I’ve never actually watched them before, who knows maybe they still have the integrity of the original show. But when you have a show staring David Caruso, it’s going to be hard to win me over, so I’m hoping for some developed storylines and engaging character arcs.
For those of you like me, who don’t know much about CSI Miami I’ll break it down for you. You may or may not remember the CSI episode where the Las Vegas team made their way to Miami to help out on a case, but that is where Horatio Caine and his team of CSI’s were introduced. Now CBS has another money maker in the workings, and other than some altered cinematography, a new city, and a new ensemble, CSI Miami is essentially the same show as the original CSI we all know and love. But that’s on the surface, for me what made CSI so great was its originality, which has arguably been worn thin with Miami. In addition to that you just can’t match the quality of characters in the original CSI, but for the remainder of the review I will critique (without bias) CSI Miami as a stand alone show. I just thought I would make mention right off the start that in my eyes, although entertaining it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.
Horatio Caine (David Caruso, NYPD Blue) is the Miami Dade CSI Head Investigator, a forensic analysts who gathers and analyzes evidence in order to determine who is responsible for the crime in question. With him are various detectives, CSI agents, and medical examiners all that have a unique skill set to bring to the team. They compile their cumulative efforts in bringing down criminals, as well as on occasion participate in shootouts, brawls, and everything in-between.
Season 1 of CSI Miami isn’t actually half bad, there is quite a bit of excitement involving the cases as well as character development. The season opens up with a bang when a plane goes down with one survivor and a body 5 miles from the scene. It follows up with the death of Caine’s mentor and friend, and goes everywhere from investigating the rich, poor, strippers, and gang bangers. The stories aren’t half bad, but what makes this season actually interesting is the individual characters, and their personal lives. Most interesting to me is the role of Tim Speedle who is portrayed by the talented Rory Cochrane (A Scanner Darkly), Speedle is a trace and impressions expert.
When it’s all said and done, Season 1 is worth the watch. I wouldn’t buy it without checking out a few episodes on TV though, because although extremely similar to CSI and CSI New York the show is very different as well. The characters are interesting though, and the cases are fascinating, I look forward to my future reviews of the CSI Miami seasons.
Presented in 1.78:1 Widescreen, CSI: Miami is one of the better looking TV shows I’ve seen on DVD. First thing you will notice is the different look when compared to the original CSI. The orange filtering really works, capturing Miami’s heat perfectly. Other colors look great as well, with impressive blacks and realistic flesh tones.
Most TV series that come to DVD suffer from incredible softness; this is not the case for Miami. Depth and detail are very impressive, some of the best I’ve seen for TV DVD. The print itself is fairly clean, with only a few instances of the grain, most notable in dark scenes.
Minor problems aside, CSI: Miami looks great for TV Series; fans of the show will be extremely pleased with this one.
Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby Digital track which does a great job presenting Miami’s ambiance. Like the video I was surprised to hear such good quality of sound from a TV show. From the opening song “Won’t Be Fooled Again”, to Haratio’s sly one liners, everything sounded clear, with no balancing issues.
There are plenty of instances where every channel is used effectively, from gunshots to the sound of a bullet entering a body; this track provided an impressive array of sound effects. Overall the track provided impressive sound quality as well as providing a non linear sound stage, great job by Paramount.
A fairly impressive batch of features for the first season. Fans of the show are recommended to check out the Production of Evidence feature as it provides some great information on evidence gathering.
- Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary with various cast and crew for the following episodes: Golden Parachute, Dispo Day, and Freaks and Tweaks.
- Gun Lab Tour – (00:02:03) Emily Procter takes us on tour of the ballistics lab in CSI headquarters. It would have been nice to have had a more in depth look at the guns; instead we are given a very brief overview of the lab.
- The Autopsy Theatre Tour – (00:02:15) Khandi Alexander takes us on tour of the coroners lab in CSI headquarters. The feature provides a little more depth than the Gun Lab tour, but much more could have been shown.
- Production of Handling Evidence – (00:10:46) John Haynes (Technical Supervisor) discuses the realistic way of obtaining evidence shown in CSI Miami. This is one of the more interesting features as we are given some interesting information on evidence found on site and in autopsy.
- Creating CSI: Miami – (00:11:55) Various crew members the origins of CSI Miami, casting , and the difficulties of filming the pilot episode.
- CSI: Miami Uncovered – (00:12:21) Interviews with cast and crew including Caruso. The majority of this feature focuses on each actors required knowledge of the various fields their character does. We are also given a look on the filming techniques, such as the use of widescreen and the use of oversaturated orange color.
- CSI: Miami Trailer
I have to say that I was impressed with the show; I thought it would be a cheap imitation of the original. Instead it seems to have legs of its own, and despite my extreme dislike of David Caruso he plays the complex role of Caine very well. If you already know and love the show you will be pleased with the purchase of Season 1 on DVD, there are a nice bunch of features along with a nice audio and video transfer. If you haven’t seen the show yet be sure to check it out.