CS(: Crime Scene Investigation – Season One (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

The year 2000 must have been good if you were among the higher-ups in CBS. “Survivor” took the country and world by storm in the summer as uber-villian Richard Hatch lied his way to a million dollars and a show about crime scene investigation debuted. Crime scene investigation? Who cares, right? Well, nine years and two spin-offs later “CSI” is still at the top of its game and consistently one of the top-rated shows on television. “CSI” took a different approach to the typical cops and robbers schtick in that these are the folks who show up after the fact. The crime’s already been committed (and in most cases a body if left). What the men and women of CSI do is rely on the facts and the evidence and attempt to put the pieces back together. Composed of mainly an ensemble cast, the unquestionable lead was William Petersen, a character actor mainly from films. His Gil Grissom, the meticulous, introverted personality gave the show a quirky edge all the while solving the cases at hand.

The first season of “CSI” contained arguably some of the best episodes (why is it always like that?) notably “Blood Drops” starring a then undiscovered Dakota Fanning who’s since gone onto a very successful film career. Naturally every television series has a pilot and that’s included here as well as we meet the crew that we get to know ever so well in successive seasons. What sets “CSI” apart from so many other shows is that it shows things in a different way. The murders and incidents are re-created through flashbacks and in a surreal sort of way. The first season is all about establishing the characters as they go through their daily (nightly, rather) routine jobs that are anything but routine. Set in Las Vegas, this sin city backdrop gives way for pretty much anything to happen. Oh and let’s not forget that the show is backed by some guy named Jerry Bruckheimer. Add his name to anything and it’s nearly guaranteed to be a success. If you’re tired of all the melodrama on television today, or simply the onslaught of reality television, give “CSI” a try ? you won’t be disappointed.

Video: How does it look?

As Blu-ray becomes more and more prevalent, we’re going to start to see the same television shows come to the HD format that have long since been on the DVD format. However, the first season of “CSI” is a bit of a different beast in that this first season was initially offered in a full-frame format on standard DVD. I believe it was later re-issued in a widescreen format and this Blu-ray is indeed the widescreen edition. Framed in a 1.78:1 VC-1 HD transfer the image is a 1080i (interlaced) as opposed to the more common 1080p (progressive). Still, there’s no denying the bump in image quality over the previous DVD release is very noticeable and though some of the shots seem cropped, it fits and works as the rest of the seasons were shot in widescreen. The glamour and glitz of Las Vegas allows for some truly beautiful shots, though a majority of the action takes place at night or in the dark labs of the Las Vegas Crime Scene Investigation offices. Nevertheless, for those that have wanted this first season in widescreen and in Blu-ray, the wait is most certainly over.

Audio: How does it sound?

The original DVD releases contained Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and they sounded as good as we’d expect for a television show. With this new Blu-ray release, we get a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack that, at times, is a tad bit too loud. Granted, this uncompressed mix is a welcome addition to any disc but it nearly gets to the point where it sounds artificial. The opening song “Who are You?” by The Who sounds amazing, dialogue is generally strong as well and there seems to be a lot going on in the surrounds. I suppose given the choice between something being too loud and too soft I’ll take too loud, but it’s really not as bad as it seems. It’s a nice, solid effort here and it won’t disappoint.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This five disc set contains some brand new features not found on the original DVD set released back in 2003. We start off with episode promos, in that each episode of the season is given a twenty second teaser. Interesting. There are half a dozen deleted scenes with two of them being shown in HD. We also get an unrated cut of the pilot episode complete with commentary by Danny Cannon. Pilots are often not that indicative of the show, but in this case it sets it up nicely for a surefire hit. The first featurette is ported over from the standard DVD set “CSI ? People Lie…But the Evidence Never Does” and we get a lot of talking heads that don’t really tell us a lot. Granted, they didn’t know at the time that the show would be as big as it was, so the comments are rather broad. More interesting is “CSI Season One ? Rediscovering the Evidence” shown in HD. This was made for this Blu-ray release and we get interviews with the cast and crew as they look back on the series and its impact on television and society itself (the field of Crime Scene Investigation has grown dramatically since the show’s inception). We also get a gag reel and a promo for “Star Trek: The Original Series” as well. Fans of CSI will eat this up and though I can’t be too sure about the other seasons, there is enough here to warrant another purchase.

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