CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Tenth Season (2009)

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery
Paramount || NR - 1007 minutes - $79.99 || September 28, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-09-30


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Anthony E. Zuiker (created by)
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Wallace Langham, David Berman, Liz Vassey, Jorja Fox


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Episode Commentaries
  • 6 Featurettes
  • 2 Spin-off Episodes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Stereo), Spanish (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

The tenth season begins the Post Grissom Era with some success thanks in part to the remaining cast veterans and admittedly even Laurence Fishburne is alright which I know most “CSI” fans may disagree with. That said, I have been a fan of the series throughout the years and as loyal as I am to the show having seen just about every episode, I’m even beginning to see the cracks in the foundations brought about to the departure of a few key cast members from not only William Peterson but one cannot dismiss the void left by Gary Dourdan who went too soon.

This year, Dr. Ray Langston (FISHBURNE), Catherine Willows (MARG HELGENBERGER) and the rest of the CSI team including Nick “My Life is in Danger Every Other Season” Stokes (GEORGE EADS), Greg Sanders (ERIC SZMANDA), county coroner Dr. Al Robbins (ROBERT DAVID HALL) and his assistant David Phillips (DAVID BERMAN) and lab rats Hodges (WALLACE LANGHAM), Archie (ARCHIE KAO), Wendy (the lovely LIZ VASSEY), Henry (JON WELLNER) and Mandy (SHEERI RAPPAPORT). Together they take on the often unusual cases that crop up in Vegas and take down the killer(s), sometimes at personal expense.

The cases in season 10 are fairly ho-hum but at the center is yet another serial killer, this time a man dubbed Dr. Jekyll with whom Langston has taken a personal, if not obsessive, interest, to the point that others begin to believe HE is the killer, which would have been an interesting development, but the writers and producers don’t have the guts to do that.

In any case (no pun intended), this season long arc that goes in and out depending on the episode with a Jekyll-centric episode followed by a murder-of-the-week one, starts off promising enough with some interesting crimes (along the lines of Jigsaw in the Saw movies) before plummeting in the season finale, much like how the Miniature Killer plotline ended. The finale for Dr. Jekyll was, to say the least, very disappointing and I get where the writers are going allowing these killers to be just average, but the way they are revealed just cannot match the crimes themselves.

This leads me to Laurence Fishburne, now in his first full season on the show and unlike other “CSI” fans, I don’t mind his character too much as he’s still trying to become more established while the others like Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Eric Szmanda and even Paul Guilfoyle kind of go through the motions from case to case until the season finale which does have some character impact, especially on Eads’ Nick as he once again gets a too-close-for comfort look at death.

Season 10 also has its fair share of light-hearted episodes specifically the ones surrounding the lab rats which I also know some fans do not enjoy too much, but I like seeing these supporting characters get more screen time and a much needed escape from the more dreary stories. Although the leader of this pack is Hodges, I have fallen for Liz Vassey but just when they start some actual character development between Wendy and Hodges the brilliant minds at CBS decided to drop her in season 11 just when she became a part of the main cast finally. Suggestion: If it’s a financial decision, how about dropping, oh I don’t know, the craptacular “CSI: Miami” and using a smidgen amount of that budget to keep some consistency as, from what I read, even Marg Helgenberger may be leaving after the eleventh season.

But I digress, that’s for the season 11 review... In terms of season 10, it’s not bad per se as the individual crimes are at least somewhat interesting but I have a hard time ignoring the serial killer season long storyline. It’s something that was set up nicely but did not come close to hitting it out of the park and didn’t take any chances ending with a cliffhanger that even I as a lukewarm Langston supporter didn’t care about.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Episode Commentaries – This season we get two commentaries. The first is on ‘Appendicitement’ with cast member George Eads (Nick), Eric Szmanda (Greg), Wallace Langham (David) and Jon Wellner (Henry); the second is on ‘Unshockable’ with country band Rascal Flatts, writer Michael Frost Beckner (Sniper, Spy Game) and director Kenneth Fink.

Frozen in Time: CSI’s Season Opener (12:21) takes a look at the technology of using the frozen time sequence that opened the tenth season and how they integrated it into the story. Pretty cool to watch them film the scene and see how it was done.

Leaving Las Vegas: Langston Travels East (23:28) – The featurette covers the 3 series crossover (or “CSI” movie as they liked to call it) between “Vegas”, “Miami” and “NY” giving some behind-the-scenes look on the filming mixed in with sound bites with the cast and crew.

“CSI: Miami” / “CSI: NY” Spin-Off Episodes – Thankfully (and smartly) they have included the two spin-off episodes so you can now watch them back to back to back.

Getting Lost (3:06) is on the specific “CSI” episode that is a part of the crossover event, ‘The Lost Girls’. The featurette includes more interviews with various members of the crew about the story.

Lab Rats: The Saga Continues (15:31) featurette focuses on our favorite supporting characters and the lab rats episode for the season (written by Liz Vassey and Wallace Langham). While the featurette is nice, it is unfortunate that one lab rat, played by Vassey, is gone during season 11...

CSI: The Experience (15:38) – Eric Szmanda lets us in on the interactive museum exhibit. We get to see what it’s like and is hosted by various members of the cast and crew from the show including William Petersen as we look at crime scenes.

KillerTales: Season 10 of CSI (23:17) examines the season long storyline of the Dr. Jekyll serial killings and the overall structure for the tenth season – which, as producer explain, is about the family structure of the team without Grissom – and also the progression of Langston and the other CSIs.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Unfortunately Paramount has decided to drop Blu-ray releases for the series already after releasing seasons 1 and 9 on the high-def format which is unfortunate as both seasons had sported strong audio and video. In terms of casing, once again we get a new set-up (at least I think so as I did not review the season 9 DVD). This time it is a slip cover with a double-wide keep case to house the 7 discs.

So now we get a standard, yet still good looking, video presented in its original 1.78 aspect ratio. As with other “CSI” seasons one DVD, the colors are quite strong as are the black levels without showing too much pixilation or noise. I would say this is fairly comparable to the HD airing but it’s also noticeably below the standards I saw in the ninth season Blu-ray.

Audio wise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 is certainly suitable for a show like this. From the opening “Who Are You” song to the enormous amount of dialogue, the show sounds pretty good all around.



.::OVERALL::.

While indeed “CSI” is starting to show its age and the fact that William Peterson is gone does hurt the show’s quality since it was Peterson’s Grissom that made the show so good to go along with some of the unusual crimes. As it stands, Fishburne does OK as the show’s lead and the supporting cast continues to chug along with some character development to show some growth for them. However, even as a fan of the series almost from the beginning, even I’m getting a tad tired and can only hope they find some better stories including a season-long serial killer story arc because thus far the results have been pretty bad.