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Paramount Studios presents
CSI: Miami—The Complete First Season (2002)

Horatio Caine: So what do you get when a six-foot-tall man lays down with a three-foot-long rifle?
Calleigh Duquesne: Hot flashes... but that's just me.

- David Caruso, Emily Procter

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: June 27, 2004

Stars: David Caruso, Emily Procter
Other Stars: Adam Rodriguez, Rory Cochrane, Khandi Alexander, Kim Delaney
Director: various

Manufacturer: DVDl
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for violence, mild language, disturbing images
Run Time: 24h:12m:11s
Release Date: June 29, 2004
UPC: 097368796645
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B-A-A- A+

DVD Review

The problem with creating a spinoff like CSI: Miami from a wildly successful series like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is that there is an almost instant need to make it better than its predecessor. Some series have had luck in creating shows that are just as good or better, most notably the Law & Order franchise now dominating the NBC lineup. That series continually introduces characters and situations that are original and exciting, something that CSI: Miami fails to accomplish.

Originally introduced in an episode of CSI in May of 2002 (the episode is thankfully included on the first disc of this set), the characters of CSI: Miami are nearly identical to their counterparts in Las Vegas with one harmful exception: the Miami investigators are not the least bit interesting.

The list of officers for the Crime Scene Investigation for Miami reads like a checklist for stock characters. We have Horatio Caine (Caruso), a wise veteran who is always right and who leaves no room for error in any way. Eric (Rodriguez) and Tim Speedle (Cochrane) are a pair of investigators who seem to exist only so they can bicker back and forth while collecting evidence.

CSI: Miami is presented with two female leads who each bring a much needed force to the series in their wonderfully constructed performances. Megan Donner (Delaney) is a by-the-book officer whose straightforward style clashes with Caine's go-for-broke way of doing his job. It also does not help that Donner ran the unit at one time, which makes the fact that she now must report to Caine very hard on her. Calleigh (Procter) is know as the "bullet girl" and, as her nickname implies, she's a specialist in the field of ballistics.

CSI: Miami lacks the depth and originality of the franchise's flagship to be considered something truly excellent. The worst flaw is that Horatio is treated as a larger-than-life figure who never makes mistakes and always gets his man. What makes his counterpart, Grissom, in CSI, a believable creation is that his failures lead to his mystique. He is more of a real human being with problems and complexities; here, Caine is more like a stereotype.

In the pilot (not counting the crossover episode), the crew focuses on a plain crash in the Everglades, and true to form there is more than meets the eye at first glance. When the only survivor reports that a woman opened the door mid-flight to commit suicide, things get a tad fishy. This is generally the type of episode that is littered throughout the first season, including ones dealing with bombings, corrupt priests, and even a dead prostitute here and there. Much like the original CSI, Miami often deals with two cases in the one episode, but in this series it is a detriment. As the season goes on the characters become slightly more likable, but the plot threads are repetitive so that by the close of the debut season there remain only a handful of episodes that are truly captivating.

The standout episode is Kill Shot, in which Caine and crew search for a sniper that terrorizes the Miami area, and Caine and Calleigh search for the killer, discovering that another victim may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. This episode moves along with a high level of energy and tension, but it is ruined by an overly generic line of dialogue from the suspect that makes the entire episode another poor example of dramatic television.

The series is helped greatly from its glitzy location, as the trademark quick-editing found in both the original series as well as this spinoff helps to create a sense of style that works wonderfully. With the plush location of Miami, the series has the type of bright and flashy style that works well with the subject matter, and, as always, the interesting ways in which the camera seemingly moves inside the human body is a fascinating use of special effects.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Presented in the same 1.78:1 widescreen transfers, CSI: Miami looks fantastic. Colors are rich and vibrant with no bleeding and the deep oranges hues of Miami come off looking absolutely terrific. Fleshtones are done well, but there are moments where they certainly could be a lot better. There are a few slight instances of edge enhancement, most notably during several of the scenes set at night.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix used for each episode is of amazing quality, and this may be the best sound mix I have ever heard on a television release. The split surround channels are put to excellent use as the directional effects are handled very nicely throughout. Low end was nearly perfect with the right amount of bass to support both the misc as well as some of the more action filled sequences. This is a terrific mix all the way through the first season.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
2 Documentaries
4 Featurette(s)
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by David Grossman, Elizabeth Devine, Danny Cannon, Steve Maeda, and John Haynes
Packaging: custom cardboard cover with sl
Picture Disc
7 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: The first season of CSI: Miami boasts a large number of special features, namely four audio commentary tracks by various writers, directors, and producers of the series. David Grossman, Elizabeth Devine, Danny Cannon, Steve Maeda, and John Haynes each offer commentary on episodes including Cross Judications, Golden Parachute, Dispo Day, and Freaks and Tweaks. The tracks are generally very informative with a lot of time spent discussing the style of the show as well as how the episodes comes together each week. The most interesting aspect of the commentary tracks is when the participants discuss living up to the original series as well as the similarities between the two shows.

Next up are five behind-the-scenes featurettes including CSI: Miami Uncovered, Creating CSI: Miami, The Procedures of Handling Evidence, Autopsy Theater Tour, and The Gun Lab Tour. Uncovered and Creating are roughly the same featurette with only a few differences; the remaining three are brief looks at the sets of the show. The two promotional pieces discuss the changes between CSI: Miami and CSI as well as how the series had to be different enough so each could stand on their own. The most interesting aspect is that at one point the producers toyed with the idea of giving CSI: Miami a daytime slot, or even placing it in a wide variety of alternate locations. The remaining two featurettes are hosted by Khandi Alexander (Autopsy Tour) and Emily Proctor (Gin Lab) and each lasts roughly three to five minutes and generally the pieces are roughly a brief look at how the sets are constructed with props as well as little in jokes throughout.

Extras Grade: A+

 

Final Comments

Overall, CSI: Miami serves as a pale imitation of its infinitely better predecessor. This seven-disc set is impressive in the technical areas, but the series itself is rather boring and presents more than its fare share of been-there-done-that moments.

 


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