CSI: Miami: Season 1 (second half)

I can’t work out whether this series has less attention to detail than the original, or whether I notice plot holes and clumsy elements more just because I’m trying to avoid the obvious irritation of Horatio Caine. Grissom may have his faults and his hypocrisies but he doesn’t make me want to hit him every single episode. Horatio’s constant patronising attitude towards the other csis, cops, suspects and victims just makes me want to shake him. Alexx isn’t much better to be honest. Calleigh’s general perkiness this half of the season seemed toned down a bit, the writers tried (and yet failed) to wake Speed up (most inaccurate nickname ever) by blowing him up or shooting him every other episode and Delko just didn’t seem to do anything except look pretty. There seems to be a whole flock load of cops that are quite engaging yet never really turn up often enough to develop.

Story wise trying to look past the frequent holes and issues, they’re quite entertaining and vaguely varied around the crime of murder (does no one just get robbed in this town?). Bizarely the episodes that start out with big explosions (Dispo Day and Body Count for example) actually tended to fizzle out, while ones like dead woman walking and spring break i thought were more interesting.

DVD Special Features
Another pretty package but that’s about it. The documentaries on Dispo Day and Freaks and Tweaks are some of the most boring ever, with many many minutes going by with the director, writer, or technical advisor not saying anything. The collection of very short scene commentaries about handling evidence were pretty daft (why no play all function on ~12 2 minute scenes?!) and the section tours with Emily Proctor and Khandi Alexander were just cringe inducing.

CSI Miami: Season 1

I’d not seen most of these episodes, having only caught the occasional episode on tv and just not really getting into it as much as the original series. On the positive side Miami definitely makes itself an independent series, bringing the ethos of CSI but a completely different attitude towards things both in story and in production. For some reason though, it just doesn’t seem to work as well.

This series is definitely the day to CSI’s night, the scenery is gorgeous and the cinematography makes the most of it and getting the csi’s off night-shift is definitely a good plan. The mixtures of cultures and politics is also an interesting change to the more temporary nature of residents in Las Vegas. I think the main place the whole thing suffers is in the characters, particularly it’s leading man. Horatio Caine ain’t no Gil Grissom, in fact he’s quite obviously supposed to be about as opposite as you can get – he gets personally involved in *everything*, follows instincts even if the evidence is telling him otherwise and comes from a policing background (bomb squad) rather than science. The only thing he seems to have in common with Grissom is his patronising attitude towards the rest of the team.

Said team splits pretty neatly into the quirky and the vanilla, with most of the women getting the quirks with the men left to follow them around. Calleigh the bullet girl is all southern and perky while Alexx the coroner is the mother of anything with or without a pulse. Meanwhile Delko bumbles around being the young guy and Speedle just seems entirely bored by the whole thing. I thiught the character of Megan was kinda interesting (and it looks like they’re picking up the murdered spouse theme for CSI: New York) but could never work out where she stood with Horatio, I’m guessing the producers couldn’t either, hence her departure. I think the producers really need to work on their male characters, it’s not like Nick and Warwick are particularly fascinating either and wouldn’t it be nice to see a male character who’s married and has a family?

Story wise the plots are on a par with CSI, with the corresponding highs and lows. My frustrations for the most part are independent of the plot but focussed on the way Horatio leads the team through it. Some of the episodes do seem to suffer from raining red herring syndrome and I’m fairly sure there were a couple of ends not securely fastened in a couple of places. But they’re enjoyable to watch even if I can’t actually think of any that stand out.

DVD Special Features
The packaging is a standard foldout wallet inside a plastic sleeve, nicely matching the show’s bright and light feel. The 2 mini-documentaries are interesting, particularly the one that talks about how to make the show distinctive but still part of the franchise. The commentary on the pilot is vaguely interesting although hardly riveting. Further commentaries would have been nice as would a bit more depth on the commentaries, but for a limited offering, it covers all the bases.