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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season(TV) (2000)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a fast-paced drama about a passionate team of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes the old-fashioned way - by examining the evidence. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is on the case 24-7, scouring the scene, collecting the irrefutable evidence and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.
For more about CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season and the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray release, see CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on April 28, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, William Petersen, Gary Dourdan, Lauren Lee Smith, Paul Guilfoyle
Directors: Kenneth Fink, Richard J. Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, William Friedkin
» See full cast & crew
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray Review
This former heavyweight's television debut still packs a solid punch...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, April 28, 2009
Remember when watching an episode of CSI was a thrilling experience? When networks didn't offer up sixteen procedurals a piece for your nightly consumption, when good-old-fashioned detective work wasn't bogged down by contrived sweeps-week gimmicks, when William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger didn't have to contend with recurring serial killers or cartoonish villains gunning for their colleagues? Everything seemed so fresh... so original. It was a sad day when it all began to grow stale. Season after season came and went with the grace of an elephant stampede, chipping away at the meticulous character development and breezy simplicity of the series' earliest episodes. Before long, I found myself turning the channel and testing the waters elsewhere. Ah well. CSI may never recapture my imagination, but revisiting its first season reminded me why I once anxiously tuned in every week.
If you're already intimately familiar with all things CSI, take a brief moment to sing through Pete Townshend's "Who Are You" (come on... you know you want to) while I fill in the rest of the populous on the fundamentals. Set in the deadliest Las Vegas ever committed to the screen -- a city producer Jerry Bruckheimer and creator Anthony E. Zuiker would have us believe is home to the grisliest murders known to man -- the series centers around a group of forensic investigators who spend their nights and days examining crime scenes, analyzing evidence, and helping their uniformed brethren bring Nevada's most dangerous killers to justice. Leading the team is Gil Grissom (William Peterson), an enthusiastic entomologist who employs unorthodox methodology to unravel some truly bizarre mysteries. Far removed from the moody father-figure he would become in later seasons, Grissom is the lifeline of the team, often inspiring and motivating everyone around him. By his side is Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), a straight-laced intellectual who eventually begins to develop a close working relationship and friendship with Grissom. Disagreements flourish at times (particularly over Grissom's disregard for office politics), but it's often to the benefit of the entire unit.
Rounding out the team is a diverse pack of lower-level investigators -- including cocky analyst Nick Stokes (George Eads), former gambling addict Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), and temperamental newcomer Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) -- ready to give their all at a moment's notice in spite of their various personal and professional shortcomings. Over the course of the first season's twenty-three episodes, they're tasked with solving dozens of murders and suicides, helping homicide detective and former CSI-supervisor Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) track down suspects, and contend with inner-departmental conflicts instigated by dayshift supervisor Conrad Ecklie (Marc Vann). While the series rarely paints a realistic portrait of modern police-work, its compelling characters, countless cases, flashy visuals, and intriguing subplots combine to create a fairly engrossing experience that still holds up quite well nearly a decade after its debut.
Compared to its 2009 Lawrence Fisburne-infused incarnation, CSI's first outing rockets along with a welcome and aggressive intensity; rarely loosening its grip on the tasty twists and turns that once managed to bring viewers back week after week. Its episodes aren't governed by an overwhelming desire to reinvent the series or garner attention (a problem that haunts the show's later seasons), but rather by an infectious zeal spilling out of the writers' room, seeping into every frame, and influencing every expression on the actors' faces. Peterson doesn't stalk from murder scene to interrogation room, he bounds from bug to fiber as if his character's very sanity depended on it. Helgenberger doesn't simply run through the motions, she invents them as she goes. Eads, Dourdan, and Fox aren't saddled with contrived personal problems, they demonstrate an eagerness to survive anything thrown their way. Even Guilfoyle, whose scorned detective has remained largely unchanged over the years, injects sharper wit and a deeper sense of regret into his performance. Simply put, the cast feels more interested, grounded, and invested in everything that transpires.
Sure, there are issues to be had with the series itself -- macguffins abound, the sometimes silly disagreements between staff members wear a bit thin, and fanciful technologies and techniques push several investigations into the outer rims of science fiction -- but it's all rather trivial in light of such enormous entertainment value. And while CSI's first twenty-three episodes fail to reach the heights of the show's second, third, and fourth seasons, they nevertheless establish everything that makes its proceeding seasons so thoroughly engaging. If you, like me, have fallen out of love with Grissom and company over the years, take this opportunity to reconnect with a time when CSI still had a spark of life in its belly.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Reveling in CSI's hyperkinetic flash-n-splash aesthetics and presented in 1.78:1 widescreen for the first time on home video, CBS Video's 1080i/VC-1 Blu-ray transfer will satisfy Grissom fanatics but leave most casual viewers wanting. The series' patented palette gushes lush colors and inky blacks, primaries (particularly reds and blues) pop off the screen, and contrast is bright and vivid. At the same time, skintones are also often flushed or bronzed, whites are hot, and shadows generally envelop and repress details cloaked in the darkness. Overwrought as the visuals may sometimes be, the studio has faithfully replicated the creative team's every intention. What really concerns me here is a variety of distracting technical issues. Textures are surprisingly crisp and refined (especially during close-ups), but foreground elements frequently suffer from a harsh, at-times unnatural appearance that suggests the overzealous use of artificial sharpening. Even though it leads to some startlingly impressive shots and scenes, it also inadvertently produces aliasing, ringing, and pixelation. More distressingly, heavy busts of artifacts, severe night-sky banding, and rampant crush pepper the picture and undermine the integrity of the presentation. Regardless, the Blu-ray edition of CSI: The First Season outclasses its standard DVD counterpart in every way and provides the best renderings-to-date of its twenty-three episodes.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track may seem like overkill for a nine-year old television show, but CSI has always been one of the go-to series when it comes to Hollywood-quality sound design and big-budget production values. As a result, CBS Video's lossless package is far more impressive than I assumed it would be. LFE tones are sturdy, aggressive, and resonant, giving flashbacks and kill-cam sequences power and presence. Despite the show's age, the rear speakers are quite active as well, enhancing crime scene chatter, environmental ambience, and interior acoustics. The CSI offices are bristling with shuffling papers and ringing phones while desert investigations are host to rustling trees and skittering rocks. The show's soundtrack benefits as well -- each song is wonderfully mixed, lyrics are crystal clear, and downbeats drop with authority. Moreover, dialogue is crisp, neatly prioritized, and weighty, settling comfortably into atmospheric and bombastic scenes alike without any serious mishaps. Whispered lines are occasionally overwhelmed by other elements in the soundscape, but it rarely detracts from the overall impact of the presentation. Likewise, unavoidable air noise sometimes invades the soundfield but, more often than not, is kept under control. All things considered, CSI: The First Season defies expectation and will leave audiophiles with few complaints.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
When CSI: The First Season was released on DVD, it disappointed fans with barren discs and an anemic supplemental package. Looking to right former wrongs, CBS Video has packed this new Blu-ray edition with a solid helping of exclusive features, some of which are presented in high definition. While it isn't the most groundbreaking set of extras I've seen on a television release (come on... only one commentary?), it will give CSI junkies yet another excuse to toss aside their DVD copies and upgrade to this superior Blu-ray release.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
CSI: The First Season's Blu-ray debut may not offer the phenomenally flawless AV presentation of other recent television releases -- its 1080i video transfer succumbs to a variety of distracting technical issues -- but it still makes the DVD edition seem like a shriveled relic in every regard. Thankfully, CBS Video pays penance for any visual shortcomings with a bevy of exclusive special features and, more importantly, a rousing DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. To top it all off, all twenty-three episodes are finally being presented in widescreen. Regardless of whether you're a long-time CSI fiend or a more casual Grissom fan, this Blu-ray release is perfectly priced to earn some serious consideration.
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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Season One of CSI Coming to Blu-ray - February 9, 2009
Paramount Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season' to Blu-ray on May 12th. This highly popular television series, currently in its ninth season, has spawned numerous spin-offs and garnished a loyal ...
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